Sunday, October 12, 2014

On the Amazing Beauty of Ordinary Things

Have you considered lately, the extraordinary loveliness of everyday household things?

This morning I am appreciating a green bottle. It is dark olive green, about 9 1/2 inches high, squarish but tapering at the top. Until recently it held 750 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil.

Now, stripped of its labels front, back and top, the design pressed into the glass stands out. In a fan shaped window topping all four rectangular sides, the tip of a branch bearing three olives and two leaves bears mute testimony to the purpose of the bottle. At the bottom of all four rectangular sides, within a narrow recess wrapped around the bottle, the letters S T A R are pressed onto an arch decorated with a point to each side. Mysterious letters and numbers raised on what, if it were a column, would be the footing, complete the visible raised glass symbols. On one side is "75 cl 3 51m".

Clockwise around the next side are two large dots in a column, an s under a small dot followed by two small dots in a column, followed by a diamond with a dot at the apex, followed by a high dot, a low dot, and 18. Is this braille? But we are not finished with the raised design. Tip the bottle over and examine the bottom - squarish with a slightly concave center. Raised bars, 3/8 inches long and all tilted left, thirteen to a row, march around the four squarish sides of the bottle. Are they to keep the bottle from slipping should you spill the oil?

Perhaps the 52 tilted bars have a practical purpose, but slide your thumb around them. Does the sensation linger after you stop? Study the bottle from the bottom, and see it is not really a square, but an octagon, with four long sides and four (the corners) short sides.

Lastly, the top - a small, green metal cap, with "FRESH PRESSED SINCE 1898" stamped in gold around it. But consider the sum of the parts - the entire bottle, so green, fitting so well into the hand. It is made simply to hold olive oil, be emptied, and be discarded.



No, it deserves a second life, this work of everyday art which countless designers and fabricators have designed, engineered and produced. It may be the perfect vase for the late blooming gladiolas on our deck. They are budding, and will bloom just before the cold shuts them down. Meanwhile, the olive green bottle sits on my desk, reminding me of the complexity, beauty, utility and value of ordinary things and ordinary people.

1 comment:

GoldiBear said...

I love this blog, PandaBaby!