PROJECTS: Milk Bottle Birds
Shortly after we moved from Botswana to England, I received a call from one of the mothers at our daughter’s new school, asking whether I would help make plastic milk-bottles into a flock of birds as a sort of eco statement.
The vision was a walk through the woods, where you would encounter various large sculptures, playful items such as a swing and also crafts people: a spoon carver; a walking stick maker, and a basket weaver, all with items to sell.
The project was to be set at the school, which is fortunate enough to have extensive grounds and woods, and a passion for wildlife. It was in aid of charity, raising money by charging a small entrance fee, and by asking artists to donate a reasonable percentage of any sales made.
The milk bottle birds were to be a collaborative project involving the children, so they had to be straight forward to make. I bought many bottles of milk to experiment with, but could not get anything to look effective. When the project’s creator eventually arrived in her relaxed, rather dreamy way, she picked up one of the plastic milk bottles and gently snipped here and there, working out an effective shape we could all follow, and a simple yet brilliant method to get them onto sticks, as if it were easy.
She worked to her own time-line, but when she did work, it was very fast and flawless. I watched in awe as she drew this map in one impressive hit, whilst walking the trail she had mentally marked out at the same time.
The idea that people might furnish their own gardens with beautiful works of art is easier to imagine when the pieces are already in a natural setting, and it was very inspiring watching the project materialise.
I found all the sculptures aesthetically beautiful, but the piece that stole my heart was Janus. I had to look up all the meanings. Janus means two-faced. The piece is an amphora (Greek vessel) from one side, and I personally see an owl-like face on the other. The significance for me is the difference between what we show to the outside world, what we experience within, and what we choose to openly communicate; hopefully something wise!
You can download the PDF of the full Art Trail catalogue here 🦅 with live links/contact details to all the artists featured. (Donations ongoing.)