Monday, October 02, 2017


(Above:  Corked glass bottles with "transparency" messages.  Click on any image to enlarge.  I am looking for more "messages" as I have 144 bottles to fill!  Email me or leave a comment)

No ... I'm not going to be throwing hundreds of messages-in-bottles into the ocean.  No ... I'm not unduly or emotionally connected to the 1979 song by The Police.  It's all about TRANSPARENCY, and I need help in pulling this project off!  What sort of secrets would be revealed if everyone's life was lived with the transparency generally expected from government?  Send me your answers!

 (Above:  Photo posted to a local Facebook group by Andy Smith.)

It all started when Andy Smith posted this photo on a local Facebook group called "Bartertown". Something about it spoke to me.  I wanted this 16" in diameter glass light fixture immediately.  I wrote a response asking the price or the barter or whatever was needed to make it mine. 

(Andy Smith and one of his recycled scrap metal dinosaurs ... taken from a Jasper Project blog post by Mary Catherine Ballou.)

Andy wrote back with an address.  The light fixture was FREE and would be on his front porch.  I could pick it up at my convenience.  I went right away.  It was on the porch.  So, to the best of my knowledge, I have yet to meet Andy Smith despite the fact that we have plenty in common including roots in Ohio, being self-taught artists, and wanting to give new life to old things.

(Above:  My attempt to capture a close-up image of the glass ... all those lovely bubbles!)

Despite a few chips around the rim, the light fixture is more beautiful than I dared to hope.  It appears to be hand blown with lots and lots of bubbles in the glass.  It sits perfectly on a thicker section with a slight indentation that was probably where the glass was attached to a rod in the process of being blown.  I washed the fixture and let it sit on in my frame shop where I could look at it for a couple of days. 

I asked myself questions.  Q: Why do I love it? A: Hand-crafted  Q: What feature is most impressive? A: Transparency Q: Why is the transparency more impressive in this piece than other glass? A: Because the tiny bubbles make me actually LOOK at the glass, not just through it. Q: Can transparency be the focus of a new piece of art? A: YES!

 (Above:  A case of little glass bottles ordered from SKS Bottle & Packaging.)

I did a little research on the word "transparency".  The definition is very straight forward, but the word is more interesting when paired with "government" and/or "business". 

One on-line definition:
Openness, accountability, and honesty define government transparency. In a free society, transparency is government's obligation to share information with citizens. It is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.
Another on-line definition:
Corporate transparency describes the extent to which a corporation's actions are observable by outsiders. ... To increment transparency, corporations infuse greater disclosure, clarity, and accuracy into their communications with stakeholders.

 (Above:  Corks for the little glass jars.)

I started asking myself more questions ... like "How much information is too much?" and "What if I had to be as open as I expect those in government and business to be?" and "What secrets would be revealed if everyone led a totally transparent life?"  That's when I thought of clear glass jars into which I could put note suggesting that level of transparency. 

 (Above:  My light fixture, Micron pens, card stock tags, and messages-in-bottles.)

So far, I've put the following phrases into the first few corked bottles:

Cheated on my income tax
Regularly exceed posted speed limits
Hide liquor bottles
Walked out on a restaurant tab
Lied on a job application
Can't balance my checkbook
Ignored an out-of-state parking ticket
Didn't get caught shop lifting

NO!  I have not done these things (except occasionally the speeding).  No, you don't have to be confessing something if you send me a phrase.  I've always found that asking the public for their impressions results in a more interesting finished artwork.  So, please leave a comment or email me at with suggestions.  I'll post photos when Transparency is finished!


Linda Schiffer said...

A friend and I were just talking about this today! Transparency in communication would mean that the person I'm talking to would _know_ whether I'm conniving or tell them a bald-faced truth with no preconceived agenda.

;) Linda

Toni Elkins said...

cheating on your spouse or partner for life. . 2. Copied someone's art style and called it your own 3. Left your child in the drugstore. Put kids in playpen so you can talk on phone. 4. Lied about the recipe being your own concoction. 5. Lied when you stated "I love you!" And NO! Not me, but I thought them up!

susan hemann said...

I love how your mind works.The first word that came to mind was truth. I looked up the word in the dictionary- fidelity to an original or to a standard and transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.

Ancestor said...

I never wanted to be anything but a wife and mother. I'm not much good at interacting with the world.