August 13, 2012

Printing Reflectance Functions

(via BoingBoing, then the University of Santa Cruz website and finally to the Printing Reflectance Functions webpage)

An experimental process where a 3D object is scanned in a special manner and printed on special dimpled paper, allowing for a unique 3D illusion, where the 3D effect reacts to a live light source.
All very scientific and researchy, as it's from a paper presented at SIGGRAPH 2012, but could it have any application to flat glass art? Maybe not, but interesting to think about it. How might this work if the light is at least partially transmitted, rather than just reflected? How might some degree of translucency alter the effect, perhaps even enhance it?

Posted by Tom at 11:39 AM

July 07, 2011

East Window at Eldridge Street Museum Video

Today is new video day.
A new video about the Kiki Smith East Window at The Eldridge Street Museum.

and another called "A Landmark Restoration", which deals partly with the restoration of the other stained glass at the museum.

Posted by Tom at 11:36 AM

June 08, 2011

Stained Glass Art Car

I first heard about art cars when I saw the documentary Wild Wheels, which shows an amazing array of art cars and their owners.

I like art cars, though I don't know why. I've never created an art car, and I'm not much of a car person in general. I haven't even seen that many actual art cars, mainly seeing videos and photos of them. I do have fantasies of someday going to the big Houston Art Car Parade. Maybe some day.

Trailer for Wild Wheels (1992)

So, what does that have to do with stained glass?

Not much, but I did come across a Flickr set that shows a stained glass art car. I've not seen the car in person, nor have I seen any video of it, and I know nothing of the backstory. Still, the pictures on Flickr show a VW Bug covered with a genuine stained glass mosaic and it looks very nice indeed, and I think that's pretty cool.

From Flickrite "Look" - Stained Glass VW

2 videos below the fold, both featuring Harrod Blank, the filmmaker who made Wild Wheels. One is a trailer for Blank's more recent film documentary about art cars, Automorphosous, and the other video is a 28 minute interview with Harrod Blank.

Trailer for Automorphosous -

"What's Up Wit' That? - Art Cars" from YouTube channel KMVT

Posted by Tom at 10:45 AM

December 05, 2010

Eldridge Street Stained Glass on CBS Sunday Morning

Short segment on the Eldridge Street Museum stained glass window -

Posted by Tom at 12:05 PM

September 19, 2010

Judith Schaechter - Eastern State Penitentiary

Judith Schaechter is fundraising for a project making stained glass for the Eastern State Penitentiary. The site and the project seem ideal for Judith and I've no doubt she will raise the money. [update Tuesday Sept 21, 2010 - it was only announced last week and she is just about to the reach the $5,000 goal for successful minimum amount. Congratulations, Judith!]
If you haven't heard of it before, this is the first example I have seen for stained glass being funded in part by 'crowd fundraising'. The idea is that you set an amount that you wish to raise, then you make a video to explain the project, then set target amounts with what the donor gets if the project is funded. The kicker is that if you do not reach the minimum funding amount the whole thing just fails to happen and no one loses their money. If the fund limit is reached then the funding agency takes a small percentage. The first crowd fundraiser I heard of is Kickstarter.
I have not seen any stained glass projects on Kickstarter.

I was aware of Project Site from another project, a rather curious one where a comic artist raised money to create a giant steel dip pen. It was funded. To do a project on Project Site you have to be affiliated with a group called United States Artists.

Posted by Tom at 11:22 AM

February 13, 2010

Secular Window Saturday - Cappy Thompson Library Window

This from flickrite "Library Development @ Washington State Library", an image of the Stained glass @ The Evergreen State College Library - Olympia WA, by Cappy Thompson.

Click on the link or image to see a high resolution 'Zoomified' version of the Cappy Thompson Evergreen Library window.


Posted by Tom at 05:02 PM

September 15, 2009

Erawan Museum, Thailand

I'd heard of this building a few months ago, but the website at the time was pretty weak and I couldn't find images or info that justified a blog post. Amazing how things change in a few months.

