BOTTLED UP ART
We call him Captain Ardashes, the slightly crazy guy who builds ships in bottles; two traumatic events in his life having steered him onto this course.
Born of Armenian parents, Ardashes spent an ideal childhood observing the various vessels coming and going from the colourful Mediterranean seaport of Beirut. After formal schooling, he enrolled in the Jewellery Art School of Lebanon where he mastered the crafts of diamond setting & jewellery design. But the Lebanese civil war was soon to veer him away & toss him about on the rough seas, setting him down in the safe haven of Montreal, Canada, from then on, his home. In a busy shopping district he eventually opened a jewellery store.
A dramatic theft in the store where he was held at gunpoint, was the second upheaval and Ardashes found himself relying on a childhood hobby as a healing therapy. He sensed he was on a different course. He began to construct model boats, at first, from kits, but, finding his own path, & drawing inspiration from the history books he was soon to create his own authentic versions of famous ships, multi-sailed wooden boats, modern liners, battleships & submarines - ships with histories. From his first kit assembly, The H.M.S. Endeavour, he graduated to larger, more ambitious challenges of six feet in length or more, overtaking the space in his already cramped apartment.
Carefully shaped hulls, tall masts with intricate rigging, highly detailed rendering of the interior contents of the Captain's aft quarters, the rugged table holding pewter mugs, oil lamps swinging from the beam of an ancient sloop, to the right number of cannons in the ship's turrets, the steering wheel, the freshly swabbed planks, Ardashes's infinite patience and focus on detail have all been applied here.
From working with more traditional wood, Ardashes began experimenting with other materials, applying the learned techniques of his past to rare metals, guiding with skillfull hands, furling sails of gold & silver, portholes of sparkling gems, conjuring up these old-world vessels of the sea.
Perhaps it was the lack of space which caused the obsession with the closed in spaces of glass bottles. This is when his work became truly individual, calling on the most intricate of miniature hand craft & eye co-ordination. To make these mysteries possible, he devised special tools & ways of working that defy logic. How, indeed, did that ship "get in the bottle"? And from ships to violins, Ardashes can put anything into the tiniest quarters. Perhaps the seamen of old entertained themselves with violins on their long stretches on the old briny, as does Ardashes, a present day artisan with his re-creations, on his voyage through the rolling seas of life.
It was this direction, this miniature world in a bottle, that has earned him the title of Crazy Captain Ardashes.
A word on the recognition garnered over the years: Ardashes has won praise and recommendation at various exhibits of model ships in Montreal, Toronto, New York & Philadelphia, & has been written about in Model Shipbuilding magazines throughout the world, has appeared on TV shows & has exposed his works in marine museums, in Vancouver, Chicago and in particular, the Boston Maritime museum, where his model of the U.S.S. Constitution was on display, while the real U.S.S. Constitution was moored in the harbour.
But, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so Captain Ardashes welcomes you aboard, to scroll down & view his fleets.
(438) 878-4752 / Montreal, Canada