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Special places archive

June 2002

Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village

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Beginning construction in 1956 at age 60, and working until 1981, Tressa “Grandma” Prisbrey transformed her 1/3 acre lot into Bottle Village, an otherworld of shrines, wishing wells, walkways, other random constructions, plus 15 life size structures all made from found objects placed in mortar. The name “Bottle Village” comes from the structures themselves — made of tens of thousands of bottles unearthed via daily visits to the dump for years, some of them from her husbands own bad habit. Appearances aside, Bottle Village began as two purely practical needs for a cheap building material to build a structure to store her pencil collection, which eventually numbered 17,000 and a bottle wall to keep away the smell and dust of the adjacent turkey farm. However, it was her own ability to have fun and infuse her wit and whimsy into what she made which over time became the essence of Bottle Village. Practicality alone would not explain The Leaning Tower of Bottle Village, the Dolls Head Shrine, car-headlight-bird-baths, and the intravenous-feeding-tube-firescreen, a few examples of her delightfully idiosyncratic creations.

Image from 'Grandma Prisbrey's Bottle Village' website

filed under USA + Landscapes + Urban life

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