The Erawan Museum, near Bangkok, Thailand, is a truly unique contemporary building, and stained glass does figure in as a prominent feature.

Go look at the full and amazing hiresolution shots by flickrite AmpamukA

A shot seeing more of the interior with the glass -
via flickrite weeviraporn, who also has a nice flickr set on the Erawan Museum.

A detail showing the figural style of the stained glass. The details throughout the building look incredible.
I must admit that I'm not sure that the loose figural style really fits in with the rest of the building, in my opinion. The windows were designed by the late German artist Jakob Schwarzkopf (1926-2001), who was 73 when he got the commission.

Now, the big question, if you haven't already gone to look - what kind of building is this contained in?

A giant three-headed elephant building, of course. I don't quite know how it's done, but the big bronze elephant is basically standing on the stained glass dome.
via flickrite binder.donedat

The official Erawan Museum website gives a good amount of the back story. There is also an article in ThaiAsiaToday called Heavan's Above! that's gives further detail.
[update April 4, 2011 - new link re: Erawan Museum - PanoramicViews of Erawan Museum]

Posted by Tom at 07:40 AM

August 19, 2009

Postmodern Grisaille at Nevers Cathedral

Nice Flickrset by michalska of windows from Nevers Cathedral, designed by Jean-Michel Alberola and fabricated at Ateliers Duchemin. No date given but I would guess early to mid 1990's.


and a closer look

The overall idea is to play around with the idea of the ancient grisaille windows.

To get some context, here are some image of older grisaille windows -
Grisaille Panels
France, Normandy, Rouen, about 1265
from flickrite peterjr1961
These glass panels may have originally decorated one of the chapels of the Chareau de Bouvreuil, which was built by King Philip Augustus and expanded by his grandson Louis IX.

Grisaille sections of fourteenth-century French stained glass windows, now in the Cloisters, New York City.
from flickrite loopweaver

A more recent example of grisaille -
'Veritas' from the Virtues window
MacDonald/MacPherson, 1874
Memorial Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge Mass. USA

Posted by Tom at 11:08 AM

March 08, 2009

Cosmovitral, Toluca

Another instance of finding out about a big contemporary work of stained glass from internet sources like YouTube and Flickr, and not from traditional media like magazines or newspapers.

The filmmaking is pure shaky, blurry touristy stuff. What comes across is that this is a big, big commission, some 3,000 square meters of glass... and I'd never heard of it before.

I came across this YouTube video just a few days ago -
Turns out it's the Cosmovitral, in Toluca, just west of Mexico City, Mexico (wikipedia entry for Cosmovitral).

As usual, the next stop was Flickr and as usual I found lots of images, including this of the Sun Man...

All subsequent photos are courtesy of Lucy Nieto's Cosmovitral Flickrset. Not much commentary (busy times), but another video (in spanish) and lots of 'lucy nieto' photos below the fold...

longer video with Spanish commentary

First observation - lots of abstracted birds
and some birds meld in with figures
and then become more and more figures
and more figures
and closer
and close-up of feet
and figures swirling in a vortex
and a closeup of the hands

and long again
and just a little closer
and again
and there are nice shots of the framing metalwork
and this or the sun man area
and this
and finally, photos of the central image the sun man - from longest
and just place long
and closer

Posted by Tom at 10:53 AM

January 09, 2009

Richter Cologne Windows Up Close

Check out the newly posted images of the Gerhard Richter Cologne Window - up close!


From the always resourceful Aidan McRae Thomson Flickr Photostream.

Posted by Tom at 03:20 PM

July 31, 2008

When Blogs and Stained Glass collide

This blog entry called When Geeks and Stained Glass Collide has generated some buzz in the blogosphere in the past few days. It's interesting if only to see that there are people out there looking for non-photoshopped unusual stained glass. Also interesting to see the Gerhard Richter Cologne Cathedral window lumped in with a stained glass depiction of Spiderman.

