By Sarah Corbin
When Oak Park artist Bryan Northup was approached by an eco-focused company called Special E to see if he would like to be involved with a project to help the Garfield Park Conservatory, he was thrilled. Bryan, the artist behind Bentbottle, has lived in Oak Park for about five years, and is Assistant Director with the Oak Park Art League. He has a passion for horticulture, loves the Garfield Park Conservatory and felt it was a great chance for him to able to blend his art with a good cause close to his heart.
Special E helps nationally to rescue items for reuse and recycling. They work with conventions, banquet halls and event planners to recycle or "upcycle" items from that event, often developing relationships with local artisans. Special E was asked by the Garfield Park Conservatory to help them find a way or an artist to reuse their broken window glass after the hail storm on June 30th 2011. Lucky for us, they called Bryan.
Bryan picked up the broken glass from the conservatory this past fall and started working on a limited edition art bowl "Catching Hail." He places glass shards carefully in bowl forms that he then fires in a kiln. The glass, even after undergoing that extreme temperature, retains the hail marks. Bryan's artistic eye and the natural "patina" from the hail is paired perfectly in these beautiful bowls.
Bryan already uses discarded glass in much of his one of a kind artwork. Bryan opened up his studio for me to stop by and peruse all of the art work in his shop. After his recent appearance at the One of a Kind show in Chicago, there were many items ready to ship. Bentbottle, his recycled glass line of artwork, is available locally at Green Home Experts, and Bright Olive Gallery in Oak Park. You can find much of Bryan Northup's work at his etsy shop too. http://www.etsy.com/shop/bentbottle . And yes, he is available for last minute local pick ups if you have someone you need to shop for before the holidays.
"Catching Hail" is available for purchase in a 100 piece limited edition at the Garfield Park Conservatory.
I did make my way over there to purchase one, a piece of history repurposed and artfully recreated. Love it.