The Bullet Table Project
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks”
The Bullet Table concept originated from a death due to gun violence in the Lighthouse neighborhood in 2011. Plain and simple a bullet is created for the purpose of bringing death to something and when involving human interaction often also conveys “I have more power than you”, “This is the end of the discussion”, “This is the solution to my problem”. A table on the other hand is a place for sitting as equals, for breaking bread together, a place to work out our differences. Our prayer is that the irony found in the makeup of this table shakes people into action!
In Isaiah and Micah we find scripture telling of a day when the kingdom is fully here where we will beat weapons of violence into things that are helpful and good. The table also serves as a reminder for the church to do its job. If we are truly to be a foretaste of the coming Kingdom of God then we must be committed to the work of taking the broken things of this world, seeing the potential for beauty within them, and then do the hard work of creating something beautiful and winsome.
We would like to thank Michele Waalkes for putting her heart, soul, and sweat into the creation of this piece. Without her heart behind the project, it would not speak and challenge people in the way that it so powerfully does. We also thank the Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA for approving our grant request for the project. Your commitment to and the putting of dollars behind efforts to “bear witness” allowed this project to move forward.
The Bullet Table with all of the bullet casings caulked in place and ready for the resin to be poured. The table is 5’ across and weighs almost 550 pounds. The bullets rest on a painted plexiglass surface. The base, table supports, and ring are made from steel.
Artist Michele Waalkes putting the finishing touches on the resin. The heat from the torch causes the air bubbles to rise out of the resin. She poured all seven layers of resin in a heated tent inside our warehouse to control the temperature and dust!
Here is a close-up of the center of the flower.
The table sits on the patio, outside our office door accessible to the public. Future plans are to place a kiosk of some sort for people to share stories of how violence has affected their lives and the ways they have worked to create something beautiful out of the brokenness…
Here is some of the bullet-art the kids have created. We take them through a devotional going over the Bullet Table and what it stands for and then challenge them to reflect on how violence has affected their lives and to consider taking something ugly and broken (bullets meant to take life) and make something beautiful from it.