Life has a funny way of shifting gears sometimes, doesn't it? I took a one-year break from making cross bottles, simply because during moves and reorganization of my personal life, I didn't have time or space to make them. Now that I have the space, and time, some really beautiful and creative work is coming out!
Last night, for example, I was doing some organizing of raw materials, and I came across this double sided vintage mirror that I found at an estate sale in Delaware 4-years ago. I was on a trip to visit Longwood Gardens and Winterthur, and as luck would have it, I happened across signs pointing to one of the best estate sales I've ever been to. I bought so much there, and had forgotten about most of the things that were tucked away in a box marked "For Bottles" until I opened it up last night.
Gorgeous crystals, mirrors, bottles, crosses, corals, and other antique tid-bits that I thought would be interesting on, in, or as set staging for the bottle business. This mirror was one of a few that they had, and as I thumbed through the contents of the box, inspiration struck! That's how the coronal mirror series was born!
I also lucked into a great lot of antique bottles, some with the most amazing patina! I get asked a lot of questions about the bottles, including how they get the interesting inner texture that they have. Honestly, it's all mother nature's doing. I don't do anything at all to the inside of the bottle. They're exactly as I find them. The calcification and wash of colors and textures is all thanks to the many years that these bottles have spent buried beneath the soil.
I love making the crystal crosses, but sometimes I don't have the crystals to complete a cross. Using vintage products to make my art, it often happens that I have leftovers that don't really form a cross shape. So, these abstract pieces come into the fold. Sometimes they're big, like this one on a tarnished silverplate candlestick, and sometimes they're small - but they're always unique, and never reproduced because the crystals are typically the last of a vintage batch.
I've also grabbed really interesting crystals over the last year, as I see them, knowing that eventually I would get back to doing the cross bottles. Some of them are huge, like these, and have the most amazing refractory.
See larger image, and description here.
I have also found some really stunning one-of pieces, or very limited number pieces, like these antique amateur jewelry makers casts.
There are so many more on the Cross Bottle Guy website, which I invite you to visit at your leisure. And keep checking back there and here for more updates on what's coming out of the studio, happening around the house, and books that I have read and loved during my little sabbatical.