Milk bottles have long been recycled, even before it was expected or regarded as cool. The milk man has been delivering milk to homes for decades -- dropping off full bottles and taking the empties. Just this fact in itself makes milk bottles intriguing to me. They have been reused over and over while other glass bottles have just been trashed.
Charlotte Hughes-Martin has taken this recycling of milk bottles to a whole new level -- one of upcycling the milk bottles into works of art. Her milk bottle project started off more as a social experiment done for her own amusement more than anything else.
Charlotte's goal was simply to see what would happen. She randomly placed her engraved milk bottles onto doorsteps mixed in with other ordinary milk bottles. She wondered what people would do with the bottles, what the milk man would think and if she would be able to change people's perceptions of "art" and "non art".
Her imaginative engravings have done much more than bring a smile to the face of people finding it. Some people have adored and treasured her upcycled milk bottle art so much that they brought it into their homes and placed it into their china cabinet next to the Christmas china and crystal bowls. The juxtaposition of the common milk bottle among people's treasures is a classic image of what can be done with upcycling. The idea of taking something without value and making it into a treasure. She has even had a showing and sale of just engraved milk bottles. This product has really put her on the international map!
Charlotte had no idea of how big her funny idea of randomly placing art could get. The media dubbed her the milk bottle banksy before she admitted that she was the artist. She was nick-named after the famous graffiti artist - Banksy - who's identity is largely unknown. I'd like to think of Charlotte as more of an environmental grafitti artist. An artist who's work has captured the imagination of the world and hopefully captured their minds as well. The line between what is trash and what is treasure is a very thin line. Saving the world may depend on tiny changes in the perceptions of many people.