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 live with my husband in a humble house in the middle of a tall stand of hardwoods, bordered by soybean and corn fields, in western Pennsylvania. Mother of three adult children and "Grammie" to one sweet little girl, I revel in family gatherings and celebrations. My husband and I care for the gardens on our property--our little corner of heaven, have a glass of wine at sunset, and like to watch the stars come out. Currently working in QC and Development for a Bio-technology Company that produces green, agricultural products. 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 have spent most of my life trying to be an individual. My dreams took me there. 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 mind never shut off-- through the years when thoughts allowed me to escape the everyday world of farm life, to the daydreams while I was raising children and being the cook, the baker, the candlestick maker,and the taxi driver-- all while working full time. It took until middle age for me to realize that my meandering mind was writing stories! Once I sat down and started typing, it took 2 months to write my first book. My biggest challenge at first was getting my fingers to type fast enough to keep up with my mind. My daughter bought me a small digital recorder so I could save my thoughts until my fingers could catch up. The story that I wrote, Across The Night Sky ,was years in the making, and timed well...after I had experienced real life and the joys and heartaches it brings. I think that time gave me a well-spring of experiences from which to merge fairy-tale love with the cynicism adult life creates--while never losing sight of the beautiful and wonderful that love is. Writing is my passion...this incredible discovery in mid life that often keeps me up till the wee hours of the morning. I am so very fortunate to have the opportunity to devote my time to something that brings me such joy.
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One 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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