New Bottles

Since my last blogpost I made 10 new bottles. Yes, I have been on a kind of spree, making many miniature houses using paper mache, something I work with anyway at the moment. Every time I was working on a batch of paper mache I also formed little geometric shapes, that I later turned into building by painting them – and some to even more complicated structures. See for yourself, here are my new bottles:

message and miniature in bottle no 105

Message in a Bottle No. 105

message and miniature in a bottle

Message in a Bottle No. 106

I am always looking for new ways to integrate my message. Can you spot it for these two? Well, I have to tell you that the first one is hidden in the same way, you can’t actually see it in the photo.

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 107

miniature and message in a bottle

message in a bottle titled “alien throne”

I titled this bottle “alien throne” – or what do you think this might be? Would you sit on it if you could?

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 109

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 110 with a picknick basket with blanket, apple and book

The miniature in message no. 110 is a bit recycled, I have to admit. If you have followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I made a range of different baskets a while ago, and I still had this one. But the lawn is new…

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 111

Of course I had to keep using the new lawn…

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 112 – house on a cliff

miniature and message in a bottle

message no. 113 – tall house

miniatures and message in a bottle

message number 114 – abandoned high rise appartment blocks

miniature in bottle

Bottle No. 115 – underground pool

Bottle number 115 is the hardest to show! It has a structure in it, that I cut from a block of papermache with a dremel, and decorated. It is supposed to be an underwater pool… Well, you’ll see more of it if and when it gets found :-). And last but not least:

miniature in bottle

bottle no. 116 – obelisk

I am currently thinking about maybe planning (notice how careful I am here) an event that, if it indeed takes place, will be related to my messages in bottles. And so I want to make even some more, maybe of another type, not necessarily with miniatures in them. But we’ll see.

Later in the summer I am definitely planning a trip to the sea, maybe to the East (Lincolnshire or North Norfolk) or the West (somewhere in Wales or maybe Liverpool), or maybe to all these locations to drop my bottles in.

I am also thinking of maybe sending some of them abroad to be tossed where I have not tossed a bottle before ­čÖé If you would like to dispatch one of my bottles, maybe along with one of your own, please get into touch, and we’ll see whether and what we can arrange.

Advertisements

New Bottles and Planned Drop Off Trent Bridge

Trent Bridge in Nottingham

I have dropped off a couple of bottles from Trent Bridge before, five, if my records are correct, and I never heard back from a single one. That’s why I have been hesitant to drop in more, although I just love that Bridge.

But coming Friday, I am going to give it another go.

Peter’s Bottle along with my three unsealed ones

From the Sheffield Drop Offs (Blog post part 1, part 2, part 3) I still have one of Peter‘s bottle waiting to be put into a body of water. Now that spring is filling England’s rivers, it seems like a good time to part with it.

I didn’t have any of my own left over, so I made a couple new ones this past week.

close-up of the teeny tiny houses I am going to put in the bottles

In my main part of work, I started to use paper mache more, and as usual, my messages in bottles reflect that.

I don’t think I’ll put all the bottles in, possible just one of them. – And that then would be the one with the folded paper boat. The letter in the bottle, btw, is suspended from the cork that will seal the bottle as to not disturb the scene inside. I hope the construction will survive!

More, once the bottles are sealed and on their way.

Bottle No. 85: Small World – Woven Chair

Message in a Bottle No. 85 Woven Chair

Message in a Bottle No. 85 Woven Chair

There is the chair again, bottled, with a book as always in this small world series. If you take a close look, you can see that there is also a miniature pencil included. And I had a new idea where to put the accompaning letter: I hollowed out a bit in the cork, and put a – miniature – scroll with the text there. Because the writing is necessarily very small on the paper, I felt a little insecure about whether it stays readable, and so decided to write the web address of this blog onto the cork. – Not so sure about the look of that. Well, I really ought to “post” those bottles to see how they will hold up to water and waves.

