Never Look at a Vase or an Ashtray the Same Way Again

The woods are enchanted today.  My goodness, there has not been a day so fair since last June!  The sunlight, filtered through the canopy of tall hardwoods, dances in dapples and spots, brilliant, then gone, then back again.  And the wind sings, bringing stories of northwestern worlds in a language that makes me dream, but not comprehend…

And that stack of glass beckons (with my husband’s voice) “When are you going to make some totems?”

The stack of collected glass to use for totems.

Flea market finds for a quarter here, 5 for a buck there.  The collection began last year when a friend emailed me photos of totems at a Botanical Garden…and the hunt began. 

Last autumn I made several, but gave most of them away.  Now it is time to replenish my supply.  I did collect lead crystal pieces for a specific totem, to be donated to a garden in memory of my mom.  That one is almost finished.  Photos will follow.  Instructions first for anyone adventurous in crafts.

Odd glass pieces, various sizes, shapes and colors, and “Amazing Goop” Household adhesive–or any adhesive that is waterproof and clear when dry.  I have several totems that withstood being outside all winter during snow, sleet, freezing rain, bitter cold and thaw cycles.

First, use caution– broken glass can cause cuts and lacerations.  Wear appropriate clothings and protection.

Start with a plate–for taller totems, a wider plate is necessary for stability. Then you begin to stack–carefully, exchanging pieces until you see something that strikes a chord.  There are no rules except what common sense and aesthetics dictate.  Place pieces so that openings face down, and bowls and plates are inverted so that they do not trap water.  The point is to have moisture drain off.  When you create an arrangement that looks good, begin to glue them together. Follow package instructions for your adhesive, allowing ample cure time.  And it is a good idea to glue sections of a couple pieces together, then glue sections together after initial curing.  You may find it helpful to use masking tape to hold pieces in place while the glue is very wet.  Pieces will shift–and cause crooked totems.

When planning where to use in the garden, think “gazing ball type focal point’…

candy dishes, water goblet, candleholder...

snifters (two sizes) candleholders, candydish lid, plate

water goblets, candy dishes, ashtrays, bowls, plates, vases…  It is nice to leave a candleholder on top unattached. That way it can be turned over for bad weather to keep from collecting water, and also you don’t have to lift and turn the whole totem on its side to pour out any collected water.

lead crystal, in memory, angel on topoverwintered outdoors

tall one is about 2 and a half feet tall
tall one is about 2 and a half feet tall
Wintered over outdoors just fine.

Wintered over outdoors just fine.

So, no big secrets, just a great idea to utilize old pieces of glass in the back of cupboards,  or from fleamarkets and yard sales.
Enjoy 🙂

About Teresa Cypher

I came into the world a creator of stories. Having been born into a litter, the 7th of 8 children in a farming family, I've spent most of my life writing (escapism) stories in my head. My daydreams, as it turns out, are actually fiction in the making. From the time I was a little girl, I was a thinker, spending any time I could find to be alone--the bastion of undisturbed thoughts,--dreaming of other worlds and of fairy-tale love. My earliest influences were Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Star Trek, and Star Wars. Yep... I write SFR. Science Fiction Romance. I live with my husband in a humble house in the middle of a tall stand of hardwoods, bordered by soybean and cornfields, in western Pennsylvania. Mother of three adult children, and "Grammie" to five beautiful grandchildren, I revel in family gatherings and celebrations. My husband and I care for our gardens at home--our little corner of heaven, take care of the dogs, the cats, and the chickens. We like to have a glass of wine at sunset and watch the stars come out.
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1 Response to Never Look at a Vase or an Ashtray the Same Way Again

  1. Okay, this is an awesome idea. If only I could get my dog to relax for a minute though… he’d have these things over in no time flat.

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