by Art Chantry:
i still collect bottles. started digging when i was a kid and have probably gone through a few thousand snce then (mostly given away or lost in various changes). i can’t quit them. i think old functional glass is so beautiful
this photo is of a window shelf in my studio. left to right: three whiskey bottles, two milk bottles, a cream bottle and two pop bottles. i love the shapes, the embossed lettering, the crummy quality. they’re full of bubbles and debris and scratches and chips. it’s really thick glass (you could pound a nail with any of these bottles.) that one milk bottle (not the purple one) has a brand name on it for an old now defunct dairy in tacoma (meadowsweet.) that second to last bottle is an old soda pop bottle of dr. pepper, with the “10 to 4″ logo heavily embossed into the glass.
best of all i love the colors! i’m a sucker for old purple glass. that color comes from the impurities in this old foundry glass, which was all made on the super cheap. every batch of glass is full of crap from the sand/silica and materials they melt to make the glass. the resulting container is initially completely clear and pristine. but, with time and sunlight, the glass slowly changes into just about every color of the rainbow – green, amber, ‘smoke’, blue, purple, even red. and the differing shades of these colors are as vast as the visible spectrum.
for instance, the copper in the glass causes it to turn green. the purple (often called ‘lavendar glass’) comes from the lead impurities in the glass. the red color (very very rare) is from gold content. a serious collector can collect an impressive array of hues and shades and tints. under the right lighting, these things are beautiful. some of them (with radiactive materials in the glass) can even flouresce under a blacklight – or even glow in the dark.
you find these things by digging them out of the ground or finding them on the surface in remote dumpsites. old mining towns and abandoned dwelling sites are prime turf. to find best place to dig – the site of the old garbage dump at an old dwelling foundation – you stand where you think the kitchen window would have been and look out at the forest. then you spot the place where the ground contours create a blind spot behind a rise – a ‘dip’ on the landscape. a blind spot. that’s where you dig. it’s where they dumped the trash. if you can locate the old outhouse location, that’s the best of the best. people threw just about everything down the shitter.
as a graphic designer, i can’t resist the beauty of old packaging in general. and old commercial industrial glass falls squarely into that arena.
and, please, don’t get me started on old mason jars! i could could jabber on for hours….