I am just about to book flights to Hamburg in Mai. – Maybe I’ll drop them into the river Elbe after all. Or maybe just a couple? I’ll see.

Und hier ist der Esstischstuhl noch einmal, jetzt in seiner Flasche, verkorkt und versiegelt, wie ├╝blich in dieser Small World – Serie zusammen mit einem Minibuch. Eine neue Idee, wo ich den Beibrief unterbringen will hatte ich auch: Ich habe den Korken ein wenig ausgeh├Âhlt und dort eine kleine Schriftrolle untergebracht. Weil die Schrift darauf notwendigerweise so klein ist, habe ich auch nochmal mit schwarzem Permanentmarker die Webadresse dieses Blogs auf den Korken geschrieben. – Da bin ich mir nicht so sicher, ob mir das gef├Ąllt. Naja, ich sollte die Flaschen wirklich auf den Weg bringen, um zu sehen, wie sie Wind, Wetter und Wellen standhalten.

Ich bin gerade dabei, einen Flug nach Hamburg zu buchen, Mitte Mai. – Vielleicht schicke ich sie auf der Elbe auf die Reise, oder zumindest einige der Flaschen.

Work in Progress

wip 01

starting the assembly of a piece of furniture, made from skewers and toothpicks

wip 02

I can’t just punch holes with an awl, that would split the skewer, instead I carve small holes with a carving knife

chair drying on my table. – A bit wonky, but in a cute way, I think

next day: the glue has set, and it is time to start weaving the seat

halfway done and briefly tempted to leave it like this

wip 07

there, all done. Finished chair with a match for size comparison.

There is not much to report at the moment, no dispatches, no finds… M. and I are in the middle of purchasing a house. Contracts have already been exchanged, and if not a complete freakish accident happens, we will own it on Friday, three days from now. We won’t move in immediately since we will have to do quite a lot of refurbishment, but in the near future. And so I am getting a little antsy about posting all messaged in bottles that I have made so far and which of course still contain this mailing address. (Not as the only, notas the primary method of contacting me, of course, and with the warning that it might no longer be valid when the message is found, but still.)

I am still wrecking my brain how to put them into scene before dispatching them. – And where to toss them in. I’d be happy to hear any ideas you might have.

I still like the idea of dispatching at least some of them into the river Thames, but it is unclear when I will be in London Obviously I didn’t make it for my birthday. Mhm…

The latest bottles and bottle design

blog header 2

new banner, the ten bottles that are currently waiting for their dispatch

Hello my friends. Have you noticed the new banner on the top of the blog? In case you are reading this in a reader rather than on my website I put it on top of this post for your convenience: It is a photo with all the bottles that I currently have here in my studio. (The photo, obviously, was taken outside.) There are three new ones between them: The fifth, the third and the last from the right.

Hallo, Freunde. Der Blog hat ein neues Banner oben, – schon bemerkt? F├╝r alle, die in einem Reader lesen, habe ich das neue Bild oben nochmal eingebunden. Das Bild zeigt die Flaschen, die bei mir auf einen Abwurf warten. Drei davon sind neu: von rechts das f├╝nfte, dritte und letzte.

flaschenpost no 083-01 kleiner

The letter that is inside all my bottles, explaining who I am, mentioning this blog and giving my contact data

I am always changing small bits for every new bottle I make, always striving to improve some part of it. All of my bottles have a letter in them, explaining who I am and giving my contact data. In some of the bottles this letter is a bit hidden or hard to access. In the past it was often printed with the help of my computer using pigment ink (which doesn’t fade or smudge). But I turned to writing it by hand recently. – I figure that when you receive a message in a bottle, you expect something a little more personal than a letter typed out on a computer. The advantage of the computer is of course, that I can print smaller and it will still be legible (The letter was written in German and English, and often I also included it in French). With the handwritten letters I have turned to thinner paper. – I hope it will hold up well enough. And it is only in English. There are two reasons for me to hide this letter:

A) I imagine that the finder will have to decide whether to smash the bottle or otherwise disturb the scene found in the bottle, or live with not knowing where the bottle came from; especially if they treasure what they found I imagine this decision to be a rather hard one. And I like the thought of my bottle causing strong emotions and a conflict of this sort.

