The Bottle Vase Project
An area in the North Pacific Ocean, also known as ‘the great pacific garbage patch’, is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of plastics that have been trapped there by the circulating currents. Plastic waste drifts there from all over the world, after floating down rivers into seas. Plastics are not biodegradable; they only break down into smaller pieces called micro-plastics. These are extremely dangerous as they enter the food chain and threaten all kinds of species, including human beings.
Bottle vases are inspired by a collection of plastic trash from the river Maas in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After reading about plastic soup, I started looking more carefully at the river running through her home town and found plastic waste that had been accumulating there since the 1960s. By creating durable porcelain copies of the material I find, I'm trying to spread awareness of this growing problem.
For the bottle vase series, I work together with Middle Kingdom, a company led by husband-wife team the Jias. They combine their love for Chinese history with their passion for traditional craft. In their Jingdezhen workshop, they give a contemporary voice to classic porcelain techniques. Inspired by history and other artistic disciplines, Middle Kingdom’s craftsmen remains faithful to the materials and their artistry.
How it’s made
The plastic bottles I find in the river Maas are used to create moulds. Pigmented liquid porcelain is poured into the moulds, leaving a thin layer that forms the shape. After drying, the inside of the bottle is glazed lead-free and fired at 1300 ºC. All this handwork is done by a team of seven craftsmen, therefore none of the bottles are exactly the same: small stains and deformations occur and these add to the beauty of the finished product.
Please follow these instructions to keep the outer surface of this bottle vase in pristine state. After using the vase, wash the bottle with mild soap, warm water and a brush. Leave it to dry on a clean towel. Grease stains can be removed by rubbing in soft soap, leaving it overnight and cleaning as directed above. Always keep this bottle indoors and store in a dry place as moist dirt might get into the outer surface over time. Liquids can also be stored in the bottle vase; we suggest using a cork to close the bottle.
Currently we are working on a new series with plastic bottles from all over the world. Please share a picture of the vases you find on instagram and tag @foekjefleur so I can easily find you. The best entries will be invited to send in their bottles and will receive a copied porcelain trophy! Good luck!
Purchase Bottle Vases here.