New Bottle Tree Sculpture

I’ve been asked, “Do you really have a bottle tree?” Yes, I do. In my back yard I have two of them. They make me happy, simple as that. And because I love them so much I still collect blue bottles to be used for a future project at some point. But now I have THREE bottle trees!

My father, Jim Davis, is a metalworking artist who has rapidly been expanding his skill set and design accomplishments. While he’s always been creative, he’s only recently begun to allow himself to think of his work as art, and himself as an artist.

Entranced with the technical aspects of blacksmithing and wrought iron work, he made a grapevine-themed bottle tree as a commission. I joked that I hoped his customer would hate it so that I could have it. No such luck, the customer loved it, and I started to get that pout on my mouth that little girls save for their daddies. Dad started to move into more organic shapes in his work, more abstract and less representational work. About six months ago he excitedly came to me with a folder of drawings with an idea for a bottle tree. I loved the design immediately. But it took a while for him to be sure exactly what he wanted to do. And we went back and forth with a few design details. I wanted lights and a water feature. He worried over the logistics and technical challenges. Every time he’d visit he’d go outside with a tape measure and think on it. I had no choice but to be patient.

Finally, I got a call from him that it was finished. I was told to have bottles ready and washed up. I cleared my schedule and waited for him to arrive. I was pretty excited by the time I heard his old pickup rumble its way up the street. My bottle tree had arrived! As you can well imagine from the following pictures, I was pretty pleased. Follow along to see the installation process.

Metal bottle tree sculpture framework at
Here is the basic bottle tree as we were unloading it off the truck.
Digging the hole for my bottle tree.
Here’s my dad digging the hole. We had to take out an azalea and that pine had to go, too.
Dad using a post hole digger.
Having worked as a farmer half of his life, my dad knows how to dig a hole. A post hole digger makes a nice narrow hole.
Measuring the depth of the hole.
The sculpture was designed with a 30″ post to be embedded into the ground. We had to measure to get it deep enough.
Holding the sculpture steady while we put dirt and concrete in the hole.
Holding the framework in the right angle was a family job.
Wiggling the new bottle tree framework to get the framework right angle.
My mom and dad adjusting the framework to get the angle just right.
Mixing the concrete in the hole.
Two sacks of concrete mix were used to make sure the post stays steady. Experience has shown Dad that mixing in the hole works just fine.
Populating the bottle tree with its crop of bottles.
Firmly in the ground, it’s time to begin putting bottles on the tree.
The access panels for the back of the bottle tree are removable for access to the lights.
The bottle tree is made with panels that are bolted on the back. They’re removable so that lights can be installed into each bottle.
The back side of the bottle tree.
The back side of the bottle tree is just as interesting as the front.
Jim Davis along with the blue bottle tree sculpture that he made for his daughter, Ginger. This stands outside the studio of
And here’s the finished bottle tree, along with the artist, Jim Davis.

My dad was worried that I wouldn’t like the design. He kept saying that it was outlandish. And too curvy. And different. I told him that I trusted his design sense and that he had complete creative freedom to make it exactly the way he wanted. But I truly love the design. It’s balanced, harmonious, and it fits remarkably well into its surroundings. And it met my one criteria…it’s a blue bottle tree. And you see the windows behind it? Those are the windows to my studio. So I can always look up while working and see how much my dad loves me. I’m a lucky, lucky girl!

Email is the best way
to get updates

You will LOVE getting this email, which is packed full of polymer clay goodness. About once a week.

36 thoughts on “New Bottle Tree Sculpture”

  1. This is stunning. I went to your dad’s site and was blown away, especially with the organic pieces. My dad grew up a Nebraska farm boy and began woodworking about this same age, after a life filled with everything from welding to owning a flight school to raising cutting horses. (I’m pretty good with those post hole diggers myself!) He made some of the most beautiful bowls I’ve ever seen. You’re never too old to find your inner artist!

    I hope you post pictures of the tree with it lighted.

  2. Pingback: L’arbre à bouteilles bleues – Creacodile

  3. Pingback: De blauwe flessenboom – Creacodile

  4. Wow, your father is sooo cool. Maybe you could rent him to us for a little bit? I’m sure you would make a lot of money x-D And the tree looks really nice, I wish you would make an update in the post with a photo of the tree full of lights at night.

