Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Bottle Tree!

The Bottle Tree...

Bottle Tree Bob creates the twisting 'trunk' or 'frame' of the tree with sturdy rebar!

Each kid created a couple of bottles, some big, some small...

Artist John DeFaro gets the workshop going...


Creativity... helped along by Miami artist Luis Valle!


Some big kids got in on the act...

'City Year Miami' volunteer Erin McCleary (on the left) observing and evaluating the KIDSART program, chats with one of the parents...

KIDSART got off to a rousing start at artist John DeFaro's 'studio' on Saturday! The kids created a bottle tree, on a frame crafted and donated by Alabama's 'Bottle Tree Bob' Milton. John and his partner Fernando drove the 700 miles to Bottle Tree Bob's place near Montgomery, Ala., and hitched a trailer to their car to haul this huge 'tree' back to Miami. Can't wait to see the video of that! With empty sake bottles that John had been saving for just this project (although he didn't know it at the time!), the kids got busy creating their own distinct bottles, using colorful wires, found objects like old transistors, and organic material like palm fronds. The bottles were then placed on branches of the tree. The themes of mythology, repurposing, and the environment, were all explored through this amazing creation. Afterward, the kids, and some lucky parents, feasted on delicious sushi, popcorn shrimp, and chicken fried rice graciously supplied by World Resource Cafe. And then John's friend Manuela Mueller brought out not one but two cakes, which helped the kids replace all the sugar they had burned up, creating out in the heat! See the energy the artists and the kids brought to this project in the video below!

Thank You World Resource Cafe-lunch was spectacular!

...and thanks to Manuela Mueller, the kids ended their first workshop with a vanilla AND a chocolate cake!

KIDSART /Miami /Summer 2009
Workshop number 1. July 18, 2009
“The Bottle Tree” project.
A collaboration celebrating Mythology, Repurposing , and the Environment.
Artists: John DeFaro, Robert Milton “Bottle Tree Bob” and the KIDSART Kids.

History of the Bottle Tree

What is a bottle tree?
The bottle tree's origins can be traced back to Africa. It was believed that bottles suspended in the trees would attract evil spirits when the sun glimmered through the bottles. The evil spirits would then be trapped in the bottles. Later, African American families in the South translated this cultural tradition into bottle trees, stripping the foliage from trees and sliding bottles over the tips of branches t o catch any evil spirits coming their way. The trees were so interesting that people across the region started making them. Though long-ago Southerners used t hem to capture spirits, you can use a bottle tree to unleash yours-your creative spirit, that is.

It is fun to imagine, but we don't believe bottles could in any way "trap" evil spirits. However, the bottle tree has evolved to become a very unique Southern gardening tradition.

Everyone wants their yard or garden to be unique in some way. Bottle trees offer the chance to be creative while celebrating repurposing and the environment! They allow you to put your own twist on your yard or garden or even an interior space. The bottle tree can be placed almost anywhere and it can be moved at your whim. Bottle trees can be formed or designed into endless shapes and sizes. A most intuitive form of expression where the value is ongoing creative energy with little monetary cost.

Bottle trees don't die! They never need water or fertilizer. The bottle tree will always be in full bloom, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

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