B) Often what makes the letter hard to reach is meant to protect it from water.

One downside of hiding the letter is, of course, that a finder might not contact me simply because they decided they didn’t want to access this letter.

Bei jeder Flasche, die ich mache oder versigele ├Ąndere ich Kleinigkeiten, von denen ich hoffe, dass sie die Flasche besser machen. Alle meine Flaschen haben einen Beibrief, in dem steht, wer ich bin, der ├╝ber das Projekt Flaschenpost informiert und meine Kontaktdaten enth├Ąlt. Bis vor kurzem habe ich den Brief (in mehreren Spachen, meiste deutsch und english, oft auch noch franz├Âsisch) mit dem Computer geschrieben und mit pigmenthaltiger Tinte ausgedruckt. Die ist lichtecht und wasserfest. In letzter Zeit bin ich allerdings eher zu handgeschriebenen Briefen ├╝bergegangen, weil ich mir denke, dass wenn man schon eine Flaschenpost findet, vielleicht lieber etwas pers├Ânlicheres als einen computergeschriebenen Brief finden m├Âchte.
Der Vorteil vom Schreiben mit dem Computer ist nat├╝rlich, dass ich kleiner und dabei trotzdem leserlich schreiben kann. Meinen handschriftlichen Brief gibt’s nur auf Englisch und auf einem d├╝nneren Papier, damit er noch gut in die Flasche passt. Ich hoffe, das Papier h├Ąlt der Belastung stand.

Es gibt zwei Gr├╝nde, warum ich diesen Beibrief manchmal verstecke oder zumindest schwer zug├Ąnglich mache:

A) Ich stelle mir vor, dass die versteckten Briefe den Finder vor ein Problem stellen: Soll er die Flasche zuschlagen oder die Szene, die er in der Flasche vorfindet anderweitig zerst├Âren? Oder damit leben, dass er nicht wei├č, wer die Flasche unter welchen Umst├Ąnden gemacht und eingeworfen hat? Ich stelle mir vor dass, gerade wenn man die Flasche mag, das einen vor einen Konflikt stellt, der nicht einfach ist. Und mir gef├Ąllt der Gedanke, dass meine Flasche jemanden so stark besch├Ąftigt und Emotionen weckt.

B) Das Versteckt sch├╝tzt den Brief manchmal vielleicht vor eindringendem Wasser.

Der Nachteil ist nat├╝rlich, dass ein Finder mich vielleicht nicht kontaktiert, weil er sich entscheidet, den Brief lieber nicht rauszuholen.

flaschenpost no 082-01 kleiner

message in a bottle No. 82 “Small World – Apple Tree”; the accompaning letter is hidden in a clay-sealed base; in the main chamber: a miniature basket with miniature apples (all glued into place) and free moving a miniature book and pencil.

Above you see message No. 82, the latest in the small world series. I think the series will come to an end soon. There are still ideas and plans for more bottles, and there is no plan as such to end it. But I feel a certain pull of my heart in a new direction.

I had hoped to exhibit all my small world bottles together at some point. But one of them is already in Swansea, I don’t really see an opportunity for that at the moment (if you would like to exhibit them, or have a suggestion for a venue I would love to hear about it!), and at the same time I feel an increasing wish to set them afloat.
It is my birthday next weekend, and I know that M. will invite me to a weekend somewhere (to eat Dim Sum served with carts – I am so looking forward to this!). I guess there will be water somewhere nearby, it will be in England, after all. I will be 40, my kids who are somewhat responsible for me starting this project are 4, it will be four of us who are there. So throwing out 4 bottles seems like a fitting thing to do. And since I only have 3 that are not “small world” bottles, I will set at least one of them afloat. – Any opinions which one it should be?

