(I interviewed Casey C. which in the following I make the comparisons of being alike or different).
When I first started the shrine project I could only think that it seemed like a vain project, a way to strut your peacock feathers about yourself to others. I also had only one matchbox on me (the recommended size for this project) but I had no desire to empty said matchbox of it's useful matches. So, instead I emptied out my little metal, umbrella container, about the length of my thumb ( and I did have to empty out that poor thing of pen nibs). Originally I had planned to make little envelopes that would be threaded together and each envelope would hold words that would somehow represent me, but, after I decided to use the worn umbrella printed container I decided maybe I'd have everything connected on a string that could be held up and extend from the opening of the container.
For the items I used some were drawn, cut out or "origamied" into a different shape to represent 2 things at once. I don't have any deep symbology, or perhaps none at all even with mine, but with Casey's she did have items symbolize certain aspects of herself or particular memories and moments in her life. She even had a huge box full of things she keeps of memories and went through it to see what pertained to her for this shrine project. On some items, though, due to size restraints she kept in the box of memories.
Both of us used objects that we had to represent us. I had, unfortunately, already glued all of my fortune cookie labels into my sketchbook, but Casey put some in her shrine, along with a piece of blue glass to represent the ocean, a little metal from her first art competition, meaningful quotes, and more items that were more symbolic of things than anything else.
As far Joseph Cornell goes, I forgot to look him up but Casey did. She said that originally she just had her things laying in her shrine but after looking at his work she decided to have dividers.
How we both put the shrine together, I think I just explained that, maybe, in the other paragraph (just had everything threaded together), while it seems that Casey did hers with dividers and made her own box...
Our similarities for this project is that we both chose things that were meaningful to us, I think we both had items that symbolized things more that representing the item. But I think mine might have had less symbolism than hers.
What I learned from this project is that some people didn't want to put items into the shrine because they didn't want to reveal fully to people who they were, which I guess surprised me because I hadn't really thought of hiding any secrets much less revealing any in this project. I learned that, as always, I was probably one of the less "deep" people in the group. I find that as an artist I don't like to delve to heavily into 'deeper meanings' and what an artist 'really means.' I mean I can do it if I have to, or have fun making up symbolism that obviously isn't there, but I don't know..
I shall leave you with a quote.
"The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chess-board, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem.... I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists"