Posts Tagged ‘plastic bottle’

Maple seeds, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

April was a busy but mostly productive blur.  Lots of balancing went on encompassing family, work, loss, art, birthdays, and spring transitioning to summer.  We had an issue with our family computer that kept us quiet for a while, but hopefully that has been resolved.  At this point, I have thousands of photographic images scattered everywhere and if by chance I happen to lose something…well, chalk that one up to the will of the digital gods.  I had this strange realization about being a  survivor of a by gone analog era that my sons don’t understand or have much experience with.  These digital images I have been creating at the Falls of the Ohio can be as transient as the artworks they document.  Fortunately, for my sanity, I was able to get to the river on a couple of occasions in this month, breathe deeply, and relax with my art.  The last two visits I made to the park in April were gorgeous days and productive.  Here are images made from that day’s project.

That day;s gathered plastic bottles, April 2016

I have been having fun gathering up the different plastic bottles and containers that I have been coming across the last two years and making something with them.  The arrangement I made today was composed of black and white plastic junk I came across after a few hours of work.  All the black and white containers were found in the general area of where this piece eventually came together.  I moved around a center location and after fanning in and out found enough stuff to bring back to “base”.  I had previously picked out a place where I wanted to make something because I liked the view with the railroad bridge and the City of Louisville behind that.

Mostly white plastic bottles, April 2016, Falls of the Ohio

Mostly white plastic containers, but also a gray and two silver ones too.  Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

I found a couple of nice plastic buckets and a nice fairly straight wooden plank and set the arrangement up with its back shielded by a huge log.  There was an even larger log that had an end on it that had been scorched by fire, but it worked with the scene.  First, I arranged all the black bottles up and moved from left to right and kept the large containers on the bottom row.  I set the three “grayish” containers up next and that including the two silver jugs I came across.  At least they seemed to represent some value between black and white and I took several photos with them in the configuration.  Later in the day, I did return back to this spot and shot a few without the gray containers in the pictures…just the black and white ones which I liked too.

Beginning of Arrangement in Black and White Plastic, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

Here’s an image with a train crossing the tracks.  Unfortunately, I did not get a shot before my piece was set up.  Now for a progression of other work in progress photos documenting the brief peak of the “Arrangement in Black and White Plastic”.

Arrangement in Black and White Plastic, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

Arrangement in Black and White Plastic with Louisville in the Distance, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

View with Arrangement in Black and White  Plastic, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

Arrangement in Black and White Plastic, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

View of Arrangement in Black and White Plastic (from the black end), Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

While I was working out in the driftwood, new friend and fellow artist Chiel Kuijl came out looking for a few choice pieces of wood for his rope installation.  Chiel has been the Artist at Residence at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest and is originally from the Netherlands.  We have crossed paths out here at the Falls of the Ohio as well as socially with mutual friends.  He has returned to Holland, but is due to return to Louisville this year to work on a recent commission.

Artist Chiel Kuijl at the Falls of the Ohio State Park, April 2016

Chiel later built a beautiful rope installation over water as well as distinctive “furniture” from ropes and driftwood.  Park of this busy April included visiting Chiel out in Clermont, KY to see what he accomplished during his residency.  I look forward to showing you a few images of his work in a later post.  First!…let’s get through this one.  I did remove the “gray” containers so it is just black and white butting up to one another.

Arrangement in Black and White Plastic, version 2, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

Arrangement in Black and White Plastic, version 2, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

I week after I made this piece, I returned to check on it and inspect my base studio.  Here is an “after” picture.  I already have plans in mind on how I can reuse this black and white plastic.  One other fun development…I am working towards my show at Bob Hill’s Hidden Hills Nursery in Utica, IN.  That will open on May 22 after some of the Kentucky Derby madness has subsided some.  I have three very large figures I have been working on and you will see those soon.  Have a wonderful Sunday…from the Falls of the Ohio and the Artist at Exit 0 Riverblog.

Arrangement in Black and Gray Plastic, a week later, Falls of the Ohio, April 2016

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A couple of weekends a go, I was doing my thing by the river and noticing that there were more plastic bottles and containers that had washed up than I was used to seeing.  And so, I started taking pictures of them.

