My name is Heather Gabrielle Rogers (I go by Gabrielle) and I have dedicated myself to the fabrication of the unique art of ships in bottles. I have a Bachelors of Art degree from Bridgewater College, Virginia, USA, where I studied fine arts, and now live in work in Switzerland...
... Before I began working as a ship in bottle builder, I worked as a sign painter and boat letterer in Deltaville Virginia. I subsequently moved onto a sailboat with my husband, who is a boat builder, and we sailed the eastern coast of the United States, overwintered in the Bahamas, and extensively explored and visited numerous regions of the Chesapeake Bay on multiple cruises. These experiences exposed me to sailing vessels, the actual life on board a boat, and ultimately inspired me to begin producing my artwork. I have a great passion for the maritime world, its history, and conservation. Building ships in bottles allows me to preserve a part of its patrimony. Like model makers, I try to capture the reality of a ship in all it details, creating a miniature replica at the small scale. However, unlike static models, my ultimate desire is to capture the spirit and atmosphere of a real ship, actively navigating on a body of water. My ships in bottles are entirely built by hand out of various materials, and I spend a great deal of time researching and understanding how the vessels function. The hull is carved from a block of wood, the masts are turned from bamboo, and I incorporate as many details on the deck and throughout the rigging as possible. The sails are set in respect to the wind and sea conditions, and miniature figures are often added on board, bringing the vessel to life. In many cases, the ships and scenery are fabricated in multiple sections to pass through the neck of the bottle and reassembled inside. My goal is to capture a moment of time in the passage of a boat at sea, and I often incorporate, landmarks like lighthouses, birds flying overhead, buoys, and shorelines to create active scenes. I have produced nearly 100 different ships and scenes in bottle ranging from boats navigating alone, multiple vessels together, traditional working scenes, as well as scenes inspired from films and literature. I have created everything from tiny rafts, dinghies, sloops, schooners, square riggers, power boats, to mega yachts, both classic and modern. I produce custom ships in bottles for private customers, collectors, as well as companies for publicity purposes. When possible, I participate and demonstrate my work at local events and festivals, including JEMA within the canton of Vaud in 2015. I have had six articles published in Swiss newspapers, and was filmed for a television program called “Passe-moi les Jumelles,” which aired in April of 2016. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with other ship in bottle builders, and am a member of the Ship in Bottle Association in France, and ultimately find great pleasure in sharing my work and its method of fabrication with the public.