Documenting Change @ RE-aRT

Posts tagged “Cathedral of Junk

Improvisational Architecture

The long saga of the bottles has gotten exciting again!

And this is an ATEN success story.

I posted a request on the network for help building a bottle wall, including one “expert” in some form of construction to consult with me before the build day.  A member forwarded the post to his nephew, concrete builder Paul Adam, who was interested in the project and in the idea of ATEN and contacted me.  He ended up coming over and answering all my questions and more, as well as moving a bunch of heavy rocks into the shape of a foundation.  In return, I am telling everyone I know to call him if they need fine concrete work done (hardscape, hearth, shower, etc.)!

Two other ATEN members volunteered to help with the build, and one brought along an extra helper, so we were set!  Throughout the day, I was reminded of one important reason why I like to collaborate — because it is more likely that the right questions will be asked.  For example, I would have totally forgotten to document the process if Diane hadn’t reminded me!  I emphasized at the beginning that this was an experiment, so as a result, everyone’s full brain was engaged, thinking of how to make this structure a success.

Mike, Charlotte, and Diane.

We worked from 11 to 4 with a lunch break in the middle.

3 parts sand, one part Portland cement, one part lime + enough water to make it like smooth peanut butter!

Slopping the mortar on the wall (with gloves!) was surprisingly fun. The texture reminded Charlotte of cookie dough.

This picture is before I smoothed the surfaces and wiped clean all the bottles at 10:13pm.

The wall/bench is currently half-way done.  We decided to stop for it to dry before adding more weight.  I also decided to add some wire mesh into the next mortar layer and in the sides, to reinforce the strength.  Finish day will be Feb. 4th.

**BACK STORY**

I’m not sure when my neighbors started saving bottles for me, but it back was in 2010.

A few large parties plus the regular flow of consumption yielded a handsome collection before too long, and Then…

We had enough where it became time to figure out how to clean those labels off.

The internet do-it-yourself-ers said, “for sure, use Oxiclean”!

So we soaked them in warm buckets, peeled and scrubbed with rubber gloves, rinsed in the kiddee pool.  It’s so fun being outside!  Weston observed, and emptied more bottles; Fernando took pictures:

The start of 2011 brought unemployment to Chad.  For 3 1/2 months, he had extra time on his hands, so he clocked in to work at the recycling center.  The repetitive chore was transforming our pile into a sorted, clean collection, and probably helping with his sanity, too.

When Chad went back to work, the bottle-cleaning factory pretty much shut down, but we already had quite a stockpile of usable bottles.  They sat and waited…

**  THANKS **

I would like to thank Bunny White for encouraging me to do something with the bottles “Now!”  Also of course to all the helpers who worked on this project: Chad, Paul, Charlotte, Mike, Diane, and Katarina.  Thanks to my neighbors, Josh, Johnny, Weston, Christina, and all their friends, for donating bottles!  For inspiration, I would like to thank Scott Webel from the Museum of Ephemerata, Susan Maynard of Spunky Monkey Ranch (now Further Farm), The Orange Show and Beer can House in Houston, Vince Hanneman of the Cathedral of Junk, the Buddhist temple-builders in Thailand, Earthship-makers, and all the folks who posted information on the internet for me to find out how easy this is.  This project is also completed in the honor of someone who designs and builds with light in mind: my brother-in-law, architect Brett Rhode.

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On the theme of House, Home, Habitat

Another thing I did in May was create some new artwork for an art show at the Walkers’ Gallery in San Marcos.  I submit art to the Activity Center shows every once in a while, and this theme particularly spoke to me.  The show, which is up through the first week of July, features a good percentage of work from the Art from the Streets (AFTS) program in Austin (which hosts a drop-in studio for homeless artists), plus nine pieces from Chad (6 of them World Salads), eight from me, a couple of very interesting national artists, and of course plenty more contributions from the San Marcos area.

At the opening reception last week, an AFTS representative presented a feature-length documentary on the Art from the Streets program, which revealed both the incredibly awesome art that is created by the homeless participants in the program, and the cruel hardships in their lives that we maybe take too much for granted.

Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show:

Growin' Home by Timothy Baker (AFTS)

S. African Weaver Bird, 1-3 by Susan Winters Cook

Terreform Tree Habitat by Mitchell Joachim

another by Mitchell Joachim

Cathedral of Junk collage by Vince Hanneman

World Salad by Chad Hopper

And  here are my own submissions ~~ some new, some old…

Home = a variety of attachments, c. 2004

Home = HARD + soft, c. 2011

Harmony and Spice, c. 2011

House of Divisibles, c. 2011

House Plan, c. 2011

House for Ideas, c. 2011

Balls Dining, c. 2011

Welcome, c. 2011