When I Painted Glass Bottles for a Month

I am a part of a lil’ team of people called The Goodwill Tribe who run random acts of kindness activities every month, you know, everyone has their own soul feed.
A month back I remember trashing any chances of getting an early sleep when we recieved the confirmation email that we could, for the second time, have a stall at one of the biggest flea markets in our city!
12 am?! Pssht. It was time to turn up the music and dance, and I did!
One of the many fun activities we have planned for our table is gifting up-cycled products on a pay-it-forward basis.
Here’s the drill, we have no price tags! So you pick up whatever you like and it’s a gift to you from the previous customer, a chain of generosity that we hope you will keep going with how much ever you wish to pay forward for the next customer’s gift.
It’s a lot of fun, yeaup, but it is also one of the only fund raising and most exhausting events we have all year. Subtext, it entails shitloads of work.
We had a month to go and we decided that this year we would be on top of things (yeah, like THAT would EVER happen!).
The weekend that followed, my three friends and I met over brunch to decide the buh-zillion things we needed to get done for the event to match up to, and hopefully trump, the success of our stall last year. Since we had a little over a month to prepare, we thought taking it nice and slow would be the way to roll. We each committed to painting around three glass bottles every week till the big day.
I returned home that night to a cozy, inviting bed and gave in to the beckoning of slumber. I hadn’t even considered beginning to work on anything, I mean there was time, right? (Said every procrastinator ever).
However, when I awoke the next morning, my close friend and super talented housemate had created a quirky, beautiful bottle with loose pages from an old Archie comic.
Great, I thought to myself, now I’ve gotta start working and I am not loving the benchmark pressure I am looking at one bit!
I got myself to sit down that night and grab a bottle and some kind of paint I found in her kit.
I am no painter.
I would like to think that I am the sort of person with a creative eye but unfortunately neither do I have the patience, nor the talent to reproduce what I see in my mind’s eye. And yet, I am also the sort of person who believes there is no mountain too high to scale or umm.. no art too difficult to master. So I went at my first bottle not knowing what exactly to do.
Thirty minutes in I still had not one clue what I was doing. Not even half a clue.
To make matters much worse, in came my friend who began working on her second master piece. Ooooh Boy! That sure as hell was not good for my can-mountain-scale-and-be-the-next-picasso ego.
Ignoring her complex plans that I knew she could carry out to perfection, I dipped a random brush (because why do brush sizes and shapes even matter really?!) in some water (who knows the right amount of water you need to use with these things? I couldn’t bother enough to get myself to look at a million google tips and tutorials) and painted my first bottle a lovely shade of acrylic burgandy.
Which was the point my creative mind’s eye decided that the deep blue sequencish-glitter that I saw lying around would look fantabulous on the neck of my bottle. I just went for it. It was a big mistake.
Not only did it not look good, it actually wasn’t as easy to stick opaque, flat, tiny glitter particles onto something as everyone pretends it is when they make those fancy shoes.
“Mix it with pink glitter,” said my friend.
“Are you sure?” I asked, this time a little more conscious about the next step to take.
“Yeah, it will look really nice,” she assured me.
Only it didn’t. It didn’t look really nice. It didn’t even look remotely nice. It looked mismatched and untidy and like something made by a seven year old.
Apparently blue and pink does not look that fantabulous against burgandy (okay, now that I am saying that out loud I can hear how ridiculous it was to ever think that!).
So I caught hold of a bottle of sky blue paint and began painting over it. I must have painted at least two or three other colours before I got a shade of dull lavender that didn’t look too tacky with the glitter.
The glitter, which by this point had proceeded to fall onto the wet paint and lodge itself as little rough surprises when you touched the bottle.
Whatever man, I just tied a ribbon on the damn thing and called it a night.
The entire month was spent discovering my surprisingly little knowledge about art and not-so-surprising relentlessness to get back on the buckaroo anyway.
Bottles had to be painted. And so I painted them. I painted them in poster colours that you can’t varnish and will be ruined soon enough, in water colours using excessive amounts of unwanted water and in perfect acrylic that my tacky varnish job ruined anyway (irony much?).
All along I sat beside my friend and watched as she churned out bottle after bottle of intricate designs, sometimes even mixing glass paints and acrylic (what?!), transforming broken bottles into I-would-totally-get-that candle holders or spending over four hours painting (with a thin brush cause apparently those things matter!) pearly white mehendi designs on plain bottle green.
It is safe to say that by this point I just gave up every last trace of ego and decided to just fan girl like I wanted to anyway. Who was I kidding? I could never pull stuff like that off!
Instead after the first few failed attempts at breathtaking, I just decided to stick to simple things up my alley, which actually turned out not half bad!
So maybe we are not all created to be able to do everything exactly the same way, but I realized that if your heart is in the right place and your ego is in the right place, maybe we can all do a little bit of everything.
Kilimanjaro, here I come!
Arr.. Umm.. Yeah.

Some of my later creations. Not too(ooooo) shabby, innit?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sabiscuit says:

    The bottles are really cool. I understand that you used glass paint and acrylic. I’ve only ever painted on plastic bottles with acrylic. This looks like an interesting project that I would try with a group. Best wishes for your goodwill project.

  2. Adarsh Srivastava says:

    Lovely narrative!! A very good flow in it,

  3. riselikeair says:

    Love your writing and your creations. Still smiling. Feel like I was sitting beside you as you worked. Love how you weave a tale of the mundane into astounding life adventure

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