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.


Apples Series

new bottles

The message in a bottle bug bit me again last week when one of my bottles that I dispatched in London was found, miraculously (or not) upstream from where it was dropped. Since then I made five more bottles, which I want to show off here.

Number 88: Parcel, Book, and Apple

Message in a Bottle No. 88

Message in a Bottle No. 88, title: Parcel, Book, and Apple, by Hilke Kurzke

The design of this bottle is radically different from those before, as the scene inside is now horizontally oriented rather than with the bottle standing upright. The parcel is glued to the carpet, as well as the apple. The book is free moving (and of course not blank), which makes it hard to capture. Here is a view of it that also shows my message to the finder:

Detail of message in a bottle No. 88

Detail of Message in a Bottle No. 88, title: Parcel, Book, and Apple, by Hilke Kurzke

Number 89: Ward

Message in a Bottle No. 89

Message in a Bottle No. 89, title: Ward, by Hilke Kurzke

This bottle has – beside the message of course – a piece of linen fabric with coins stitched on. When I got intererested in embroidery two years ago (has it really been that long?!) and learned how to add little mirrors and the like, I thought it looked interesting and made this piece with rows of one and two pence pieces. I had this idea that coins were used as a ward against evil in medieval magic, but reading up on it on Wikipedia apparently it wasn’t coins in particular but any shiny objects were thought to protect from the evil eye. I though tit was an interesting thing to add to a bottle, but I am a little concerned about whether it will float. The maths say it will: I put the piece on the scales, and it was less than 100g, and although these were 90ml bottles, I believe they actually hold 100ml. So anything that weights less than 100g should make it still a floating bottle. – A test in practise will show.

Number 90: Three Letters

Message in a Bottle No. 90

Message in a Bottle No. 90, title: Three Letters, by Hilke Kurzke

Another bottle in horizontal design. This time I mounted my scene on a piece of birch veneer. The three envelopes do contain pieces of paper that can be pulled out and read. The scene also has a chocolate bar and an apple. This bottle got me started on a food theme. The letters are addressed to: Unknown fellow chocolate lover, new friend, and philosopher. And in the last latter I wrote about my thought on food as such. And it provided a theme for the contents in the next bottles as well.

Number 91

Message in a Bottle No. 91

Message in a Bottle No. 91, title: Come Eat With Me, by Hilke Kurzke

This one probably looks rather odd from this perspective. I wonder how long it will take finders to realise they are looking at the underside of a table. Normally I only show work in progress pictures once a bottle has been found, but here’s the exception of the rule. The photo below shows the table before being inserted in the bottle.
I am rather proud of the water glass, by the way. Can anyone guess what it really is? – It is a plastic bit that I had lying about which I glued onto the table.

Message in a Bottle No. 91, title: Come Eat with Me, by Hilke Kurzke

Number 92

Message in a Bottle No. 92

Message in a Bottle No. 92, title: What can I tell you?, by Hilke Kurzke

This one is rather similar to the three letters bottle. In this case, however, the letter is still outside the envelope and I added a pencil.

Some more thoughts and plans

That’s it, these were the five bottles I was going to show you. Since the dispatch into the Thames was so successful (with a rate of 1/2 found), I currently have the vague plans to go to London again in the next couple of months and have another splash there.

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 üblich 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 ausgehöhlt 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 gefällt. 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.

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 aufwändigste. Als erstes habe ich gelernt, wie man Miniature-Körbe macht. Oben siehst du vier der sieben Körbe, die ich gemacht habe. Da hieß es dann nur noch auswählen – ich habe mich letztendlich für den Korb ganz links entschieden. Was ich mit dem Rest mache, weiß ich noch nicht. Vielleicht mache ich demnächst nochmal einige Korb-Flaschenposten. Wie dem auch sei, als nächstes habe ich mich dann in Essen-Miniaturen und Polymer-Clay gestürzt.

making miniature chocolate

making miniature chocolate to fit the size of the basket

mini chocolate 2

one of the first and larger chocolates


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


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.


first trials with creating a scene

Die Mini-Äpfel sind viel einfacher, als erwartet. Man formt den Apfel aus weißem Fimo und malt die Farbe dann drauf. Dabei verschimmen die Rot- und Grüntöne 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 saß alles recht locker, aber ich habe gehofft, es würde 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.

Für die Fotos, die ich von der verschlossenen Flasche machen wollte, habe ich sie auf einen Pfosten gestellt, der Teil des Geländers an unserer Veranda ist. Unglücklicherweise 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 schön, aber auch nicht katastrophal, denke ich.

