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1131 W 11th St. Port Angeles
Company name: Bottleworks451 Recycled Materials Art
Facebook Page: Bottleworks451 Recycled Art
My name is Christopher Allen, and I moved to Santa Cruz in 1996 to attend UCSC. After graduating, I spent the next 13 years working in the education system as a substitute, private tutor, classroom teacher, and finally vice-principal at a private school. While I enjoyed working with children, the job became far too demanding, and in 2013 I began a new phase of my life.
While I have always been ‘artistic’ it was at this time that I began actually making art.
Inspired by the natural surroundings of Santa Cruz, particularly the ocean and the forest, (as well
as free piles around town and the Craigslist Free section), I was drawn to make things with
recycled materials. Beginning with bottles, I began incorporating all kinds of materials,
including electrical wiring, salvaged fencing and barn wood, barbed wire, bicycle parts,
corrugated metal, and electronic circuitry.
I love the idea of making art with things that would otherwise be thrown away or just lay around
unused, as well as the juxtaposition of the natural world made with industrial, man-made
materials. Art is Everywhere!
I moved to Washington in 2017, and currently reside in Port Angeles. My work can be viewed
on my website at www.bottleworks451.com
More about me:
I use recycled, found, salvaged, and vintage materials to create 2-D and 3-D works of art,
usually representing the natural world. My first inspiration to work with recycled and found
materials came about 10 years ago, from a giant free pile I came across. There was a big box of
really cool faceted goblets from the 70’s, and I immediately thought how great they would look
hanging outside with votive candles lighting them from the inside. From there, I developed my
technique of wire-wrapping bottles in such a way that they could be hung from one another in a
chain, and then hung together like a curtain. At the time it was primarily a hobby; it wasn’t until
I got laid off from my job as an English teacher that I had the time to actually develop a style. I
realized that recycled materials were ubiquitous and cheap, if not free. The environmentally
friendly aspect of it appealed to me, as well as the ‘clever’ ways that things could be used to
represent other things (fish made with paint brushes, waves made with bike chain) and made
people think about the materials and what they were representing in relation to each other. It was
also helpful that I lived in an area (Santa Cruz) that really appreciated the recycled nature of the
work, and had people that wanted to buy them. As I was able to find sources for materials, I
began incorporating wire, scrap wood, electronic components, glass, scrap metal, and the detritus
other artists and companies produced when making their pieces.
I received no formal education in art beyond any high school classes I took. However, I
was exposed to art in many forms from a very early age (my mom was a stained glass artist for a
while when I was young, and I always loved going to museums and galleries). I got my sense of
style, which I would define as a mix between whimsical and industrial) from a number of
pop-culture inspirations, including (but by no means limited to) the works of Dr. Suess, animated
tv shows and movies, and artists such and Van Gogh, Dali, Warhol. I drew inspiration from the
natural world, especially the forest and the ocean (no surprise considering where I lived).
While I continue to teach in a part-time and substitute capacity, I work primarily as an
artist. Before the pandemic, I was just beginning to emerge in the art festival scene, in Santa
Cruz and after moving up to Washington in 2017. I currently teach a weekly Zoom art class for
the organization Clallam Mosaic, which serves adults with special needs. I have work for sale at
the 1 of a Kind Gallery in Port Angeles, as well as a few commercial locations in the Puget
Sound/Olympic Peninsula region.
I support the local art scene as best I am able, primarily by
buying other artist’s work. I hope to participate in any local art festivals as they are able.