Posted by Tom at 06:27 AM

November 23, 2007

Talking Tour with Judith Schaechter

No, not me talking with Judith - but a very interesting talk and tour with Judith Schaechter on Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof's Artblog.

The interview is in 2 parts - part 1 covers the basics of her work, house and studio while part 2 covers some of her work with 3D computer art and animation... and, of course, her cats.

Also, do check out the photos in the Flickr set of the visit.

Posted by Tom at 12:06 PM

September 28, 2007

My Coney Island Baby

I recently came upon some images on the web of an installation called "My Coney Island Baby", completed in 2004. It's located at the Stillwell Avenue Subway Terminal, which is, appropriately enough, the subway stop for Coney Island in New York City.


Another new direction in stained glass? or just a curiousity?
You decide.

To put the installation in context, the detail above is part of a 300 foot long 17 foot high wall made of some 4,250 3" thick glass blocks. All the images are related to different amusement park attractions at Coney Island.

I've never been to Coney Island so I can't identify the specific images and what they represent. For instance, I believe this depicts part of the roller coaster known as 'The Cyclone', but I only surmise this from what I've read and seen on the web.
(photo by Robbie Rosenfeld)

..and I do not know what this is, other than maybe a sideshow attraction of some kind, though what specific one I've no idea.

I do know that Coney Island is famous for its hot dogs, hence the 12 foot long hot dog.

Designed by Robert Wilson, the theatre designer and director who is most famous for his collaboration with the composer Philip Glass on the Opera Einstein on the Beach. The Coney Island installation is most likely Wilson's only work that can in any way be described as 'stained glass', though he's done much 'installation art'. I was actually a little surprised to see that he designed it. I tend to associate him with a colder and more serious aesthetic. 'My Coney Island Baby' seems a bit on the light and whimsical side for him.

There are some nice big images and more 'in context' shots on this webpage by Christian Wassman, who collaborated on the piece.

Seemingly, there were many hands on this project. The images were screenprinted by Mayer of Munich in Germany, with the image sandwiched between two 1 ½ thick glass blocks to make the 3" glass blocks.

There is a description of the technical process from PittsburghCorning in this Case Study. Granted, the article is mainly plugging Pittsburgh Corning’s VISTABRIK® glass blocks that were used in the wall, but the process is described in enough detail to be an interesting read.

I found another technically based article which is more focused on the company who apparently put it all together, Glass Block of America.

There is a mention of the project on Glass block's website, but it's the exact same text of the case study as was used by the VISTABRIK® people.

Curiously, there is also an "art window" section of Glass Block's website which seems to use the same (or similar) technology tailored for smaller commissions. Unfortunately, the generic designs they use to promote this idea are pretty tame and lame.

Posted by Tom at 12:35 PM

September 04, 2007

One Richter Reaction

Brief but interesting article in the London Times on an alleged Cologne Cathedral Controversy. I must say that I don't see it as much of a controversy seeing that the allegation of the Richter design as feeding into some kind of Islamic influence is just nonsense. The abstraction of late 20th century modernism, at least Richter's variant of it with its emphasis on randomness and chaos, is nothing akin to Islamic art with its emphasis on the precise and orderly use of ornamentation and calligraphy to convey a clear and rational, if non-figural, view of the world. Both may be 'abstract', but their views of the world are... well... worlds apart.

Posted by Tom at 07:57 PM

July 29, 2007

the bnw of sg

That is... the Brave New World of Stained Glass.


Two architectural glass projects with an eye to the future.

On the left, the south transept window by Gerhart Richter for Cologne Cathedral, in Cologne, Germany.

On the right, the new building by Neutelings Riedijk Architects for the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum, The Netherlands.

Gerhard Richter Window at Cologne Cathedral

It's not often you see an article about stained glass in WIRED magazine. Such is the case with the new window designed by Gerhard Richter for Cologne Cathedral.

Why in WIRED? Wired points out that 4096, the name of the painting on which the window is based, is also the number of 'web-smart' colors. So, we have computer types geeking out on numerical coincidence. Nevertheless, there is something distinctly 'computery' about the look of the design.

