Sunday, August 25, 2013

Adrift in a Sea of Glass - Garden totem tutorial

Back in June I took a short 3 hour workshop from
Val Pollard at Ephemera Paducah.

It was called Garden Totems, and since (having just moved in to a house with an established garden) there was not really going to be any planting this year I thought why not!?! Well, just like that 3-hour tour they took on Gilligan's Island, I found myself in a sea of glass -- for I was hooked.

The process starts by finding no longer loved glassware and dishes, gathering some basic supplies and casting off. The dishes can almost be any kind, but a couple of things to keep in mind when prowling through yardsales and thrift stores:

you need glass & ceramic things of various sizes
colored glass is wonderful,
but don't discount all that cut clear glass

having a flat surface is easier than a carved surface
plates work great to help between sections
and don't forget all those fun finds for toppers

Once you've got your own sea of glass you'll want to wash everything up before using.
Then get some rubbing alcohol and clear silicone(graded for outdoor use) and you're ready to go.

Playing with how things will stack is the next order of business, but once you start gluing you'll want to glue pairs together -- then the pairs -- then the sections. I like to give a couple of hours between section gluing.

Things to keep in mind as you glue:
put enough of the silicone around the edge to form a seal
and plates up will gather and hold water vs plates down will whisk water away

Here are some photos of a couple of my totems in process, followed by some fun toppers:

Be warned -- it can be addictive!
Enjoy.... and send big thanks to Val for letting me share.

Back to Stitching


  1. This is definitely a "must try"!! Thanks for adding beauty and whimsy to the day.

    1. love to share Linda - so glad you enjoy it, and leaving me a message makes it even better!

  2. wow- great you are so right- I will be heading for the glassware section next time I'm in the Goodwill! Thanks!

    1. it works out well Reena... I used up almost everything I purchased and/or found, then when I was done I just redonated it so another could use what I did not...Enjoy! and thanks for commenting here

  3. Replies
    1. that's why it is soooo addicting Val... way, too much fun!

  4. your totems keep multiplying - and I have yet to buy one single component. I love them and look forward to seeing your new yard one of these day.

    1. the totems have reached their total -- but it is a hard thing to stop...I gave away any remaining components to remove further temptation (til next year)....meanwhile they all await a visit from you & Tom!

  5. Love these but what did you use the rubbing alcohol for?

    1. Hi Judy- thanks for keeping honest... the alcohol is used to clean each piece of glass just before gluing. I used a paper towel and wiped each piece. It dries very quickly and cleans well.

  6. Such fun Rose, thanks for the inspiration!

  7. and M. you would not have to worry about taking them in for the winter... this was one reason I put the cabosh on making any more.

  8. These do look like a lot of fun - thanks for the step-by-step Rose!