Glad you are visiting!! Come back anytime.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bits and Pieces make it colorful!

I try to keep my crew busy doing something plant related which is why there are projects on this blog. Sometimes, the correlation of activity to Horticulture is strained. However, this next activity was borne out of destruction and mayhem of horticulture objects.


When I adopted my greyhound almost 2 years ago, he was living in a rescue mission for greyhounds .... an adoption kennel away from the Florida racing tracks ... waiting for but not in a house and still living out of a crate. So, when I adopted this fuzzy/ butterscotch colored/doe eyed lug, he was not house-civilized. I thought I was an experienced greyhound Mom because I had previously owned a greyhound. To say that "I had no idea" of what I was getting into was an understatement. In hindsight, it was a very good thing that I didn't know what I was getting into or I probably would have said, "not right now". Because he was not house civilized, he tore things up (well, he still does, but that's another blog) including the barricade in front of my window. The barricade was a breakfast table with potted plants on it. He wanted to get to the window to see out of the window and that table was in the way, so he destroyed all the things on the table. I come home and I could smell the potting soil (that is how many plants that he destroyed). I was too heartbroken to throw away some of my ceramic pots...

and the mosaic project in Horticulture Therapy was born out of this destruction and tragedy.

I decided in January of 2007, that we could put mosaic "pictures" on the old painted frames of the display cases or the Formica covered work stations in the Flower Shop to add color. I think I was inspired by several huge mosaics in South Philly made from mirrors and other items. The artist's name is Isaiah Hagar. They are huge, they are colorful and some are extremely textural... my kind of art! Plus, the flower shop was without a steady stream of customers being that it was after Christmas, before Valentine's Day and way before Spring Fever. I learned that tile adhesive (and not a heavier mix such as concrete) worked very well because it was ready mixed which ensured consistency and the gallon tins were easy to store.

We started this venture using the broken pottery acquired from the tragedy supplemented by anything ceramic from my home that I didn't want... old lamps, old coffee mugs, plates, buttons, stones, polished glass, marbles, old jewelry... anything that was colorful! I then went through the pottery in the shop and anything that was cracked or chipped was put into the mosaics. We tried using old dinner crockery from the dining hall, but that was too boring and that idea was abandoned. We quickly ran through what items that I had collected. Then, I started on my idea of recycling -by-reusing unwanted ceramics. Around the corner from the Flower shop is a huge occupational therapy program which uses ceramics to help vets regain fine motor skills and provide structure to their day and they made a donation.

Their donations were quickly exhausted...so, I went to the other recreation therapists on station. The therapists at the nursing home had several boxes of ceramics that they were going to dispose of because the patients didn't want their projects. This has happened 3 times... and we are good for awhile.

Do you think this is a project that you could use in one of your programs?

We have found this to be a very satisfying project. It is very colorful. You are encouraged to break things (with safety goggles, gloves, and on a surface that handle the damage) and it socially appropriate way to handle any misplaced aggression. One's creative ideas are encouraged (I do provide guidelines such as no obscenities, no nudes, no socially inappropriate gestures) You don't have to stay within the lines, it doesn't need to look realistic, and you can make up your design as you go along. The pottery doesn't break into perfect squares and that is fine...it can be utilized in any fashion. When we run out of counters to cover, I think we will try our skills out with pots that we could use in the Flower Shop!
Let me know if you are having fun with mosaic!


  1. Great idea, covers the brown formica and adds that bit of pizzazz... great therapy being imaginative, keeps the grey cells stimulated. i have some artist friends who would love it. One is an art therapist.
    About your dog, i had always thought of doing similar, i've seen some beautifully colored greyhounds in my travels.
    Keep on growing...

  2. Thank you both... it is hard to pick out projects that are meaningful, creative and have a value. This was a win-win-win situation...very hard to come by!