Why? To my eyes, it's because it looks so much like an image of random pixels on a computer screen; and interesting seeing that the painting was created in 1974, before the invention of personal computers or programs like photoshop.

This is the original Richter painting from 1974 called 4096, featuring a grid of 64 x 64 squares and, presumably, 4,096 distinct colors.

This image was made by taking a random image and putting the 'noise' filter on it in photoshop, then zooming in tight. Aside from the color palette being more skewed toward magenta than red, I think the resemblance is striking.

The Cologne window is constructed of 11,500 pieces of glass in approimately 4 inch squares, chosen from 72 colors. Looking at this page (in German), it would appear to be constructed without leadlines, most likely with some form of lamination. I'll update if I find more info on this.


I also came across a flickr page with a tantalizing close up of the window, but no info. Also, another article, in German.

[update- August 28, 2007 - An article stating that the Cologne Cathedral window was officially unveiled on Saturday, August 25, 2007. There is a photo gallery, though the article does not mention any additional technical details about method of construction.]

[update August 29, 2007 - a page containing a link to a hi res image]

The Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision

I suppose that it was only a matter of time before the glass curtain wall became the stained glass curtain wall.

nice photos by Iwan Baan


and an interior view -

More on the Netherlands Institute here and here, as well as a New York Times review of the Museum of Sound and Vision

The architects worked with the graphic designer Jaap Drupsteen who refers to it only as NIBG, short for Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid.

This is the only detail I could find of the imagery that is shaped into the cast glass panels. The images apparently relate to Netherlandish media over the decades as Hilversum is the center for television production in the Netherlands.

Again, photo by Iwan Baan

On top of this, there is this very interesting interior wall with more photographic imagery. I assume this was done with a light acid etch or sandblast.

Finally, this image from the flickr set 'NIBG' by michelicto makes it clear that the glass was manufactured at St. Gobain.


Posted by Tom at 05:52 AM

July 10, 2007

Recent Bottle Walls on Flickr

Curious that there seems to be more and more bottle walls and bottle houses popping up on the web, especially on Flickr. All these are from Flickr and all were posted in the past 3-4 months -

anonymous close up

First of all, a few sites I'd heard of but never found images for -

Pioneertown, CA

this is at Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace (though no mention of the bottle walls on their website)




Calico House

The Ghost Town in Calico, California. I'd seen a few images of this house before but not in such a wide range of angles.






Prince Edward Island

I'd heard of these three bottle houses on Prince Edward Island Canada by Edouard Arsenault before but, again, I simply hadn't stumbled upon quite so many images before... and you get many more images with a Flickr search of Prince Edward Island Bottle. These are just a few recent images...




Earthship house

Part of a set from a couple building their won earthsip house in New Mexico.

UK Bottle Dome

outside of the roof of the bottle dome in the waste and recycling zone of the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales -



The New Zealand Bottle Wall Thing

Why New Zealand as the new vanguard of bottle wall/house creation? Is it the remoteness?, the eccentricity of the populace?, a 'green' revolution?, or the Hundertwasser influence? - or some combination of all? In any case, there seems to be a great deal of bottle wall activity happening in New Zealand.

Wellington New Zealand Bottle House




The Hundertwasser influence in New Zealand

A New Zealand art studio with a small bottle wall in the style of Hundertwasser.




Another New Zealand Hundertwasser style small bottle wall.



Carlucci Land -
Detail photos of a bottle wall in New Zealand at Carlucci Land, a sculpture park in Wellington.



finally -
the New Zealand Composting Toilet
doubly inspired by Hundertwasser...


Posted by Tom at 06:15 PM

April 10, 2007

Flickring Stained Glass Portraits

I've done my fair share of portraits in stained glass and I wonder sometimes how others treat the same idea in stained glass. So - call in my friend Flickr.