Oben ist Flasche Nr. 82 zu sehen. Der Titel ist “Small World – Apple Tree” oder auf deutsch “kleine Welt – Apfelbaum”. Ich glaube, diese kleine-Welt-Serie wird bald zu Ende sein. Es ist nicht so, als ob es Pl├Ąne g├Ąbe, damit aufzuh├Âren – ich habe im Gegenteil noch Ideen und Pl├Ąne f├╝r einige mehr. Aber ich f├╝hle zunehmend den Drang, weiterzugehen und was neues zu machen.

Ich hatte eigentlich gehofft, diese Flaschen nochmal alle zusammen auszustellen bevor ich sie dem Wasser ├╝bergebe. Aber eine davon ist jetzt schon in Swansea., ich habe nicht wirklich etwas in Aussicht, wo ich sie unterbringen k├Ânnte (wenn du sie ausstellen willst, oder von einem geeigneten Ausstellungsort wei├čt, w├╝rde ich gerne davon h├Âren!), und ich sp├╝re zunehmend den Wunsch, sie endlich auf die Reise zu schicken.
N├Ąchstes Wochenende ist mein Geburtstag. Ich werde 40, meine Kinder sind 4, wir werden zu viert sein. – Sehr passend also 4 Flaschen abzuwerfen. Gibt es Meinungen dazu, welche vier es sein sollten?

Unten ist Flaschenpost Nr. 83 zu sehen – relativ minimalistisch nach den kleinen Welten mit ihren Miniaturen. Ich will nicht zu viel verraten. Verwendete Materialien sind unter anderem: Ziegenleder, Pergament (echtes Pergament, nicht Pergamentpapier), Goldimitation, Leinenzwirn.
Wie man sehen kann, habe ich den Verschluss hier etwas abgewandelt: Erst habe ich die Flasche verkorkt wie ├╝blich. Ich w├╝nschte, ich h├Ątte nochmal Siegelwachs auf die Nahtstelle zwischen Korken und Glas gemacht, aber das habe ich vergessen. Dann habe ich mit Leinenzwirn den ganzen Deckel eng umwoben (habe ich beim mini-korbmachen gelernt). Dann das Ganze in Bienenwachs getaucht. Die Flechtung saugt sich mit Wachs voll und h├Ąlt es fest, so dass es eine recht dicke und hoffentlich stabile Kappe ergibt. – Ich bin gespannt, was die “Experten” hier davon halten!

flaschenpost no 083-10 kleiner

Message No. 83 “Make your mark”

Above you see bottle number 83. Comparably minimalistic compared to the small worlds, but did require some work. I don’t want to give away too much before it is found as usual. Materials used: leather, cardboard, parchment (animal skin, not paper), paper, imitation gold leaf, linen thread, copper, acrylics and cork, fat and beeswax. If you look closely you’ll see that I tried a variation for the closure: I first sealed it with a cork as usual. I wish I had treated the seam between cork and glass with sealing wax but I forgot. I then wove linen thread all around the cap and dipped the bottle in beeswax. The linen weave holds wax and therefore ensures an even and thick coating. I’ll be curious to know what the “experts” think of this idea.

And below is message number 84 “fish spoon” because, as you can see, it contains a wooden spoon with a fish drawn onto it. Materials: leather, cardboard, parchment, linen thread, paper, imitation gold leaf, wood, acrylics, pigment ink, shell, cotton rope, and of course cork, fat, and sealing wax.

flaschenpost no 084-03 kleiner

Message No. 84: Fish Spoon

Flaschenpost Nr. 84 ist eben zu sehen. Ein klar erkennbarer Verwandter von Flasche Nr. 83: beide enthalten den Beibrief als Schriftrolle in einer Lederh├╝lle, die mit Goldfolie belegt ist. Materialien auch hier: Leder, Imitationsgoldfolie, ein Holzl├Âffel, eine Muschel, Baumwollkordel, Pergament…

Zum Schluss noch ein paar Bilder mehr von den Flaschen:

I am closing with some more images of the bottles:

flaschenpost no 082-8 kleiner

Message No. 82 “Small World – Apple Tree” The sealing wax is slightly burned and left black swirls in the cap. Purist will say I was holding the stick at an unfortunate angle, but I rather like it this way

Small World - Apple Trees (No. 82)

bottle no. 82 Small World – Apple Tree (still unsealed to let light in from the top for the photo)

Message in a Bottle No. 83

Bottle No. 83 “Make your Mark” – Would you pick it up?

