On my way back home from Seattle, I was heading towards the S Gates in the Seattle Tacoma International Airport and I had to take the inter-terminal train. I took the escalator down and as I was approaching the portal, there it was – a display of three capsules, full of incredible display of ships in a bottle! At first I was taken aback, simply because it was unexpected, and then I quickly looked at my watch. I still had 2 hours till the gate closed, and I instantly decided to spend some time for one last miniature indulgence before a 22-hour flight.
The collection is that of Jeff Simmons. I cannot claim that I heard the name before but you don’t necessarily need to know a name to know a person’s creation – more often than not, a person’s creation stamps that name in your mind, just like I would know Jeff Simmons anytime you ask me about him! I also cannot claim that I am properly initiated in the art of ship in a bottle, but I do believe that I have a superior awareness of art in general, and those in miniature in particular, so it took those tiny ships a fraction of a moment to draw me in. Also, don’t forget those ships were inside bottles that were once full of lovely spirits! There is only so much a man can resist!
The exhibit displays the modern techniques of the art of making ship in a bottle as incorporated by Jeff, clearly displaying the stages of pre-preparations before the ship is put inside the bottle with it’s masts folded. The display is a crash course of the craft along with the display of some impressive models, often complete with a scenery of landscape, lighthouse etc. You can navigate the flickr album below to access the photographs.
The display also shows various components used in the trade – the one piece wooden hulls as the base, various scenery materials like light houses, port details etc. It also shows various types of threads used in a typical ship in a bottle.
For the uninitiated, but intrigued and interested individual life me, there could not be a better introduction than this display. Given I make various forms of miniatures myself, and I have a strong interest towards sailing ship, I do see myself doing this in future, and Jeff Simmons work would definitely be the first true inspiration for me to start with this wonderful art.