These are all gathered from one search on one evening on Flickr using the words 'stained glass portrait'. I was a little suprised that there were only 238 results but I guess the search was too specific. I presume more results would come from 'stained glass head' or 'stained glass face'. Most of the images were not so much of stained glass, but portraits of real people in proximity to stained glass. Still, the search, as always on Flickr, yielded some interesting and surprising results regarding actual stained glass.

mostly pictures...


This is a stained glass panel from a cemetery in Montmartre, Paris. I'm not sure if the technique used was an actual photographic positive put into a stained glass window or a process using decals or some such method to make a more permanent adhesion to the glass. Most of the attempts to include actual photographic plates into stained glass failed because the photographic chemicals could not hold up over time in the constant transmitted light.

Another cemetery picture - also in Paris (city of beautiful cemeteries), at Pere LaChaise. I've been there. It is an amazing place, and not just because of Jim Morrison.

These are a few portrait details from Queen's College at Oxford.
Charles 2

Catherine of Braganza

Henry the 4th

Gresham Palace, Budapest, Hungary
and who was Kossuth Lajos?

All Saints, Upper Sheringham, Norfolk
Unusually for Flickr, this page has a great deal of information about the church, location and window. The portrait is of "the daughter of Henry and Caroline Upcher and the grand-daughter of Abbot Upcher. The family were great benefactors to the church."

The Flickr page showing these unusual windows, depicting 23 Victorian gentlemen displaying a dazzling diversity of facial hair styles, suggests that it's located in the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, Scotland; but there is no sign of it on the Portrait Gallery website.

This is at the Ishiya Chocolate Factory in Sapporo, Japan.
The panel "depicts some of the famous people connected with chocolate, such as Napoleon, Columbus and Goethe." Who knew?

Not something I ever expected to see in stained glass portraiture -
Fidel Castro - located at the John Hardman Studio, but could find no info...

This also was unexpected -
Portrait Bra by Mimi Lipson

Stained-glass portrait of Martin Luther - Hauptkirche St. Michaelis 
This one was also tagged 'creepy'.

Samuel Johnson - the caption being "In a piece of stained glass at the good doctor's house in Gough Square, just off Fleet Street, London"

A rather mystical portrait of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Not strictly a 'portrait', of course, but a striking image nonetheless -

The Moor's Head Inn, or something like that... from a pub, anyway.
I like the simplicity of this one. I do wonder if it's based on a real person.

Posted by Tom at 12:29 AM

March 25, 2007

The Bottle Wall, revisited

I received so many positive responses to the Bottle Wall piece that I thought I would do a brief follow up.

Starting with this amazing photo of the artist Charles Stagg in his home in Vidor, Texas.
Photo credit to 'Scott Eslinger/The Enterprise July 31, 2005'

Individual Bottle Houses

Charles Stagg's 'A.V. Stagg Art and Wildlife Preserve'

Charlie Stagg is an East Coast educated but Texas born and bred artist who created this house starting in the 1960's. From his home in Texas he has created his artwork and built onto this house for some 40 years.

Another take on Charles Stagg can be seen here at narrowlarry's site



A picture of his studio and his artwork. The studio apparently burned down in 2006, though most of the house remains intact.

Luna Parc

I received this image of a work-in-progress from Ricky of Luna Parc. Great idea to do all blue bottles. Can't wait to see the finished structure.

Anna's Bed & Breakfast

This is Anna's Bed and Breakfast near Tucson, Arizona.

and a part interior, part exterior shot. I like the use of the upright bottles in this one.

Rockome Gardens

Rockome Gardens is the one of the few places that discriminates as regards the brand of bottle used.

i.e. - these are all Fresca bottles.

and these are all 7-up bottles.

It does make me wonder why the Coca-Cola bottle, with it's distinct shape, has never been used for a bottle wall.

I had intended to put the Rockome bottle houses in the original bottle wall post but thought better of it since, sadly, these structures no longer exist. Acquired by new ownership and not deemed to be a part of their vision for the property (some kind of Amish-themed Park), the new owners demolished the bottle houses in 2006.

