Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Upcycled Garden: Garden Totems

Ceramic totem by Kathy Gregg

I am in love with totems. Ever since I was little I thought totems were so cool and unusual, and sort of mystical and magical as well. Anything that is so personal and that has a special, deeper meaning, something that is so distinctive—deserves a special place in your personal space—and isn't the garden the perfect spot?

Whether primitive and simple or artistic and expertly crafted, totems are each as unique as their owners. Crafted from all sorts of materials such as wood, glass, ceramic, and mixed media, totems offer an unexpected and very pleasant touch to your outdoor landscape and garden decor. 

Think about all the different materials you could use to create your own totem. Repurposed salvaged glassware is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Readily available at thrift shops everywhere, old florist vases, bowls, decanters, lamps, and containers can have new life when repurposed and upcycled into a garden totem. Flower pots can be stacked to create totems. Use plates and vases between tiers to add visual interest and texture.

Spray paint or enamel outdoor paint allows you to customize your colors. Add bits of tessare, broken vintage china mosaic tiles, glass tiles, and small found objects such as bottle caps, old buttons and pretty stones to create a mosaic of your own on your own special garden totem. Use a strong adhesive suitable for outdoors (I love E6000 adhesive, it's my fave), and be sure to allow your components to completely dry before adding more tiers. 

Take a look at some amazing garden totems that I've collected here to share for inspiration and to get those wheels turning. I'd love to know if you've ever made a garden totem before, so be sure to leave me a comment below and let me know what you think. Be inspired! 

Rainbow ceramic totems by Russ Vogt (image by Russ Vogt)

Garden totems by Paula Barry Ceramics

Mosaic flowerpot garden totem

Garden totem made from old lamp bases on rebar with DIY by Little Vintage Cottage

Create a mosaic totem

Creative ceramic totem with faces 

Paint a wood post like these from Lisa Frick

Ceramic totems are constructed by creating holes in the ceramics that are then threaded onto a pole or length of rebar

Colorful ceramic characters are in this totem by Christie Beniston

Peace poles are wildly personalizable!

Red Crow Studio in Washington offers Garden Totem workshops! 

Kids craft idea: Create plastic milk jug totems. Spray paint the milk jugs yourself and then have the kids decorate them with acrylic paint. Image by Howard County Library

Inspired? Get your friends together, go thrifting and collect your supplies, then throw a totem making party complete with refreshments. Invite me! 

What do you think?

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Have a great week!

Article and images copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2019 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author.