Thursday, July 17, 2008


Lindsay is my oldest son's fiancé who turns 24 today. I thought I'd wish her a happy birthday here. Though she's probably not my biggest blogging fan, she occasionally refers to me as "Blogger!" Becoming more comfortable with our nuclear family this year, she got me a "Nerd" t-shirt for my birthday. So I thought I should get her something to open today herself after the cake and the candles and stuff.

Coincidentally, the Ann Arbor Art Fair began its annual four-day run yesterday. And I had a couple hours to kill. Why not go?

I browsed about 100 or so booths, all brightly decorated with a veritable cornucopia of baubles, ceramics and wall hangings. Tempted on a slender ceramic vase adorned with a painted palm tree which you could hang from a hook on a wall. Also tempted on a tiny metal sculpture of a bug-like creature who held a sign that said, "I live for weekends." However I moved on to browse more.

Then I saw the booth I was looking for. Beer bottle artistry. The middle-aged, long-haired proprietor from Key West, Florida appeared to be doing brisk business with customers admiring his collection of recycled beer, wine and liquor bottles which had been melted in a kiln, then their label re-applied and cemented with lacquer.

"What is this one for?" an art shopper asked, eyeing a beer bottle that had been molded into a type of bowl.

"You can use that as an ash tray. Or you can throw your keys in it, or your jewelry. It's anything you want it to be." the artist replied.

Wow! Not only was it art, but it was useful art. What modern-day woman wouldn't want a Budweiser bottle bowl as a spoon-rest for her gourmet kitchen, or maybe to serve as a earring depository in her boudoir. I mean, any glass blower can create a fancy bottle or bowl to put on a shelf. But to take something ordinary and re-make it into a work of art for everyday use. That is way too cool.

And reading the artist's website, I discovered that he and his artist partner actually drink the beverage before recycling it into art. That would be akin to Leonardo DaVinci quaffing a bottle of wine, then creating a masterpiece on the empty jug. Not only would the purchaser get a work of art and a empty jug, they might even have a little dried slobber from the master himself.

No reason to browse any more. I picked out a Red Stripe bottle melted and crafted into a spoon-rest (or whatever)-- Red Stripe being the beer brewed and sold in Jamaica. And Greg and Lindsay went to Jamaica for Lindsay's sister's wedding last year. So it should bring back fond memories of the tropics as well.

What do you think? I think I've set the bar pretty high for Christmas myself.


Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

And to think I let my bottle of Acme go at my last garage sale.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Well, one good thing is that they are recycling something that might otherwise become part of a huge trash heap! Yay for them!

And yay for you for actually thinking about it, actually passing by some items of lesser value, actually finding the gift of perfection for the DIL-2-B, who I"m sure is also perfection!

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are TOO funny, Dave! And THAT is why I've chosen you for an award on my blog today. Go pay a visit to collect your award. Your writing humor never fails to make me chuckle when I come here to visit you.
And this post was no exception. I'll tell're quite a guy and Lindsey should be SO impressed with your tres chic shopping ability. You're right...I can't wait to see what you find her for Christmas.

9:16 AM  
Blogger jan said...

You've taken gift giving to an art form.

Wow, I miss the Ann Arbor street fair.

8:12 PM  
Blogger Danger Panda said...

Dave, you realize that you must include a photo before we really get the whole effect, right?

Looking forward to it!

11:42 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

HOSS--And the artist would do a custom-made work on the bottle of your choice too.

LYNILU--Reading the artist's website, she used to be big into recycling before becoming a melted bottle artist.

TERRI--Thanks for the award! Though I'm terribly technically deficient when it comes to the internet, I'll have to try to put that award on my sidebar.

JAN--Didn't know you were an Ann Arbor denizen originally. Somehow I pictured you as a west coast lifer.

KRISTI--I know. And I did try to take a picture of my prize with my old Nikon SLR. Only to discover I was out of film. I must invest in a digital camera.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Kacey said...

And who said that Michiganders have no class? Jeff Foxworthy would be so proud! I hope Lindsay knows what a gem she is getting for a f-i-l.

7:13 AM  
OpenID caroldee said...

YOU DON'T HAVE A DIGITAL CAMERA.. for shame DAVE..hmmmm ~~~ FAMILY ATTENTION GET DAD A DIGITAL~~~this annoucement brought to you by the fellas that make beer bottle art. Here those bottles are worth money are they worth that in FLA??

Hope you all had a swell party.. : )

10:25 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

"Useful" art hooked me. The only thing I really know about art is how to spell it.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

LOL, I'm sure since you picked it out w/ so much love-it will be the best present ever DAVE!

9:13 PM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Big Dave ~ A Happy (albeit somewhat belated) Birthday to Lindsay! ~ jb///

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

Hey Blogger,
Thanks you for the birthday wishes and awesome gift ( I love my beer).

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

That's awesome Dave! A lot of the fellas I know put very little thought into their gift-giving.

5:49 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

KACEY--We Michiganders have a lot of class. We just keep it well hidden at times.

CAROLEE--I just bought a digital camera this week. Now to figure out how it works.

FRED--Honestly me too. I'm a real no-talent when it comes to art. I can't even paint the kitchen.

CARINE--It helps that I have a shopping gene too. Otherwise I would have just bought her a bottle with the beer in it already.

LZ--Can't be too late for a happy birthday. I see her own response is later than your's here.

LINDSAY--You're welcome. See, blogging can be useful way of expressing yourself. Maybe some day you'll take it up yourself.

DEB--I do try, but my gifts don't always rate rave reviews.

9:17 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Nice thinking, Dave. You the finest!

6:25 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

The Ann Arbor Art Fair has always been lauded for its sense of high culture. By the way, in art history circles, Leonardo is simply Leonardo. Da Vinci tells us that he is from the village of Vinci. SPARTANS have vast knowledge outside of the realm of what beer bottles are meant for.

8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:29 PM  

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