Catch Up: Catching Lightning in a Bottle

I pulled up some dandelion weeds along the street to use their sturdy roots to grow through the roof of the mouse's house. I stuck them in a glass jar for safe keeping and thought they looked really interesting (left). Somehow I got onto the idea of having "lightning in a bottle" on the shelf in Rana's kitchen.

It's an old expression which loosely means doing the impossible, like catching Lightning in a bottle. At first I thought of printing out an image of a lightning strike onto a sheet of acetate, rolling it up to slip down the bottle's neck and there be unfurled with long tweezers, etc. But the effect didn't read properly. There wasn't clearly an actual lightning strike in there when I tried that. Then I thought of the roots...

I painted them pure stark white. They were flexible enough to slip down and durable enough to keep all the fine veining attached. I added a stormy gray wool cap and a focused balloon up light.

Here's a faint faraway test of how it looks when the little light is flashed quickly underneath the painted roots in the bottle. Please cue your own thunder sound effects in your head while watching the storm in the upper right hand side, thank you...


  1. Hi Shelley,
    for whatever reason I can't watch your video, it's all black...

    But I like the idea of a caught lighting in a bottle, because that's exactly what you do with your halfland project: making the (obviously) impossible possible...

    And your Guest Artist Crew (in Caps, of course!) is lovely to watch! You're absolutely lucky to be supported like this! Especially since animators often are lone riders... ;)

  2. Seems a lot has been going on while I've been away! Glad these ladies are getting you working ;) Love the marching ants and frog by the way. The wallpaper is clever, rather grannyish which I think fits in with rana!

  3. Hi Jessica, I think you saw the video properly--it's all black except for a little flicker occasionally in the upper right hand area. I don't know why I couldn't closer, I think I was hoping to zoom in on it in iMovie, but that wouldn't launch last night.

    Thanks yes, lightning in a bottle for sure here. I like the idea of all storms being like a spice bottle on Rana's shelf.

    And amen on the crew, whew, so lucky!

    Right again, Ben! You always get what's going on over here exactly. Wait ti you see the 20!!!! posts I've got ready to upload!! Wow!

  4. Brilliant!

    I love how plants mirror themselves - the roots to the branches, and the form to lighting - fractals rule! Beautiful use of the roots, I love the world you're creating.

  5. Thank, Emmy! ME TOO! I love how everything is reflected in everything else, veins of all kinds, tree branches, vessels in our lungs. Or clouds in our atmosphere and in the cosmos, and in my coffee. Nature is sublime!

  6. Jessica Koppe10:56 PM

    Ah, sorry, now I saw it! It's really iny! ;) Did it work within the props?

  7. that test was in the back of a cabinet where it was dark. I figure once on the set's kitchen shelf, the bottle will have to be rigged with an up-light with a remote switch to animate the flicker.

  8. Anonymous12:24 PM

    Genius!! I love the way you see things!
    And I love the idea of lightening in a bottle, makes me think of warm evenings catching lightening bugs then letting them go and big crashing summer thunder storms. I wonder if you can bottle that heavy sulfur and grass scent?

  9. m_) nice little tiny spooky light there you got.

  10. Oknowwww,,"that" is a kewl idea,,it will add an amazing effect to the film.Dang girl...

  11. Mmmmmmmm, nice poetry, Peggy.

    Thanks, Dan-o

    Thanks, Hon!


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