Message in a Bottle No. 84

Bottle No. 84 “Fish Spoon” – captured on a hilly morning with the first rays of sunshine reflecting from the glass

New Messages once more, the first of 2016

flaschenpost no 81

Message Number 81: Small World – Mail

The first message in a bottle in 2016 carries the number 81 and the title small world – mail. It was made in a hurry when Peter Stein put the exhibition with messages in bottles at the Waterfront Museum in Swansea to my attention, and the related call for art by the University of Wales in Swansea. I quickly made and sent off the bottle above, and it is now part of the exhibition that started this evening. – I hope I’ll manage to drop in and maybe take a couple of photos. The exhibition is on until March.
Unfortunately it was hard to get hold of the organizers and to learn any specifics: What will be done with the bottles after the exhibition? How long exactly will the exhibition be on? Will all bottles send be shown? – I don’t know. But at some point I thought: what the heck, if I am going to toss the bottle into the sea, I can as well send it off without knowing exactly what is going to happen. And they did send me an email when they received my bottle, promising some photos later. I’ll see.

paket

my parcel containing the bottle above

Oben ist Flasche Nummer 81 zu sehen, mit Titel “Small World – Mail”, die erste in diesem Jahr. Ich habe sie eher hastig zusammengefriemelt, nachdem micht Peter Stein auf die Flaschenpost-Ausstellung in Swansea im Maritime Waterfront Museum und den damit verbundenen Call for Art aufmerksam gemacht hat (danke nochmal an dieser Stelle!). Mittlerweile ist sie gut angekommen, und die Ausstellung wurde heute abend er├Âffnet. Ich hoffe, ich werde es schaffen, mal vorbeizuschauen und ein paar Fotos zu machen, immerhin habe ich bis M├Ąrz noch Zeit dazu.

aepfel 001 kleiner

making miniature apples

As you can see in the image above, that the scene is resting on a white raised thing. If course it contains the accompaning letter with my contact data. This is the latest attempt in improving the “chamber” where I put it. For bottle no. 81 I used a new sort of modelling clay, and once I got started, I have new ideas how to further improve it. So more bottles. Since I still have a couple of miniature baskets, and enjoyed making the apples, I started with that once more.

apfel kaputt

when trying to put one of the apples onto the pin it broke in half and I pierced my finger – I quite like how the apple bit looks, and I thought I could maybe use it…

Wie im Bild oben zu sehen ist, arbeite ich gerade an einer Verbesserung der “Kammer” in der ich den Brief mit meinen Kontaktdaten unterbringe. F├╝r Flasche Nummer 81 habe ich eine Form von Knetmasse benutzt, die an der Luft hart austrocknet. Aber ich glaube, ich kann das noch verbessern. Also sollte eine zweite Flasche her. Weil ich noch Miniaturek├Ârbe ├╝brig habe, und das ├äpfelmachen Spa├č gemacht hat, habe ich damit noch einmal begonnen.

apfelkorb kleiner

Here you see a basket with the apples inside. – I added black bits to the half to make it look like, well, an apple half

Oben im Bild ist der Korb mit einigen der ├äpfel zu sehen. Leider hat das Anmalen diesmal insgesamt ein wenig schlechter funktioniert. Damit die Farbe nicht mit ein wenig Wasser sofort absp├╝lt, habe ich sie diesmal lakiert, sie trocknen gerade noch. Die fertige Flasche gibt es dann demn├Ąchst zu sehen. Bis dahin!

