CHEK Upside: Victoria woman transforms empty liquor bottles into works of art

WatchWhen Christie Norman's job as a ballet teacher took a hit due to the pandemic, she picked up a brush and turned a one-time hobby into a booming business.

It’s delivery day and Christie Norman is eager to add to her collection.

“Oh my goodness, thank you so much,” said Norman, as a neighbor dropped off empty liquor bottles to her front door.

Norman then walks the bottles to her garage.

“Welcome to the abyss,” said Norman as she unveils a seemingly endless supply of empty bottles.

To the untrained eye, these are nothing more than stacks of empty bottles, but to Norman, a ‘2-6’ of whiskey or a cabernet could be her next canvas.

Norman is a bottle artist.

It’s a hobby she’s dabbled at for quite some time, but when the pandemic hit and her normal life as a ballet teacher/pianist accompanist came to a sudden halt, Norman went all-in on painting bottles.

“When all social things shut down, it was like, okay, this is really fun to do and I really loved it,” said the mother of two. “It’s relaxing and it’s really enjoyable.”

Although she had no intention of becoming a full-time artist, Norman’s bottles quickly became a hit at local markets in the summer, around the same time she launched her own business website.

“As interest grew and people liked it outside of family and friends, that was really exciting,” said Norman. “I sold maybe thirty to forty before April, and then I’ve now sold five hundred and fifty.”

She’s received orders from all over Canada, and even as far as Florida. She’s also had little trouble finding bottles, with local restaurants, distilleries, friends and neighbors happily offering what they can spare.

For Norman it’s been a fun, therapeutic and meaningful journey.

“I love the idea of being lit within, so for me, the bottles with the lights that light up really work towards my philosophy of life”

And in these tough times, she recommends people find their own version of bottle art, a path she plans to follow well beyond the pandemic.

“It’s really meditative sometimes you just get in a zone and it’s really enjoyable.”

To view Norman’s bottles and to make a purchase, click here.

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Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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