Naturalistic Bottle Trees by Stephanie Dwyer

Tree-shaped wire frames covered in blue bottles

Bottle tree installation at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens in Orange, Texas

Many bottle trees you’ll see – assuming you see bottle trees at all – are stiff. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but Southern folklore metal artist, Stephanie Dwyer, sets hers apart by making them sinuous and twisty, like real trees.

Bottle tree with colourful bottles with shacks

Bottle tree at Shack Up Inn, bent over as if by the wind

Her iconic bottle tree, part of a series inspired by Hurricane Katrina, channels lone trees all over the world, carved into art forms by the wind on some exposed ridge. It seems to grow out of the turf at the Sack Up Inn, and to nod with respect and resilience to its shadow.  

Close up of the bottle tree trunk, with branches and leaves

All the lines flow on this naturalistic bottle tree

A close up shows elements of Stephanie’s signature style: the tree trunk is made from four rods twisted together; the branches give thick, wavy coverage, holding plenty of bottles aloft in an exuberant pattern; there is a symbolic smattering of metal leaves.

Looking upwards beyond a bottle tree to tree canopies

Looking upwards at a Stephanie Dwyer bottle tree sconce to the tree canopies overhead

As I’ve been prompted to share these shots for the weekly photo challenge twisted, my final shot shows a good & proper tangle from which green bottles emerge, looking as radiant as the leaves in bright sunlight. I like the way the metal tendril seems to reach up to the natural ones reaching down.

If you enjoyed these, please check out Stephanie Dwyer’s website.

32 thoughts on “Naturalistic Bottle Trees by Stephanie Dwyer

  1. Oddment says:

    I especially like the part about “nodding to its shadow.” This tree appears to be growing right out of the ground — it’s easy to expect roots! Thanks for the close-up; it’s a bit dizzying but it certainly gives a notion of her concept. I did visit the bottle trees on her website and had to stop for a while at the bottle tree in the snow — what an image!

    • susurrus says:

      I thought I had a picture of one of Stephanie’s covered in snow, but I couldn’t find it. The way they are constructed does give them an airy feeling, as if they are defying gravity.

  2. FlowerAlley says:

    I really like these loose and flowing trees. It adds interest. Maybe I will tweak my tree. I have added a fish bottle to the top, but it needs…something. Thanks

    • susurrus says:

      It’s one of those place names that gives you a double take if you’ve never heard it before, making you think “Did I read that correctly?”.

    • susurrus says:

      I’ve never seen one vandalised out of all the many I’ve seen in the South. The belief that spirits are captured in the bottles perhaps acts as a deterrent.

  3. Arati says:

    I like how these bottle trees have such a different feel from each other. I find the repetition and movement in the lapis lazuli blue bottles as they seem to dance overhead exquisite.

    • susurrus says:

      Once you start to look out for them, it’s easy to tell Stephanie’s from the others. She has a particular style, which is the mark of an artist.

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