While the rest of you take summer as a time to head to the beach, for me the warmer weather and longer days tend to be about dragging my tools out of the garage and into the driveway to coat everything in a layer of saw dust in between handling garden chores like watering, weeding, and pruning.
The friction this sometimes causes in my marriage is mitigated by the fact that I have, at least in past summers, used this time to build, repair or upgrade things around the house. And starting next weekend, I promise, I'll get on to more useful endeavors, but I've had this idea bumping around in my head since I read mention of a "bottle tree" several months ago over on Ms. Debbie's blog A Part Of Our Day. I've never seen a picture of it, but the image it conjured in my mind has stuck with me for months.
I've been making things from tree parts lately, like tree blocks . . .
. . . and last weekend I made an interactive piece of art I called a cookie tree, which is currently getting put through its paces at school.
This weekend I've been working on a bottle bush.
Like the cookie tree, this addition to the orchard is designed to allow people to rearrange the bottles, decorating the bush (although it kind of looks more like a blooming cactus to me) as befits their personal aesthetic.
As you can see, I've also included some bud vases in this "starter" collection of glass because most of the bottles I found around my house were just brown and green. My idea is to collect bottles of various shapes textures and colors, ultimately having enough of each kind to create all blue or all red bushes, for instance. Or to provide combinations of cool, warm, or contrasting colors. I'm expecting that this piece will get more beautiful as time goes on and my collection grows.
It casts an interesting shadow.
I've been hanging on to this chunk of concrete from a post
hole for a long time. I like the contrast with the natural wood.
What excites me the most is the perspective from down low -- a child's eye view. That's when the shapes and colors really come alive. It's a piece of art, I think, that adults unwilling to get down on their hands and knees may never fully appreciate.
I can't wait to get this into the school for testing. Yes, I know what some people are thinking: glass bottles and toddlers? I'm sorry, but plastic just won't cut it. There's nothing like glass for reflecting and refracting light. Our children's world is full of glass, especially of the bottle and jar variety. If a bottle breaks, as I'm sure one ultimately will, we'll stop what we're doing, sweep it up, a get back to playing.