The Bottom of the Bottle

It’s not in my genetic make up to be able to turn down a deal.

Bottom of the bottle stained glass

I spent some time in the sunny south this winter and had an opportunity to purchase a really cool bottle cutter at a bargain price, delivery included and sent directly to my door. A done deal.

Said bottle cutter travelled home to Canada with me in the spring. Once we’d unpacked and organized our northern abode (and once I found the studio again since I had left it in “disarray” – to put it mildly – when we headed south), I hauled out the new bottle cutter, set it up on the workbench, read the instructions and started to play.

We used to have lots of empty wine bottles stored in our crawlspace. We don’t anymore. Those wine bottles are now in bits and pieces thanks to my new bottle cutter. There’s a knack to working this thing, as well as a bit of a learning curve, but after mixed success in cutting up a couple of dozen bottles, I got the hang of it and I was ready for a challenge.

One presented itself almost immediately. (Funny how that happens, eh?) I was commissioned by the owner of a local do-it-yourself wine making store to design and build a window-cum-business card holder for her shop.

Well, now, I just happened to have several buckets filled with pieces of wine bottles. I pondered the design, and thought I could use ten wine bottle bottoms of various colours and textures to border the piece.

It was a big job and took a lot longer than I had expected because I had never had to incorporate pieces of wine bottles into a panel before, then make the finished piece business card friendly. I was within minutes of finishing the piece – just putting the finishing touches on some solder around one of the wine bottle bottoms – when I heard a little sound. It was a small, sharp pop.

I’d heard that sound before and it’s never brought good tidings. That sound means that the hot soldering iron and hot solder have aggravated a flaw in the glass I’m working on and the glass has just cracked.

Panicked inspection found that indeed, one of the wine bottle bottoms had cracked from one side clear to the other.


Two and a half hours later, I had removed the cracked piece, performed surgery on another wine bottle to harvest the bottom part, attempted to transplant the new piece into the appropriate space, swore mightily when I realized that this wine bottle was just ever so slightly larger in diameter than the cracked one, enlarged the available space with the grinder (praying all the while that I wouldn’t do further damage), and I was back to where I started before hearing that nasty sound except I had found another wine bottle with bottom attached and wine inside (the very best kind of wine bottle!) and magically, there was a glass of wine in my hand. (Okay, there was a half a glass of wine in my hand and a half a glass inside of me but the piece was finished and I was celebrating.)

The project turned out beautifully – as you can see in the photo above.

I felt really good about it and the client was happy.

And that’s the way it should always be.