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Getting Creative with Corks!

Back in the summer of 2017, I decided to get experimental with a whole bunch of wine corks that I had sorted out of my typical reserve of used bottle caps. One thing I noticed was that the corks were much easier to modify, whether it be cutting them in half 'top to bottom' or cutting specific amounts off the ends to make the corks different heights (when sitting upright).


The idea popped into my head to try and use this to my advantage to replicate what it would look like the moment a drop of wine falls out of the bottle and drips into a wine glass. Since all of the corks had different shades of stain from the wine, I thought I could use this to play with the way the light reflects off of a liquid surface that is rippling outward. Combining the different shades of that beautifully rich wine stain with the ability to manipulate the 'heights' of the corks gave me the ability to capture this phenomenon in a 3-dimensional manner.


I found multiple photos of this ripple effect and used them to create my design - including metrics for both the 'height' of the corks and the shade of the light/dark reflections of the wine.



Then the fun part started...

First, I sorted all my corks into boxes by the darkness of stain that was on the bottom face of the cork; I had four boxes with dark, medium dark, medium light, and light stained corks. If the cork was from white wine, I put them all into one box. Then, using a sharp kitchen knife, I cut enough corks in half 'top to bottom' to create a frame around the edge of my 'canvas' (which is just a thin piece of plywood with 1 x 2 fastened to the back for strength). Working my way from the bottom of the mosaic to the top, I fastened each cork into place in rows with a pneumatic staple gun to firmly hold them into place. I had to cut approximately 90-95% of the corks as only the peaks of the ripples were full corks and all the valleys had to be cut to certain depths - if you will.


This was very tedious work, but after a few rows, I really got into the groove and it became quite meditative in a way. I somewhat lost myself in this macro version of what would typically occur within a wine glass-worth of space. 48 rows and roughly 1500 corks later, I had filled up the entire space.



Standing back and looking at it, I felt it was missing one crucial component - the wine droplet itself. I ended up using a hot glue gun to combine about 25 corks in a way that looked like a droplet being ejected back out of the wine ripple. I used a piece of a metal hanger to connect the droplet to the rest of the mosaic and it was finished!





This piece ended up being purchased along with two other custom bottle cap mosaic commissions (Albert Einstein and Jimi Hendrix) and now resides permanently in a workplace in St. Louis, Missouri, which is shared by a graphic design group and a trashcan liner company (how fitting!).


Check out the video below and my YouTube page, which I will be updating regularly as I complete my pieces!