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Students at the Chisholm Trail Arts Council’s Arts Explosion have spent this week learning how to make “glass” flowers by recycling plastic bottles.
Joy Quiggley, an Empire native now living in Eureka Springs, Ark., became part of the CTAC camp staff to teach a mixed medium class. First Bank & Trust, as well as National Junior Honor Society members Katy and Kara Whitt, collected and donated more than 250 plastic water bottles for the project.
“We’re using a theme inspired by glass artist Dave Chihuly and it’s a recycling lesson as well,” said Quiggley. “I’ve used this idea in my middle school classes and they enjoy it.”
From the look of it, the Arts Explosion students seemed to have a fun time with the project as well, said Darcy Reeves, CTAC executive director.
“When they started to paint the bottles, they kind of questioned it,” she said. “Once they got going, they really got into it.”
Students spent the first couple of days painting the outside of their bottles with acrylic and tempera paints in various colors and designs of their choosing. They also painted a cardboard base.
Wednesday, time was spent cutting off the bottoms of the bottles, then cutting the bottle to their tops in strips, keeping it all connected at the cap. From there, Quiggley instructed the young people to crimp, curl and/or cut their strips to look the way they wanted.
The “flowers” were then hot-glued to the base.
Some students glued a flower within a flower or used the bottom of the their bottle to create additional adornments. With the shiny part of the bottle on the upside and the paint downward, the flowers did, indeed, give off a glass sheen.
“I like this class and it’s probably one of my favorites,” said Julianna Shoemaker, a soon-to-be fourth grader at Horace Mann Elementary. “I’ve never done anything like this and I’m enjoying it.”