Nichos and Altars

Tin Nichos, Shrines and Altars

Shrines made from small tin containers are perfect for holding little images and statements of truth. They are just big enough for an artistic statement, but small enough to present simple snippets of a symbolic, visual journey for the senses. Shrines made from wood boxes with glass on all sides are bigger statements. Due to the ability of seeing through the box, the viewer becomes interactive and drawn into the visual journey. Most of these containers may be hung or seated for a view of each side.



"Love Springs Eternal" 
TinNicho or shrine                    

This tin nicho, or shrine is designed in the traditional cross shape container, measuring 6" x 9". The glass front is hinged to open from the bottom, up. There are 3 separate compartments inside. I choose a vintage Italian Holy card of a Madonna in adoration of a rose that appears to have sprung up in the midst of nothing. I couldn't keep from thinking about how many times I have been surprised at finding beauty in the midst of what might have been viewed as ruins or despair. Following the rose symbol, I remembered some dried roses I had hung in the rafter in my studio from a bouquet that I couldn't bear to discard. With the baby's breath, a wash of bees wax and a sprinkle of glass glitter, I knew that the rose would now be encased for a loving memory. The milagro hearts, dripping with more bees wax seemed perfect for both the small compartments. I cut metal filigree to embellish each of the 4 points of the cross. After attaching, they were then painted with bees wax. There is a metal loop for a hanger on the back, but I added another option for hanging with the ribbon. The ribbon is composed of old lace taken from a wedding veil, pink,vintage baby blanket binding and a newly hand dyed silk ribbon. 

"I carry you with me" 
Sunburst Nicho 
- SOLD -
I altered this little tin nicho, about 3 3/4" tall, into an impressive shrine or altar as homage to mothers everywhere. Inside it's glass, operational door, is an image of a Madonna and child from a vintage prayer card, and an inscription with "I carry you with me". There are crystals and beads attached by wire, as well as a luminous star hanging from the bottom. The latch is wrapped with silk ribbon to soften the rusty/verdigris, patina finish. The back has a loop for hanging or may also be placed on table top. Back is signed by artist, Janie Mills.
* Sorry, this piece is Sold. But,I am always happy to customize a special shrine to your specifications. 

Altoid Tin Containers as Shrines

" Birth gift"   Shrine    -SOLD-

         Altoid tin container Shrine 

I altered this Altoid tin  into a sweet homage to the gift of birth. The front image is of a Madonna and Child framed with Dresden gold foil paper scraps. The lid is hinged and opens with a vintage amber rondelle bead. Inside features the image with a snippet of the word "birth" along with it's definition taken from an old dictionary. There is a vintage gold colored heart charm and umber beads suspended at the top. Dried hydrangeas are sprinkled within and are surrounding the word "gift". A gold color metal filigree finishes the top and hides a wire hanger. The word "Mother" is decoupaged at the top.

**Similar shrines may be commissioned upon request. 


Altoid Tin Container Shrine

This  Altoid tin holds one of my most favorite images - a woman in quiet communication with her maker. Painted in a blue-green, the tin was finished with a bees wax coating for a lingering aroma. Opening the tin using the attached pearl, you will discover a string of smaller pearls that hold a tiny silver cross with a single rhinestone in the center representative of prayer beads. It lays upon a soft bed of vintage lace torn from a old wedding dress. The right side houses more vintage lace, as well as vintage velvet flowers taken from an old hat. The image is of a stained glass church window. Simple text with the word "Prayer" is added. A tiny pink candle lights the way. It was perfectly sized in it's partial use when taken out of an old box of birthday candles. I wonder what stories of happiness it could tell? Unknown script is stamped over all. This original is signed by Janie Mills. I imagine this piece as a beautiful container for prayer beads, rosary or simply placed on a shelf as a sweet, meditative, remembrance. Measures 2 1/2" x 3 3/4" closed.