For this post, I thought I would show you just the blue bottles I came across.  They are arranged from simplest to complex and form an evolution of sorts.  With its hour-glass, pinched waist form, the bottle above has a decidedly feminine presence.  I wonder if the product it originally contained was meant to appeal to women in some way?

The next step in the evolution of this form is the appearance of a handle.  Without their original labels, which came off in the river, I’m guessing that many of these plastic bottles originally held dishwashing or laundry soaps?

Here you can see that the handle has become a bit more “sophisticated” and goes just past the point of being strictly utilitarian.  And now for the next phase of our blue-bottle evolution.

Here’s one with a bit more of a design element.  By strategically placing a hole in the center of this bottle…it now has two handles!  What will they think of next?

To further appeal to consumers, creating figurative bottles that have nothing to do with how the product is dispensed is an effective strategy.  This seahorse bottle is fairly large and I’m going to guess it once held bubble bath solution?  I suppose it is also meant to be collectible?  On the same day I unfortunately found all these bottles, I also recorded others of various sizes, shapes, and colors.  Look for those images in my pages section soon!  I know you can’t wait for that one!!

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high water bottleman, 5/09

My latest figure made from river junk comes at a time when the river is getting higher.  We have had a lot of rain today and so for the next few days the river should continue to rise.  When you live on the Ohio River, this is important information.  For example, the morning talk was of a small fishing boat going over the Falls that needed rescuing…that and a large white pelican was sighted again.  Might be the same bird from two years ago.  Didn’t hear anything else about the fisherman…hope they are ok.

high water and interpretive center, 5/09

foot of steps, high water, 5/09

Two views looking east…the top shows the interpretive center and the steps leading to the river.  The next shot is from the foot of the steps themselves.  It should be interesting to see how high up the steps the rising river level will creep. During the Great Flood of 1997 the river completely climbed the steps.  This event shouldn’t be that bad.  Fishing has been great with lots of anglers catching striper hybrids, catfish, skipjacks, and an occassional sauger.  Did see many large carp trying to leap over the fixed wier dam as in classic salmon pictures. 

Bottle man, 5/09

I moved the Bottleman to another location to get a better sense of his context.  A couple days ago, you could walk by the trees that are now submerged.  Most of the fossil rock formations are underwater.  The Bottleman is on some sort of mission just one step ahead of the river.

heron and fridge, 5/09

Took a little time to do some birding and had some success.  Saw my first Black-headed Blue Warbler, male and female traveling together.  They were here and gone before I could get a snapshot.  I did, however, find this Great Blue Heron fishing from floating logs as an abandoned refrigerator went by.  Years ago, when I first started this project, I found a refrigerator lodged in the top of a tree and I couldn’t believe the river could get that high.  Other notable birds…lots of Magnolia Warblers, various thrushes, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Indigo Buntings, and a few Scarlet Tanagers were still around.  Double-crested Cormorants were fishing all along the river and close to shore.

bottleman and stash, 5/09

This is where I left the Bottleman by a log with a large hole in the side.  Perfect for stashing away plastic bottles in case of an emergency.  The figure is made from pink insulation foam, regular polystyrene, hickory nuts for eyes, part of a walnut husk for a mouth, wood, plastic bottlecap nose, and a fork for emphasis.  He’s near the water and probably gone by now.  The logs rolling over one another in the water made the strangest creaking and squeaking noise and reminded me of my father grinding his teeth in his sleep.  We will see how high the river gets and if that pelican hangs around.

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Thirsty for Green, 2009

Using two very eroded pieces of Styrofoam, driftwood, hickory and walnuts, and plastic I created this figure in a cache of plastic green bottles.  Just another example of conspicuous consumption found in the context of nature. 

Thirsty for Green, side view

Here’s a side view.  The sad part is this wasn’t all the plastic bottles (much less the green ones) found in the immediate area of this figure.  Yes, there are river clean-ups several times a year, but with normal high water “fresh” material is deposited.  You just can’t get it all.   People please dispose of your garbage properly!

Thirsty for Green, alternate view

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