The word “doss” is a derivative from the german word “dose” which means “box maker.” My mother’s maiden name is “Dosman” which tracks back to the name of my ancestors who originally went by the name Doseman. It was only in the course of reading an update of my family history that I discovered this link to a long, genetic line of box makers! “Doss Designs” was therefore born! Perhaps it is not the birth of something brand new but rather a kind of re-awakening of a long line of craftsmanship in the Dosman family.
I now make a range of unique wood working creations – with most being based on the principles of a simple box. I began this endeavour by making cremation urns in 2014 – and then expanded to making serving trays and keepsake boxes.
My original focus on urns arose from two concerns. The first was to address what I saw as a set of desperately poor options when choosing a cremation urn. Recently, a group of architects was asked to look at urn design (http://blog.buildllc.com/2010/06/the-architect-and-the-urn/) and they concluded that the “the homogeneous polished granite and plastic urns lack a connection with the deceased and create an unhealthy relationship with death.” They approach the urn as “dwelling – the last, smallest house one will ever buy and inhabit.” My goal in creating customized urns is to bring beauty and meaning to the final dwelling. In the same way that we give careful attention to detail in the dwellings we live and breathe in, I wish to bring aesthetic attention to the final dwellings that hold the remaining elements of our lives.
The second reason is that beauty is as important in death as it is in life. As the Irish poet and theologian John O’Donahue so eloquently stated: “Beauty dwells in the palace of broken tenderness. This is where the pathos of beauty shines forth. Pathos is the poignancy that comes alive in our hearts in the presence of loss.” (Beauty by John O’Donohue, 2005). I am dedicated to the pursuit of beauty through my craft with wooden urns and see this as a way to allow a means for the pathos of beauty to shine forth.
My subsequent focus on serving trays and keepsake boxes was to bring some of the beauty of my wood creations to everyday life. What could be better than tea and scones on a beautiful serving tray? Or – there is nothing more lovely than the buttery touch of fine wood when tucking away a family heirloom in a keepsake box.
I hope you enjoy my boxes in whatever form you choose!
Acknowledgements: Thanks to Michael Owen Daly for fantastic web/IT support; Christine Hudecki for many of the photos on the site; and Paul Thompson for his inspiration and mentorship as a true craftsman.