Kaleva Bottle House

John Makinen built this bottle house in the 1940's in Kaleva, Michigan with bottles from a local bottling plant. It now houses the Kaleva Historical Museum. I like the incorporated text.

Note the variety of bottles in the closeup -

I found the closeup via the amazing and wonderful agilitynut flickr pages. If you like Roadside Attractions (including Bottle Houses), this is the place to go.

The Curious Case of the World Bottle

Like many entries on Wikipedia, the Wikipedia entry on Bottle Wall is as interesting in its omissions as it is in its inclusions, but it's certainly worth a look... and it does mention the Heineken World Bottle, also known as the 'WOBO' or the 'brick bottle'. A quick backstory via Wikipedia -

As the story goes, Alfred Heineken had an epiphany while on a world tour of Heineken factories. When Heineken was on the Caribbean island of Curacao in 1960 he saw many bottles littering the beach due to the fact that the island had no economic means of returning the bottles to the bottling plants from which they had come. He was also concerned with the lack of affordable building materials and the inadequate living conditions plaguing Curacao's lower-class. Envisioning a solution for these problems, he found an architect to design what he called "a brick that holds beer."


Notice how the bottom of the bottle is recessed so that the neck of the bottle would fit snugly into the bottom.

There were apparently 2 sizes, roughly equating to the idea of the brick and the half brick.

The bottle was designed by Architect John Habraken. They did manufacture the bottle but never released it commercially. Nothing much came of it and there are apparently only one or two existing structures, on the Heineken estate, known to have been made from the bottles. Rumor has it that there are some 60,000 of these bottles in storage somewhere in the Netherlands.

[update feb 2008 - found this article on the WOBO that includes this image of what is presumably a building with a wall made of WOBO bottles. No further attribution is given.]

Looking at it I'm not surprised the idea failed. It seems almost an impossible balance - the basic utility of holding beer, balanced with the idea of 'brand identity' as well as the idea of 'sound building material'. Still, it's interesting to see that it went as far as it did and it definitely strikes me as an idea ahead of its time.

How to build a Bottle Wall

I've been asked - are there any resources to let me know how to build a bottle wall? I've searched on the web and so far, no luck. Though I did find this case of a team of people trying to build a bottle wall. Though on close reading it comes off more as how not to build a bottle wall.

Posted by Tom at 08:45 PM

March 03, 2007

The Bottle Wall

Introducing the Bottle Wall, a peculiar form of stained glass. You won't see any mention of bottle walls or bottle houses in the stately and academic tomes of stained glass history. But stained glass it is, and it deserves recognition.

anonymous bottle wall - posted on Flickr


be prepared for lots of pictures...

I became interested in the bottle wall phenomenon most recently through a TV show. Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations is a program exploring outsider art and roadside attractions. It's produced out of Kansas City and so far over 60 shows have been produced in about 10 years. The tone of the show can be fairly described as goofy, but the art that is shown is often amazing and always interesting, and they have visited many sites with bottle walls and bottle houses. So I started researching.

Early History

I don't claim to be an historian, so this will be brief. You will find much more information in the bottle house section of Debra Jane's website on Roadside Attractions.

Bottle houses began as a practical necessity. In remote mining towns where building materials were scarce, someone got the idea of using bottles as a material for building the walls of a house. Such was the case with one of the most famous early Bottle Houses, the Kelly Bottle House in the gold mining town of Rhyolite, Nevada. Because it was located in the desert there were almost no trees, hence no wood. But being a mining town there were 50 bars in close proximity, hence lots of empty bottles.

The Tom Kelly House - Rhyolite, Nevada - circa 1906


The look of these early bottle houses tended to be more mundane, owing to their utilitarian origins.

By the middle of the 20th century there was a little more 'art' put into the structures and the motivations were more eccentric and personal, such as in this house built as a playhouse.

The Doc Hope House - Hillsville, Virginia, 1941


Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village

Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village in Simi Valley, California was created from 1956 to 1980 and features a series of 13 sheds and other small structures on a small lot of land in Simi Valley, California. Though she originally made these structures to house her collection of pencils (17,000 of them!), Grandma Prisbrey really went wild with Bottle Village, well beyond utility.

