You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘bottles’ tag.

e3f4c832453cc5d0324911942eaee398.jpegBecause of last week’s post about the Thai coronation I got sucked into spooling through pictures of the astonishingly beautiful and crazy sights of Thailand.  We really need to all visit that exquisitely beautiful land! What a place!


At any rate, as long-term Ferrebeekeeper readers will recall, I once made a (sadly unpublished) book on how to build toy vehicles out of household refuse.  The industrious Buddhist monks of Thailand however did not stop at making toys.  Thus, the temple which most caught my eye was Wat Pa Maha Chedio Kaew also named “Temple of Million Bottles.”  As you can tell by the name, this temple (and all of its outbuildings like the crematorium and the restrooms) are built of empty bottles which have been carefully mortared together to form an exquisite .  Actually though, the name is a bit of a misnomer–thus far the complex is constructed not of a million bottles but of around a million and a half bottles.


The project started back in 1984, when some monks decided to clean up the refuse around their temple.  Perceiving the inner beauty of the discarded beer bottles, the monastics chose not to throw them away, but instead to clean them and use the brown and green glass vessels for constructing temple accessories.  The project took on a life of its own as visitors brought ever more bottles–mostly Heineken bottles (green) and Chang Beer bottles (brown).


Anyone who has ever tried to piece together recalcitrant materials into desired order will start to fathom the scope of the monks’ accomplishment.  Beyond the novelty of the material and the satisfying moral component of seeing something so complete made of something everyone throws away, the temple is simply beautiful though.   Buildings in America are made of heavily regulated prefabricated materials expressly created for crafting buildings…and yet so many new buildings here are appallingly heart-wrenchingly ugly.  Perhaps we could take some lessons from the monks not just in upcycling but also in imagination, patience, and craft.


Yet even if that isn’t going to happen, you can still contemplate the shadow side of Maha Chedio Kaew: in order for it to exist people drank one and a half million beers.  That is a moral lesson which the Frauenkirche simply does not offer.


Stilleven met tomaten (Henk Helmantel)

Stilleven met tomaten (Henk Helmantel)

Henk Helmantel is a contemporary Dutch still life painter who paints classical subjects in a traditional style realistic taken from the Dutch golden age.  He mostly paints fruit, bottles, and boxes (although occasionally he paints an animal or some snail shells).  Although Helmantel’s work is classically inspired, it does not seem to have the same allegorical underpinning that 17th century Dutch art had.  Instead the drama in the work is conveyed by the arrangement of the objects and their relationship to the space around them.  In this respect—in color, form, and context—the works are indeed modern.  The spare clean lines and delicate loveliness of plums, berries, and vessels is somehow reminiscent of abstract artists and contemporary Dutch architecture (even if the paintings are simultaneously so dissimilar from these schools).

Fles Berkemeyer en keukenattributen (Henk Helmantel, oil on panel)

Fles Berkemeyer en keukenattributen (Henk Helmantel, oil on panel)

Ye Olde Ferrebeekeeper Archives

February 2023