May I introduce…

Message in A Bottle No. 79

Message in a Bottle No. 79 – “Small World: The Deckchair”

… my newest message in a bottle! Apparently I am caught in a miniature frenzy 🙂 My usual letter is hidden in the base this time:

Darf ich vorstellen…? – Meine neueste Flaschenpost. Mich scheint das Miniaturenfieber gepackt zu haben 🙂 Meine übliche Botschaft ist diesmal im Sockel versteckt:

005 kleiner

New Bottles (including a finished no. 74)

drei flaschenDie drei Flaschen warten gerade auf ihren Wachsüberzug, den letzten Schritt zum Verschließen. Wie du sehen kannst, habe ich die Kofferflasche nun verschlossen (mehr dazu ein bisschen weiter unten), die in der Mitte mit der Biene ist die Flasche Nummer 72, die ich schon vor ein paar Tagen, zwischen dem “Bett” und dem “Koffer” gemacht habe, und heute morgen ist dann noch die ganz vorne dazu gekommen. Aber ich zeige sie einfach mal eine nach der anderen:

The above photo was taken this morning, with the latest three bottles waiting for their beeswax “cap” and final sealant. As you can see, I finished the suitcase bottle. More about that in a minute. First let me show you bottle number 73:

No 73

Message 73 of Project Message in a Bottle by H. Kurzke

I made this one without remembering to take a couple of photos while making it. Well, I wouldn’t have shown them now anyway, as you know. Just so much: the little box holds a surprise.

No. 74

Bottle 74 of Project Message in a Bottle, “Small World – The Suitcase” by H. Kurzke

Thank you for your responses when I asked whether you would prefer the items in the suitcase removable or not. Contrary to popular demand I glued them on (mostly). I decided to tie a band around the shirts and the pants like it might be added by a cleaning service, and then glued the ribbon, so that the garment (or rather, the piece of paper with a picture of a garment) theoretically still can be removed. The suitcase is glued to the carpet, the stack of shirts, too. Inside the suitcase the newspaper is glued to the upper half, a stack of trousers to the lower half, together with a tie and a belt which both cannot be removed from the suitcase. The book, however, is unattached, and can simply be taken out from the bottle.

While writing my last blogpost, I realized that I really wanted to have the control over all parts of the scene like only glueing down the elements will allow me. The main thing here is, after all, the book. And just like for the other bottles, the book is removable, while the other items and the scene are fixed.

flaschenpost no 074-09 making of kleiner

Making of Bottle Number 74, the moment I was dreading: putting glue on the leather

Yep, das ist Klebstoff auf dem Koffer. – Der Moment vor dem ich ein bisschen Bauchschmerzen hatte. Aber ich habe mich letztendlich doch entschieden, all die kleinen Dinge festzukleben. Danke für eure vielen Antworten! Fürs Kleben habe ich mich entschieden, weil ich einfach mehr Kontrolle über das Aussehen der Szene haben wollte, als anders möglich. Und letztendlich sind sie eben nicht die Hauptsache, sondern nur Requisiten, ich will eine Bühne schaffen für mein Büchlein. Bei einem gemalten Bild ist man auch nicht traurig, dass man den Koffer nicht vom Tisch heben kann.

Aber die vielstimmige Meinung, es wäre doch schön, wenn man die Sachen entfernen könnte habe ich wenigstens ein bisschen ernst genommen: Statt die Hemden und Hosen festzukleben, habe ich ein Band um sie gelegt, wie es – so argumentierte ich zumindest mit mir selbst – auch in einer Reinigung umgelegt hätte sein können. Und das habe ich dann festgeklebt. Aber der Schlips, die Zeitung und der Gürtel sind fest. Und natürlich der Koffer. Gerade wie bei meinen anderen Szenen ist das Buch das einzige, was man wirklich rausnehmen kann.

Unten nochmal ein letztes Bild vorm Verschließen:

I didn’t mind at all when I glued the bed to the floor, why did I have problems with the suitcase?, I asked myself. Well, I guess in my mind, a suitcase is just more mobile than a bed, and so I hesitated to glue it, I guess. Also I liked how the lining looked like, and of course with the added small things, this is less visible. My apologies. But I found your view very interesting. I have a third “small world” planned, and now I am thinking of adding more removable items to that scene. I’ll see…

Here is one last view before I clsoed the bottle:

flaschenpost no 074-11 making of kleiner

Bottle No 74 Small World – The Suitcase by H. Kurzke before putting in the cork

No 75

Message number 75 from the Project Message in a Bottle by H. Kurzke

And above you see bottle number 75. I guess this one will be hard to distinguish from trash. I am curious to see whether it ever will get found.

Well, that’s it for today. Next week there will be one or two “German” dispatches, and if the weather plays nice, the first from an English beach might take place in two weeks. I’ll let you know more a little closer to the date!

