Stonethwaite Votive

Off for a few days over the Christmas and New Year period, so was about time I did something else bottle related. I’d had a large brown bottle sitting to do for some time, having found it buried at the foot of a dry stone wall in the Stonethwaite valley,Brown Bottle off Borrowdale in The Lake District. Judging by the style, and the moss overgrowth almost concealing it completely, it must had been there for a number of years. I pulled it out carefully, trying to minimise the disruption to the mosses as much as possible. Despite having a large chip on the base, a few scratches from the stones and some heavy weathering, it looked useful for something. It has sat for most of the year, but I recently obtained a round uncut log from a friend who has a log-burner, and thought it would make a good base for a wine bottle or larger bottle size like this one. Looking at the brown bottlebottle, the main cylinder was good, despite the grime and a few scratches, so I decided a cylinder cut would be the aim, as it was a good colour and size. The old label and the grime from years of heavy Lake District weather took a lot of cleaning off with a blade and some hot water. I then commenced the cutting and completed the top and tail cutting to form the cylinder successfully, without any loss. The edges of the cut bottle were then ground and polished up in my usual method, using a number of different diamond pads. The end result was pretty good, smooth and pretty flat to the eye. 

I’d been to help another friend on his house build this weekend, and took the log to him to slice up. He had a brand new bench saw which sailed though the log beautifully, leaving a smooth finish that require no further sanding. All this left was for me to router a circle groove into the face in which to stand the cut bottle cylinder. I did this again with my Dremmel and it’s circular router attachment. No finish was added to the wood, which I had dried out thoroughly by the fire for weeks prior to cutting. As it was for candles, I didn’t want anything that could be affected by heat or potentially burn.

The end result, shown here with a tealight inside, Stonethwaite Votiveis quite pleasing, but it is also large enough to take a pillar candle too. Another pleasing upcycle from a bottle I have salvaged whilst walking in the Lake District. I’m really enjoying finding occasional bottles there, knowing I can clear the hazard and make something good from it where possible. Littering in The Lake District in particular is a huge peeve of mine, and it’s nice to be contributing in reducing it a little.

 

Idealistic upcycling

I’ve been picking up bottles from the streets in town for a number of years, recycling and upcycling them, and I like the double benefit of removing litter and making something nice to show from it. When I’m out walking in the Lake District fells, occasionally I come across litter around the paths, which gets picked up, but also at odd times I find discarded beer bottles which I find particularly annoying, as it’s disrespectful and selfish, not to mention a long term environmental hazard to wildlife and walkers alike.

Discarded bottle

Discarded bottle

One such example is this discarded Stella bottle, which I spotted embedded in a riverbank near Troutbeck Bridge. I recovered it, and thought about making something to compliment the area it was recovered from. I cleaned and separated the bottle bottom using the processes I’ve outline several times on this blog before. I selected a green on white baroque glass, as the green flows and white wisps are reminiscent of the lake district fells and rolling clouds. I also had a deep green water glass that complimented the bottle centre, so went with this for the 10mm border, and finished with a black polished patina.

Troutbeck suncatcher

Troutbeck suncatcher

 I’m pleased with this one, in particular because it’s something nice made out of what is ultimately a selfish and inconsiderate act of littering one of the most beautiful areas in the world. I’m hoping to make more specifically from bottles I might come across in my fell walking, maybe making a little series of sun-catchers that come from salvaged Lake District litter, hopefully I might even be able to raise some funds in lieu from them for a Lake District charity like ‘Fix The Fells’. That would really be the ultimate full-circle upcycling to me.

Tea-light mounts

Just a short post showing a couple of tea-light bottle parts I’ve started from street salvaged bottles. The tea-light holder is to the right is the bottom of a Becks green beer bottle. Nothing too remarkable or different to various tea light holders you can buy cheaply from the shops, but just made for the sake of making something from a discarded bottle that was scuffed and tatty. I’m tempted to try and mix this in to a copper-foil project somehow – maybe a floating lilypad look or something. I need to find more time to practise that craft also.

Tealight partsFrom a salvaged mini-wine bottle I picked up from the waste ground on a demolished factory , I top and tailed the green bottle to try and make a cylinder like I did with the full size wine bottles. It cut well, is thick enough not to cause any weakness worries, and fits over a tea-light snugly. I’m intending routing a circular groove into a nice piece of wood when I find one, and making a miniature hurricane of some description , be it free-standing or forming a  table centre. No doubt I’ll post a photo when I get something done. These are just clearing some of the sitting stockpile of bottles I’ve built up. It’s attracting a snail or two in the yard!

Update:   today I found the little log section, and routered a circular channel out of it at a comfortable size for the cylinder.  Log cylinder tealightThe bottle cylinder was slightly off-round, and fairly thin at the two seam points, so I made this the bottom to put the best edge to the top. The 4mm Dremel router bit was more than wide enough to give a holding circle groove that coped with the slightly off-circle shape. The groove was dyed with an english oak colour, and left to dry. The inner circle is a perfect size for a tea-light, and the open top let’s it burn freely without any need for any holes to create an air draw.