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The Port Townsend man making art from broken bottles

At Bottle Zone, owner Russ West displays thousands of bottles unearthed from all over the country. #k5evening

PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — When Russ West goes treasure hunting, he's not necessarily looking to unearth rare oddities worth a bunch of cash. He digs in search of something the majority of us would toss in the recycle bin: glass bottles.

"I'd rather have a whole bunch of bottles than money," West said.

Credit: KING 5
Russ West digs, buys, and sells glass bottles at Bottle Zone in Port Townsend.

He sells and stores his findings at his Port Townsend storefront, Bottle Zone. But a sign above the store reads another phrase.

"La-Bottle-Me. It's just a thought from the top of my head," West laughed. "I thought it was funny, so I did it." 

Inside the unique shop are thousands of glass bottles of all different shapes, sizes and colors.

"It's always exciting to dig up cobalt blue or emerald green or teal blue," he exclaimed.

If he comes across broken bottles, West keeps those, too. The broken pieces are poured into a concrete mixer to make them smooth. From there, he transforms the shards into art.

Credit: Russ West
Bottle art by Russ West

He knows his hobby may be odd to some, but hopes it can encourage others to do what they love — no matter how outside of the box it may be.

"Once you get a grasp on something that you learn about and feel like you're good at, you might as well just keep doing it. Just have fun with it."

RELATED: Fine art from beach trash

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