An afternoon of building glass garden totems turned out to be a fun, creative way to add color to my space, while unexpectedly leading to personal reflection.
I’ve read that glass symbolizes veils of transparency, reflection, and the barriers between our physical life and the spiritual realm. I have always been drawn to mysticism, the paranormal, and the spiritual like. Perhaps that is part of my attraction to glass. Thinking further, glass offers reflection, it can magnify your perspective; glass can incubate new growth, and it can create fire. But I think it is more the cultural history of particular objects, or their original utilitarian uses or processes that intrigue me. Maybe combining these ideas can offer a unique interpretation: glass allows us to look into, or out upon. Glass gives you a view from the outside looking in to your soul, or windows looking out to the rest of your world. Perhaps we gaze into glass in an effort to glimpse the other-world. Our personal history may distort how we look through our glass barriers, how we see things–like distorted wavy panes, or spotty glass that would change our perspective with a simple cleaning.
As deep as one could go with glass and it’s meanings, the fact is I’m a glass hound. Colored glass, clear glass, old glass, textured glass. I love the history old window panes have witnessed. I love the mysterious reflections of sparkly, worn crystals and glass prisms and the moods a little funky glass can add to a space. I have family photos displayed in glass jars instead of frames, colors of glass insulators throughout my house and yard. I hold dear my carefully chosen glass door knobs and colorful glass slag pieces. I get just as excited about finding glass magnifiers, glass fishing floats, and those thrift store salad or fruit bowls and candy dishes with their angled facets and silver-plated rims, which I fill with anything except the treats its supposed to hold. I even fall under the spell of old wood window frames, just because I imagine they must have once held old panes charmed with bubbled imperfections and wavy, handworked glass.
So you can imagine I was eager to try my hand at upcycling glassware into my version of the glass towers I’d seen as yard art ideas in magazines and blogs. I wanted to create personal “totems” of glass to add color and reflection to my space. So one afternoon my mom and I gathered our found pieces of glass and thrift store glassware and started building. Below are photos of our totems, along with a couple of tips.