Bottled History by Smith Journal

Bottled History by Smith Journal 1

A few days ago Smith Journal released a new video on their website and I couldn’t pass up the chance to showcase it here, there’s some fantastic up-close imagery and you get a sense of the making process. Plus, it only seemed natural after we showcased their last video on Rohan Anderson’s Smokehouse, both are well thought out and nicely directed. They’re also on totally different subjects, which is nice to see as you often find the same theme floating around a lot on the web.

I’ve always been fascinated by how they make miniature ship models that are placed inside glass bottles of varying sizes. There’s quite a mystique to it all. How do they do it you may ask? Well, after researching a little, and watching this video below, it seems like they measure using a pair of callipers to get the exact width of the bottle neck for the main body of the ship to fit in. They then rig up the masts in such a way that they can fold down completely flat against the main body, the ship can then be slid inside and the masts opened up using a long tool to pry at the string. As you’ll see in this video it’s a very fiddly job that requires a steady hand and a lot of concentration, I’ve got a lot of respect for Ray Gascoigne who’s the man and maker featured in this video.

Ray is a Sydney-based ship builder who has been around boats his whole life as a shipwright and merchant seaman, and now builds intricate boats in a bottle. Ray’s story is a humble one at that, and his boats definitely deserve to be highlighted in such a way, they’re certainly works of art in their own right. Ray’s full story is documented in Smith’s newest publication volume six, which is on shelves in Australia right now. You can also purchase a copy on their website that I’ve linked to below. Hopefully you get inspired by this and you’ll appreciate the creativity that Ray is bringing to the table, quite literally. For now you can enjoy the short film below that gives you a rounded overview of his work and passion. Enjoy!

smithjournal.com.au commonerfilms.com.au