For many more pictures check these out -
Flickr set on Bottle Village by Babsomatic
Flickr set on Bottle Village by gldyas




interior of the round house



She also had a collection of dolls. Note the beverage tab decoration of the dress.

Sadly, much of Bottle Village was destroyed in an earthquake in 1994 and its future remains uncertain.


Grandma Prisbrey directly inspired other people to create their own bottle houses. Ross Ward was one who saw Bottle Village in the 60's and then went on to create Tinkertown near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The buildings house a museum of his handcarved figures and animated scenes.

Flickr set of Tinkertown by kasiahalka

Exterior of Tinkertown

In amidst the walls of Tinkertown -

Closeup of a Tinkertown wall highlighting Ross Ward's motto...

Variety of Styles

A sampling of mostly American and mostly anonymous bottle walls.
Locations cited only when known,
all gathered from a search for 'bottle wall' at Flickr

Thunder Mountain - Imlay, NV

UCM Museum - Lousiana
typical undulating form

This only said "at a food coop".

Some have taken to the bottle wall more as an ecological statement on recycling, like this Earthship house near Taos, New Mexico

Another Earthship house.

As a small feature in a house, anonymous, in the southwest I would guess.

Most bottle walls, especially the garden walls, tend to be rough and messy looking with a kind of improvised mad patchwork quality to them, with no sense of pre-design.
Anonymous American Bottle Wall

This is another wild one, a wall by an arts center in Deep Ellum in the Dallas area of Texas. I couldn't find the backstory.

and a close up shot

Yet some walls are quite neat and precise. These are often seen in the more commercial or officially public settings, like this from a Napa Valley Winery. The 'neat' walls also tend to forego the use of cement as a matrix for holding the bottles together.

Lightning Ridge

Bottle walls and bottle houses seem to be mostly, but not entirely, an American phenomenon. One striking case outside the USA is in Lightning Ridge, in the outback of Australia. It's an opal mining town that has two bottle house attractions to its credit.

One is the old Bottle House in Lightning Ridge. The standard 'postcard' view -

And a closer exterior shot, showing the bottles, which appear to make a specific pattern. The interior seems to be closed, which is pretty common in older bottle houses. Note that there does seem to be some kind of rough pattern going one here.

The other site in Lightning Ridge was started in the 70's when John and Joan Andrews created three sandstone cottages incorporating bottle walls. It's now a tourist attraction called Black Queen. The name 'Black Queen' refers to the name of the type of black opal mined in Lightning Ridge.

The most striking feature of the Black Queen Bottle Walls (and the sites say that there are some 34 of them) are the intricately designed patterns.



Contemporary Bottle Walls

Zagar's Magic Gardens

Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia is a muralist who also incorporates bottles into walls. His major creation is the Magic Gardens.



Flickr set of Zagar's Magic gardens by 'Scuzzi'

The Bottle Chapel

One of the more recent and notable bottle walls is The Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens near Wilmington, North Carolina. Created as a tribute to Minnie Evans, outsider artist




Kawakawa Public Toilet

Aptly described as the most photographed toilet in New Zealand, the Kawakawa, New Zealand Public Toilet , built by the Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000), is a rare instance of a professional architect making a bottle wall. Hundertwasser, at the end of his life, lived in New Zealand and this was among his final projects.

More Hundertwasser architecture images can be seen on the Fickr group called 100wasser.

The street view -

A bit closer -


this is the view from the women's room

You can believe from these images that Hundertwasser was the man who said "criminal is the use of ruler and T-square in architecture" and "This jungle of straight lines, which is entangling us more and more like inmates in a prison, must be cleared."

this is the view from the men's room



Market Hall, Altenrhein

There is also, finally, this building called the Market Hall in Altenrhein, Switzerland that was done 'in the concept of Hundertwasser' not long after his death in 2000.

Flickr set on Markthalle by 'briethe




Posted by Tom at 08:25 AM