Flasche Nummer 75 wird vermutlich schwierig von Müll zu unterscheiden sein. Ich bin gespannt, ob ich von der eine Antwort bekommen werde.

So, und das war’s für heute. Ich habe vor, nächste Woche 3 Flaschen in deutsche Flüsse zu werden, ich hoffe, das Wetter spielt mit! Und der erste Abwurf von einem englischen Strand könnte vielleicht schon am ersten Augustwochenende stattfinden. Mal schauen, wie das Wetter so mitmacht. Bis bald!

No. 74 “Small World – The Suitase”. Work in Progress

Small World - The Suitcase, making of

Contents of message in a bottle No. 74, H. Kurzke (a click on the image brings you to ipernity where there are “notes” in the image, explaining what is what)

O.k., now I am struggling a little bit with this one. This is the third bottle for which I am making a mini book complete with props to create a little scene inside the bottle. The first was given to Wollaton library, and as a bottle with a certain recipient not very representative to this series. And the second was number No. 72 named “Small World – The Bed” was finished just the other day. In both cases all elements of the installation were glued in place, only the book is removable from the scene.

For some reason, I am hesitant to glue the parts into place with this one. Isn’t it neat that all the part could come apart? There is the suitace, and cut from paper two pairs of trousers and three shirts. There are a little leather belt and a paper tie. I so would like to add something representing socks, but I failed to find something convincing. There is a piece of paper that looks like a newspaper page, and of course there is the central piece, the book (with content, of course, which I regards as the main content of the bottle, and thus won’t be revealed until someone finds it). But then, I don’t really know how to do this without glueing most of the parts into place. Just one tumble on the waves, and everything will just fly about in the bottle. I am considering tying it down somehow rather than glueing it. But that will be hard to do and unreliable.

Message in a Bottle No. 74 by H. Kurzke, putting in the letters

So my question to you today: If you found such a bottle. Would you be dissappointed if all these things were glued down inside the suitcase (the book would still come free and be usable, of course)?

All in all I must say, I am rather happy with how the suitcase turned out. My pride is the tiny buckle which I formed from half a staple, essentially bending it with my fingers.

Flasche Nummer 74 (yep, ich habe zwischendurch eine gemacht, die ich noch nicht vorgezeigt habe) soll den Titel “Small World – The Suitcase” also, “kleine Welt – der Koffer” tragen. Dies ist die dritte Flasche, in die ich ein kleines Büchlein in einer Mini-Installation hineinlege. Die erste war die Nr. 45 für Wollaton Library, die zweite Nr. 72 mit dem Titel Small World – The Bed ist erst vor kurzem fertig geworden. Die Bücher haben natürlich Text und sind voll funktionsfähig. Bislang habe ich immer alle Teile der Installation in der Flasche festgeklebt, und nur das Buch konnte herausgenommen werden.

Bei dieser Flasche hier kämpfe ich allerdings ein bisschen mit mir: Es wäre so hübsch, wenn all diese Dinge: 2 Hosen, 3 Hemden, ein Gürtel, ein Schlips, eine Zeitung und natürlich das Buch, beweglich blieben. Und auch den Koffer mag ich irgendwie nicht auf den Teppich kleben. Aber ich weiß auch nicht so recht, was ich sonst machen soll. Festbinden vielleicht, oder einfach locker lassen, und in Kauf nehmen, dass das eben alles durcheinanderwirbelt in der Flasche.

Deshalb heute ein Frage an alle (potentiellen) Flaschenpostfinder: Wärst du enttäuscht, wenn du so eine Flasche findest, und die Gegenstände alle festgeklebt sind?

Im Großen und Ganzen muss ich allerdings sagen, bin ich sehr zufrieden damit, wie der Koffer so geworden ist. Besonders stolz bin ich auf die winzige Schnalle, die ich aus eine halben Tackerklammer im wesentlichen mit den Fingern gebogen habe (und mich dabei mehr als einmal kräftig in die Finger gestochen habe. – Autsch!).

As you can see, I decided to create a little more stable underground for the suitcase: The accompaning letters are put into a base to which the carpet was glued.

Message in a Bottle No. 74 by Hilke Kurzke, making of. This is how the suitcase will sit inside the bottle.

To be quite honest: while writing up this post here, I acutally made up my mind about the question whether to glue or not to. But I would still love to hear what you think about it: Glue, tie, or let fly?

Ganz ehrlich: Während ich diesen Artikel hier geschrieben habe, habe ich eine Entscheidung getroffen. Aber ich würde trotzdem gerne deine Meinung hören: Festkleben, anders befestigen (binden) oder ganz loose lassen?