Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Impossible Bottles

Have you ever heard someone described as having the "patience of a saint"? This would be a perfect description of anyone who makes Impossible Bottles. In fact this type of mechanical puzzle was often referred to as a Patience Bottle. Impossible Bottles are glass bottles in which items have been inserted which are bigger then the neck of the bottle.

Originally Patience Bottles depicted religious scenes.There are examples of these dating from the late 16th century. Putting items in bottles became more popular in the early 19th century when glass technology allowed the manufacturing of clear glass on a large scale.

Of course, the most well known type of Impossible Bottle is the ship-in-a-bottle. These vessels in a vessel have been around for a long time. Sources vary, some say the earliest known ship-in-a-bottle was made by an Italian, Gioni Biondo in 1774, and others say Sweden in the 1780s.

As a craft, putting ships in bottles is still going strong. The Bottle Shipwright is the journal of the Ships-In-A-Bottle Association of America.

One of Harry's bottles

If there is a star of Impossible Bottles, it would be Harry Eng (1932-1996). Harry was an inventor, magician and school teacher. Using physics and patience he put all sorts of things in bottles from coins, decks of cards, to books and shoes. His specialty was tying large knots inside bottles. How did he do it? Harry took his secrets with him.

--Lynn Conaway

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fabulous Feline Vessels

My servant made this famous image of me.
It's called Live Theatre for the Cat.
When I choose to acknowledge it, my name is Audrey Velvet Conaway. 

I am the softest kitty in the world. One day as I was sitting on my servant's desk blocking the computer screen, I heard her say; blah, blah, vessels, all the eyes can hold, blah, blah. 

I was inspired! I got hold of the mouse (Love it!) and found images of vessels decorated with cats. 

I know you will agree that all cats are a work of art.

Correia Art GlassBlack and 
White Vase

Pre-Columbian bottle in the form
of a cat.                                                                

Cat bottles by Caitlin Hyde
--Audrey Velvet Conaway

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Heart- A Vessel of Love

Since ancient times the heart was thought to be the vessel of the human soul. The origin of the heart symbol is equally as old. Some think it originated from the shape of a seed which in ancient times was used as a contraceptive. Others enjoy thinking it represents features of the female human body. What ever the origin the heart and therefore the heart symbol represent chocolate... no, no, no, I mean they represent love. From ancient vessels to the ubiquitous heart-shaped candy box we still express our feelings with hearts.

Dominican Republic, ceramic AD1000-1500

Corezone-A ceramic heart-shaped vessel that you can put your thoughts and feelings and emotions into. Write them down on pices of paper and put them inside. You must physically break your own heart to free them.
  Happy Valentines Day

--Lynn Conaway

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Zulu Telephone Wire Baskets and Vessels

Zulu artist Mankell Dumisa

Mbenge is the Zulu word for the beautiful wire vessels made by South African artisans. The art of telephone wire basket weaving originated in the 1960's with the South African night shift security workers at the Reef Gold Mines. To pass the time these men used discarded telephone wire to decorate their security sticks. Eventually their wives and daughters began creating bowls and other objects. These creations were not only beautiful  they were also very useful. The bowls would be so tightly woven that they could hold water.

The technique for making wire vessels is basically the same ancient process used to weave grass vessels. They are made by wrapping colored telephone wire around a heavier, rigid wire coil using traditional coil weaving methods.

Due to their color and beauty, telephone wire vessels have become popular worldwide. They have become very important to the Zulu as a stable source of income.

Sales of wire goods often allow families to stay together when, in the past, the father very often would have to move away in order to find work. But as wireless technology becomes more widespread, "recycled wire" is getting harder to find. Many artists have to buy phone wire from suppliers. Unfortunately, some wire is procured by cutting actual phone cables which causes huge problems and expense for the phone companies and their customers. 

--Lynn Conaway