This weekend I’ve been hard at work on some art projects for my garden. It’s not particularly fine art and it’s not exactly creating a backyard environment like this or some of these, but it feels like an ongoing and worthwhile art project to me.
I started with the birdbath on which I’d created a mosaic in 2009. It was the first mosaic piece I made for my garden. It started life as a regular concrete birdbath and then I added ceramic tiles that I’d made myself. I also added glass beads and mirror fragments. This is what it looked like when I first finished it in 2009:
Pretty! Unfortunately I didn’t use the right glaze and the tiles couldn’t be high fired. Close enough, right? I’ll tell you, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are harsh art critics.
By this summer the birdbath looked like this because ice had split apart so many of the ceramic tiles:
So I took a hammer and busted out the remains of my ceramic tiles and the grout between them. I decided that for the replacement I would stick with what seems to work well: grouted glass. While I miss all of my fun tiles, I think this should hold up to the weather better.
I also added mosaic to the top of a little table near the birdbath.
Meanwhile, I continued to work on the bench/planter combo on the other side of the garden. Here they are looking very unassuming in 2009:
I started in 2009 with the top of the bench, added the bench legs and the planter in 2010, and now I finished the plant stand this year. The ceramic tiles I made have held up better here, but now I’m still using mostly glass beads. This year I also used some of the brown tile we tore out of our bathroom about a month ago. Voila!
This is all reminding me how much I don’t like to do mosaics though I do like the results. It all starts out fine, but by the time all the bits are glued on and I’m trying to get the grout off the front of the tiles, I’m wishing I never started. It takes me a year to forget the pain enough to attempt more. This year it’s taken me about two weeks to get all this done.
A couple other garden art projects from this weekend:
I added a few coats of paint to the purple chair. It was purple before, but now it’s an even better tricked out, color shift purple. It’s hard to capture the effect with a camera.
I also attempted to add some artfulness to the “guard flamingos” that I got at the end of last summer when I was desperately attempting to keep the squirrels from eating all my tomatoes (my neighbor swears by his guard flamingos). I’m not sure what I think about the result. On this project I used the silicone caulk mosaic technique that Jane often uses at Patchwork.
I also tried adding a smattering of glass “gems” on the concrete wall around my perennials. I’ll be interested to see what it looks like once the plants die back. I’ll be able to see it all winter from my back door so I’ll have plenty of time to think about whether to add more or to take these away. Depending on what I decide, it may be an art project for next March or April before the plants take off again.