Above you see the basket with apples which I fancy will be part of the next bottle. I am undecided on whether to glue or hold them down in any way. I’ll see. As you can see I decided to add some very dark green bits to look like seeds to the broken one. Currently a bit of clear acrylic coating is drying on them, in the attempt to make the colour a little more water resistant. The new message will hopefully be finished soon. Talk to you then!

Making of Bottle No. 80 “Small Worlds – The Picknick”

baskets 01

Four out of seven baskets deemed good enough – I ended up choosing the one on the very left

Bottle number 80 has been my most elaborate yet. At first I learned how to make miniature baskets. Above you see some of the results. I decided to use only the basket to the very left. Then I dived into miniature food making with polymer clay.

Flasche Nummer 80 war bislang meine aufw├Ąndigste. Als erstes habe ich gelernt, wie man Miniature-K├Ârbe macht. Oben siehst du vier der sieben K├Ârbe, die ich gemacht habe. Da hie├č es dann nur noch ausw├Ąhlen – ich habe mich letztendlich f├╝r den Korb ganz links entschieden. Was ich mit dem Rest mache, wei├č ich noch nicht. Vielleicht mache ich demn├Ąchst nochmal einige Korb-Flaschenposten. Wie dem auch sei, als n├Ąchstes habe ich mich dann in Essen-Miniaturen und Polymer-Clay gest├╝rzt.

making miniature chocolate

making miniature chocolate to fit the size of the basket

mini chocolate 2

one of the first and larger chocolates

chocolates

next I experimented with wrappers: paper, aluminium foil, imitation gold leaf

apfel

miniature apple

miniature apples are formed from white-ish clay and then painted. That is much easier than first thought. The colours blend in the right way almost automatically. I made four.

picknick

first trials with creating a scene

Die Mini-├äpfel sind viel einfacher, als erwartet. Man formt den Apfel aus wei├čem Fimo und malt die Farbe dann drauf. Dabei verschimmen die Rot- und Gr├╝nt├Âne fast automatisch in der richtigen Weise.

dust cover

dust cover

Like all miniature worlds, this one has to contain a miniature book, of course, which I used to consider the main content (which I won’t give away before the bottle is found). However, looking at the effort that went into creating the scene, I might have to revise that view.

mini book klein

everything put together including the informing scroll giving my contact data

Here the book is complete and all the components are put together, including the scroll which I have written this time by hand – for a more personal touch but also so that it fits better within the small hollow I carved into a cork.

Hier ist das Buch schon fertig und mit allen anderen Teilen zusammengestellt.

No 80

shortly before sealing the bottle

Like usual I fixed the different components of the scene (i.e. glued them down), and only the book remained free moving. Glueing them down proved quite hard, though. I had little hope that it would withstand the motion of the sea, but hoped it would hold well enough until a possible dispatch.

Wie immer habe ich alle Teile abgesehen von dem Buch festgeklebt. Das war in diesem Fall wegen der Holzwolle und so aber gar nicht so einfach. Letztendlich sa├č alles recht locker, aber ich habe gehofft, es w├╝rde zumindest bis zum Abwurf alles so zusammenbleiben.

Fotoshoot in the garden

For the photos I put the bottle onto post that form part of the railing of our porch. Unfortunately, just aber two or so photos, the bottle slipped and fell. The bottle itself was unhurt, but the apples and the chocolate are now rolling freely inside the glass. – Well, not perfect, but acceptable, I guess.

F├╝r die Fotos, die ich von der verschlossenen Flasche machen wollte, habe ich sie auf einen Pfosten gestellt, der Teil des Gel├Ąnders an unserer Veranda ist. Ungl├╝cklicherweise ist sie dort nach nur 2 oder 3 Bildern runtergefallen. Der Flasche selbst ist nichts passiert, aber die ├äpfel und die Schokolade fliegen nun doch frei in der Flasche herum. Nunja, die Picknick – Szene ist nun also etwas unordentlicher geworden. Nicht sch├Ân, aber auch nicht katastrophal, denke ich.