Altoid Tin Container Shrine

This Altoid tin  is painted in robin's egg blue and soft pink. Sealed with beeswax adds a luscious aroma. The front is a vintage bird and rose image decoupaged along with the title - "Become part of the silence". Inside is a sweet bird nest and egg (wooden) The metal bird is carrying a banner reading "nest,,,home..." The opposite side is musical notes with the quote continued "then if the simple sounds of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive..." The back of this original is signed by Janie Mills. Measures 2 1/2" x 3 1/4" closed.

 "You are Powerful"
  Sucrets Tin Container Shrine

The queen image on the front of this shrine was taken from a vintage Holy card. I continued the colors of Royalty throughout the theme. A gold jewelry bit was attached to open the lid. The gold metal crown on the inside was treated with a verdigris finish. German paper scraps and script were utilized throughout. A world map was decoupaged inside with a quote applied reading "Your playing small does not serve the world."The view from the top of the shrine shows the quote "You are powerful beyond measure". To give an impression of a crown, there are beads, a rondelle and jewelry bits attached. All original and signed by Janie Mills. Measures 2 1/2" x 3 3/4" closed.
Wood and Glass Shrines

"I Dream You Run"
Private Collection 
Wood and glass Shrine 
- Unavailable -

I made this shrine just for myself. 
It encapsulates a constant dream I have about our daughter who went to heaven at the age of 2 years. She left a body of limitations for one that walks on clouds, one that runs among flowers, and even one that lifted her with wings to fly!!!!!! An old worn out doll leg is centered in the glass front, box. The quotes on the silk ribbons read "I dream you walk", "I dream you run", "I dream you fly". The shrine and a photo is suspended and carried in a metal bird's mouth.
This shrine I shall keep, but I am happy to make a special one from your specifications. 

"Guide Me"
Baby's First Gift 
Wood and glass Shrine

"Baby's First Gift" is a very special memento shrine that I thought could take the place of the old bronzed, shoe book-ends that was once popular. I would be honored to create a similar piece, commissioned by your specifications, using your own baby shoe in any color. 
This sweet shrine was made by painting a 4 3/4" x 6 1/4" x 4" wood and glass box in a pearlescent color and adding gold Dresden embossed shrinebaby shrine The vintage photo of a sweet little girl was copied, then tinted with paint. She was embellished with a vintage, velvet posey and glass glitter, then the word "guide me" applied. The front clasp was adorned  with dyed,silk ribbon. Then scraps of net and velvet, beaded flowers from an old hat, along with white feathers were added on top. Since we want to give our children roots and wings, I thought the feathers seemed appropriate.
The vintage baby's walking shoe is removable and has several options for display. It is coated with pink, glass glitter and tiny hearts. White silk ribbon was used for laces. Inside and bottom of shoe was covered with paper depicting crowns of royalty. baby mementobaby shoe, baby gift                    

"I have begun to Emerge"  
Special Commission-
Wood and glass Shrine 

I made this shrine in honor of a young woman who emerged out of what could have been a hard shell of a life into a rare pearl that has been polished to it's luster as a direct result of the harshness of life. The resulting strength as well as beauty is celebrated in this homage. I painted a 6" x 7" x 5" wood box with glass on each side to enable the viewer to see through. The lid opens by way of shell and pearl with silk ribbon and a removable tag that reads - "Delicate and fragile, yet endowed with an inner strength that survived and defied the sea storms of life." The top of the box is encrusted in shells, pearls, a vintage earring and diamond dust. Inside the box, there are more encrusted shells pearls, glass beads and diamond dust-glass glitter along with other bits found on the beach. An image was collaged depicting a mermaid reaching upward, as well as another mermaid watching in admiration. Unfurling from the largest shell is a message that reads " I have begun to emerge. I have begun to reveal myself". Most of the items in this piece are bits and pieces washed up on the shore where I collected them in Virginia Beach. I have left them just as I found them, using the natural elements to my advantage. i.e. no drilling of holes were necessary for attachments, due to natural holes that were already in the shells.
It should be noted that I have never met this young lady. I have only heard stories of her strength. In imagining her, this shrine took on a life of it's own. I hope that she is pleased.