    1. Thank you. My dad is certainly a great guy. I’m awfully proud of him! You know, I never have put lights into the bottle tree. I bought the lights for it, but life got in the way and they’re still in their boxes.

  5. U are one lucky woman. An u r correct it is a beautiful blue bottle tree!! An so special where he put it in ur yard where u can see it every time u look out ur window as u work

    1. He is. Thank you. But you’ll have to get one of your very own, LOL! Luckily, that means emptying some tasty liquids from some nice blue bottles. Enjoy!

  6. Pingback: A metalwork artist indeed | The Blue Bottle Tree

  7. This is the coolest thing ever! How amazing is your dad?!!!
    Mine doesn’t even know how to change a bulb LOL
    The result is awesome

    1. He’s pretty amazing, I think! And I’m sure your dad knows more than he lets on. We’re lucky to have great dads in our life.

  8. Isn’t it wonderful to have an artistic and creative family? What would life be like without art in our lives, I often wonder. Thanks for sharing this. Following your site is brightening my days.

    1. The funny thing is, we’re a pretty practical bunch and you’d never know we’re artistic by looking at us. But it’s there in every “corner” when you look for it. And I’m glad I can bring a bit of brightness with my site. That makes me happy to know that. Thank you!

  9. Having known your dad for years, this is just one more facet that lifts my respect for him… 🙂

    1. He’s a pretty amazing person on all levels, isn’t he? When I was little I wanted him to be president. I thought he could do a better job of it than anyone. (And he probably could.)

  10. This is so wonderful! And it reminds me that it’s never too late to start thinking of yourself as an artist and trying new things. Love it!!! 😀

    1. Absolutely. Knowing that he’s had this talent his whole life but didn’t know it has inspired me to push past my own resistance and seek my own artistic voice.

  11. OMG, GINGER, your dad is a total Rock Star…. that is absolutely brilliant. You, my friend, are one lucky girly to have such awesome talent running wild in your family… care to share some? 😉 LOVE IT!! – Kate

    1. Girl, you’ve got talent of your own. I’ve seen it! And yes, I am lucky! And inside my studio I’ve got four paintings that my grandmother did. I’ve got this talent stuff coming at me from both sides. Aargh, the pressure!

    1. I’m not sure if he’s interested in commissions anymore. He keeps saying he doesn’t like them, but then I hear of him doing yet another one. I know he won’t do anything the same. He’s not into production work and will only make something if it strikes his fancy. Have you looked at his other work?

    1. The whole thing has such visual movement. The curves flow, the tilt of the whole thing gives tension, and yes, the pouring bottle is like a little flourish that ties it all together.

  12. What a wonderful post! I love the design and the fact that this art represents the relationship between you and your Dad. What a gift!

  13. Oh Ginger! What a lucky girl you are. Tell your dad that his blue bottle tree is amazing. What a wonderful inspiration muse for you and your work :-D. ( I’m blue with envy)

    1. I will tell him, definitely. And he has been a true inspiration for me, yes. I’ve known him a long time (all my life!!) and have seen him through most stages of his life. Watching his art talent burst into flame over the last couple years has been truly inspiring. It reminds me that I have hidden talent inside of me, too.

  14. That. Is. Awesome. How wonderfully special to have such a talented dad so willing to share his gift with you. I’m sure it makes you smile every time you look at it.

    1. I’ve only had it two days now, so I’m still giggling…I’ll calm myself down to a mere smile soon, I’m sure. I spent the first day sitting in those chairs on the porch, looking at it!

  15. And it looks like there is a bottle pouring out into a blue goblet at the bottom! How cool is that!!! Love it.


    1. I was pretty impressed that he used the sizes and shapes of bottles that I already had in my collection to design this tree. And though this won’t pour water from the bottle, it can be wired for lights. That’s going to be so cool.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top

Almost There


Check your email/spam


Click to confirm


Watch for welcome

Check your spam folder. Email programs are very aggressive and you’ll likely find lots of missing emails in there!

Sign Up Here

There's more by Email.

Keep in the loop about new articles and tutorials. Get tips and info. Bi-weekly emails, or thereabouts. This is the newsletter that everyone talks about.