“Before” and “After”: Bottle Project

The Bottle project requirements were very simple:  take two Fiji bottles, along with two related concepts, and produce a design piece portraying those concepts.  Other than the Fiji bottles, the materials were up to us.  However, as anyone in art/design fields might agree, unlimited materials, unlimited possibilities, can be quite overwhelming in the early developmental phases of a project.  This was definitely the case with me–it took awhile to develop a solid concept for my bottles, and a few tried-and-failed experiments.

After the initial brainstorming with 50 thumbnails of various ideas for the bottles, I was still baffled as to what I was going to do.  My ideas were silly, or would be impossible to implement, or were just plain bad.  The best idea I came up with in that first round revolved around the words “nervous” and “excited”…I would reshape the bottles as best as I could to look like stomachs, tint them slightly pink, and fill one with butterflies suspended on string, and the other with a mess of knots.  It wasn’t a great idea, but I made myself work through it anyway to see what would come of it.

To reshape the bottles, I tried to melt them in the oven  (the things we do for art).  At first, I put them in without the caps on…and nothing happened.  On high heat for around 40 minutes, the bottles really didn’t change shape. Then, for some reason, I put them in with their caps on, to see what would happen.  Then, believe it or not, the bottles shrunk…and the normally square shape of the Fiji bottles became round.

I then tried putting in the butterflies and knots to see how my bottles looked, and just as I expected, they looked juvenile.  At this point I decided to rework my idea and shoot for a new concept, beyond what was in my fifty thumbnails.  Professor Zaino encouraged me to make a larger concept out of my two choice words.  I also decided to give myself an additional limitation to push against, to avoid multiple trips to the store and far too much wasted money as I worked through and re-worked my ideas.  I challenged myself to make my project as cheaply as possible.

The new idea, after that, came surprisingly quickly.  I decided that my new bottles would represent the words “before” and “after,” and my larger concept would make a commentary on environmental issues.  I decided to make one bottle as if it were a birthday piñata: covered in paper maché, and then green, blue, and brown crepe paper to represent the main colors of the earth .  My second bottle would be filled with trash.  As luck would have it, I was able to use one of my shrunken, melted bottles from my previous experiment to fill with trash and then place inside the colorful piñata bottle.  I also constructed a small bat covered in brown crepe paper as well.

So here we have it: a bottle made to look like a birthday piñata, representing the earth, alongside a bat.  When the piñata is opened, rather than candy and sweets, we find garbage.  Before pollution, and after pollution.  My idea to make this cheaply/with limited materials definitely worked with my concept as well!  Although it took a little while to get my final idea, I’m glad I had to work through the earlier ones.  Without my previous mistakes, I would not have known how to fit one Fiji bottle inside another!

(Currently unable to post any photos, will do so when possible)

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