Monday, March 9, 2015

Water Bottle Chandelier- RES

Guess what's ready for its debut?
The gorgeous finished chandelier in the library at RES!

Isn't it wild?! Green and blue and hot pink all over!
 What is this crazy jellyfish? This project is inspired by the dramatic and technically mind-blowing glass work of the artist Dale Chihuly. I have been lucky to see his work a few times, and I love the element of team-work that goes into all glassblowing, but specifically into Chihuly's to accomplish the large work such as this 14' orb of delicate spiraling shapes.

Dale Chihuly, The Sun, 2003
 Back in January, RES let me begin a little collection of plastic water bottles. I wasn't sure how this was going to go, because this is such a green community, with our students showing up each day toting reusable bottles.  Would there be enough?  Were we really saving any from landfills or recycling facilities for our project?
It hangs over six feet long, and looks right at home over the terraced space by the windows.
     As it turns out, lots of people use water bottles, only they are hilariously awkward and uncomfortable about it.  So much unnecessary justifying of a purchase.  We all do it from time to time, no one is perfectly eco-friendly. I cannot tell you how many times in the last couple of months I had various versions of this same conversation:

Colleague/community member (with guilty expression and embarrassment on their face):
Mrs. Elliott, we have water bottles for you. [holds out bag of empty bottles]
Me: Thanks! So glad you could help with our project!
Colleague/community member (now looking at shoes): Well, we only have them because we/our parents/our neighbor uses them because our/their water is bad.
Me: No, really, we are glad to have them! We couldn't and wouldn't be doing this project if people didn't use them!

Oh, Vermonters. Don't be so hard on yourselves. Look what we did with them!

From underneath.
 After collecting many bottles, we began to tint them all and cut them into spirals.  I made an initial cut with a utility knife, and students cut the spirals to varying widths using scissors.

See the patterns of the bottles in plastic?
We used hot glue to attach all of the spirals to a hollow cardboard tube, which hangs from wires.  We began at the bottom and added rings around the tube, working our way up.  I don't know precisely how many bottles the grade four artists turned into colorful spirals, but I can estimate that it was well over two hundred.

View of the room as you enter
 At the end, we added a strand of donated Christmas lights to make it glow. Now that it has been installed, it will be up for a long time, so stop by to see it!

Colors against our bleak neutral landscape are a relief!

No comments:

Post a Comment