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Posts Tagged ‘recycled bottles’

As promised, here are a few images from my completed bottle project.  For the last several months I have been finding empty liquor bottles and filling them with the coal that washed into the park after last spring’s flood.  A recent invitation to participate in a coal-themed art exhibition gave me a new reason to work with familiar materials.

It’s my assumption that the coal is in the Ohio River because it washed or fell off barges destined for power plants in the valley?  In places under the railroad bridge there were deposits several inches thick on the beach.  Not all of it was coal gravel, but included pebbles and larger pieces as well.  My “favorite” rocks were the ones that the river tumbled smooth into egg-shapes.  The white flecks in the black gravel are fragments of mussel shells.

In my mind I made a link between the empty booze bottles and the coal.  Both are products that require extraction to bring into being before being consumed in ever addictive quantities.  Putting the coal back into the bottles was a way to put random carbon back into storage and also feel some sense of doing something positive and purposeful by at least removing these materials from the Falls of the Ohio.  In Kentucky, we are consuming our mountains for their coal a sip here and shot there and the social and environmental challenges are adding up to a bigger headache in the wider world.

Since I started this piece here I also wanted a photo of it in the environment in which it was created one found and filled bottle at a time.  Between trips to the Falls I would store the bottles in my basement until I got enough of them to make something with.  When I finally decided I had more than enough I dragged it all back down to the river and set it up on a pretty autumn day.  I also recalled the badly twisted ankle I had over the summer that took weeks to heal.  I was doing this very activity when I rolled my ankle over in the sand.  I think the finished piece has about sixty bottles on it. Most of them are made of glass, but the smallest ones are plastic. All the wood table/altar pieces were also originally found at the Falls of the Ohio.  I used a small folding hand saw and cut the wood to length before bringing it home.  Here’s a few views of the completed sculpture set up by the river.

I had trouble coming up with a title for this work, but finally thought “Mountaintop Minibar” was working for me as much as anything else.  Who knows…I may think of something else in time.

I prefer seeing my work out here by the river.  All the other information in the  pictures just adds to the moment.  I did take a few images of my minibar against a black cloth at the church studio.  Here’s what it looks like by itself and with a detail of the bottles.  So far, it looks like this work will be exhibited in an exhibition in October 2012 and perhaps other opportunities will come up before then.  And now, for the last two images.  Thanks for checking in!

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