Greg Alvey has been a builder, collector, historian, and researcher of the art and craft of building ships, folk art, and whimsies in bottles for a combined period of over 35 years. Over the years he has personally owned over 750 bottles built by artists around the world with a current collection of approximately 300 bottles. While he continues to build his own bottles, most of his time is now spent buying and selling bottles by well-known artists both living and dead, and researching and documenting the folk art and its makers.
His interest in ships in bottles began while he was stationed in Taipei, Taiwan when he came across a book by Commander Donald Hubbard, USN (Ret.) titled "Ships-In-Bottles." This book kindled his interest and fascination with ships in bottles and after leaving service he bagan his first model. With the book as his guilde and using simple tools and materials, he built his first ship in bottle, a Gloucester Schooner, from a plan in Hubbard's book.
His personal collection has included bottles by some of the best known and most sought after artists from around the world both living and dead including Carl Worner, Daniel Rose, Adam Selick, William Edwards (Soldiers Home Bottles) Jonny Reinert (appeared many times in the Guinness Book of World Records, and dubbed the “King of the Bottleships”), George Barnhart (IOOF Artist), Amos Beiler, Theodor Carstensen, Hans Euler, Caveman, George Fulfit, Chester Holt, Leon Labistour, Robert Searight, Jacob Steur, Harold Whiting, Roscoe Axton, John Bender, Vic Crosby, Jen Jensen, F.L. Bennet, J.F. Gibson, John Harmon, to name a few. The collection also contains many rare and outstanding bottles including many that although unsigned but are immediately recognized and attributable to an unknown maker because of the contents and/or the style of building. The earliest bottle in his collection is a mid-1700 scene showing four people celebrating in a cobbler’s workshop.
Using his extensive collection, collaboration with other builders and collectors, historical research, and the bottles he himself has built, Greg created and authors the website www.folkartinbottles.com and social media page at www.facebook.com/FolkArtinBottles. This is the largest website of its type devoted to the art and craft of building and collecting ships in bottles as well as folk art and whimsey. He has authored an article "The Wonderful World of Bottle Whimsies!" for the Journal of Antiques and collectibles and articles for “The Bottle Shipwright.” Now he is offering the public the ability to purchase many of his outstanding bottles. They are now available for purchase at: www.artinbottles.com.
He was born in Owensboro, Kentucky and continues to live there today with his wife, Patty. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Murray State University, and is a graduate of Brescia University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Economics. He is retired from Brescia University where he served as the Director of the BUonline and part-time instructor of business, business management, and international and global management classes. His wife, Patty, is also retired from Brescia University where she served as Manager of Public services in the Fr. Leonard Alvey Library.
Greg served four years in the United States Air Force as a North Vietnamese language specialist and a member of the Security Service, holding a Top Secret and Cryptology clearance. He was stationed in Thailand and Taiwan. Following military service, Greg and Patty moved back to Owensboro where they raised their three children, Laura, Emily and Neal. They have seven grandchildren.
Articles and more by Greg Alvey
An article with Greg Alvey "How to Build a Ship in a Bottle" appeared in the New York Times Magazine on January 12, 2018. How do you even begin to cover this subject in only four paragraphs; but the article does give exposure to this wonderful art and craft.
- this article first appeared in April 14, 2015 issue of "The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles."
"The Bird Cage" - a Fantasy Project by Greg Alvey
"The Admiralty Board" - featured building article by Greg Alvey
A Bead Winder - a building project by Greg Alvey
Bottles by Greg Alvey
Bottle ID: 56
Bottle ID: 57
Bottle ID: 58
Bottle ID: 59
Bottle ID: 887
Bottle ID: 1005
Bottle ID: 1086
Bottle ID: 1132
Bottle ID: 1157
Bottle ID: 1231
Bottle ID: 1396
Bottle ID: 1407