Ships in Bottles

Paul has been living in Towamba since 2005. He developed an interest in a dying craft "Ships in Bottles".

All the ships in bottles were pretty ordinary to him so he made his more elaborate models. He had to send to England for a book about the technique because there was nothing in Australia. He then sat down and taught himself.

Scale drawings of the ships need to be reproduced to a smaller scale to fit in the bottle. Some technical drawing skills are needed, small jewellers drills and very good plasticine, which is made in Germany. It has to stay soft because the ship might have to be removed and then fixed back into place. These ships are made out of scrap timber, bamboo skewers, tooth picks and paper.

His first ship was a gaff rigged schooner. He has also carved a whale and a ship's wheel. The Ariel took Paul 50 hours to make and place in the bottle. (See photo)


          Ariel without sails                      Ariel with sails                      Ariel finished with carved whale and ships wheel

Sailors usually made these model ships at sea and had very little room to keep them. Placing them in a bottle made it easier to keep and they were usually a replica of the ship they were working on.
It is tricky when placing ships in a bottle because if the rigging folds over it is ruined and you need to start again.

       Paul's model of the Cutty Sark                  A small model made just for fun                                
If you are interested in learning to make a ship in a bottle then ring Clare at the Access Centre 64963970.