Hart’s Garden of Rust and Whimsey

Way back in May I gave you a little glimpse or Installment #1 of the zany little plot of paradise that is our friend Hart’s garden. In May, the focus was on the Rhodos with just a little dollop of mosaics. But today, be prepared for a peek at how an artist “decorates” his garden.

Now the three of us have spent years at Art college and I suppose what art college teaches you most is to see possibilities in even the humblest of things. To see beauty in texture and form. To create compositions and focal points, and in Hart’s case, to create what I like to call “arrangements”. In fact, my nickname for him is the “Lone Arranger”.

Take for instance his arrangement of rust in a tucked away spot on one of the many paths in his garden. Here the garden wall is decorated with a collection of muffin tins left to rust, creating a grid like texture that sets off the mosaic bench in iron oxide colors, that even has a suitably colored ceramic fish as part of it’s surface.


As your eyes take that in you are led to a rusty cowboy figure, a rusting feathered heart ( a garage-sale-find-birthday-gift from us) and a birdhouse decorated with ….. yes that really is a pair of pears.


And rounding out this rusty feast for the eyes is a rusting bedstead curling through the greenery. I just love this spot.


Carrying on with this tour, we come upon Rodin’s The Thinker, lost in thought, of course. The Gazing Ball behind him could represent the world, maybe the focus of his thoughts. But note the arrangement, the way the colors of the ferns and Japanese Maple complete the scene Hart has created.


Next, near another wall is the Half Man. I noticed when I was getting the photos ready that I’d managed to inadvertently create the proverbial “fig leaf” with cedar. Funny story here, a neighbour could see this figure from her window and phoned to say it freaked her out first thing in the morning. Hart obligingly moved it for her.


On my way to another part of the garden, Mojo, one of the cats, had to get cozy with my camera. He’s very affectionate.


Other people on a pebbled beach see pebbles. Hart sees heart shaped rocks. Here a collection is featured, set off by rust and greenery.


Another mosaic bench set in the front entry to the courtyard, matches the lushness of it’s surroundings of ferns.


Even a gateway is not left unadorned. Here the little mosaic stepping stones create a counterpoint to the bars of the gate.


The garden has many gathering spots, places to party or to relax. For this spot the beaded curtains and flags are enticing, pulling you in, to find out what is beyond or behind them.


And beyond is another example of recycling and rust. The round mirror, already giving way to nature, garlanded in tacky plastic beads becomes elegant.


A wooden mirror reflects not only the view but becomes the subject of an arrangement itself.


And the pink flamingo? Well, that was another garage sale find of ours, that I painted up and we gave Hart on another birthday. Well, in a garden full of whimsey, I was sure the flamingo would feel right at home.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed Installment # 2 of Hart’s garden. I know we never tire of it. There is still more to see, but we’ll save that for another day.

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )




Pique Assiette Mosaic Stepping Stones in the Garden

We love making mosaic stepping stones for our garden. They’re fun and easy to do. Well, easy as in low tech. But they do take a bit of work. It’s a chance to use some dishes and tile and sometimes other objects to create some color in the garden. Using dishes and other found objects for mosaic is called Pique Assiette.  I like the whole process of using dishes and found objects, collecting them, finding them and of course breaking them to create new patterns.

Pique Assiette Stepping stone, summerhouseart.com

The other day, instead of grouting inside in the studio, I’d set up a work table under the clematis pergola so my afternoon student could grout her mosaic outside in the garden. After she’d finished, very happy with how her piece had worked out, and had gone home with her mosaic creation, we still had the work table set up. I’d done a quick demo of stepping stones for her on a small chunk of broken cement block while she was there. So we had everything ready, and we turned to each other and almost had the same thought at the same time. Hey, lets make another stepping stone.

Pique Assiette Stepping Stone, summerhouseart.com

So off we went, into the studio, to gather up some dishes and tiles to use. We mixed up some more mortar and started. Before we knew it was 8 pm and time to stop and have a quick supper. We still hadn’t grouted but the stepping stones were done. I got out there this morning and grouted mine. So another stone for the garden.

Pique Assiette Stepping Stone, summerhouseart.com

We enjoy the look of these little art pieces. Each one is different and unique. We have some laid into the lawn under the pergola, to create a sort of patio area. Others become entrance art at the gate, or as a way to step through the garden to the car, or as a bottom step from the deck.

Pique Assiette Stepping Stone, summerhouseart.com

Will and I work totally differently. He likes to create much more minimal abstract compositions. I tend to use dishes with either floral patterns or just basically colorful dishes laid out in an overall sort of crazy quilt manner. We work quickly and without too much thought, counting on our innate sense of composition to work for us. We just relax and enjoy the time.

Pique Assiette Stepping Stone, summerhouseart.com

Pique Assiette Stepping Stone, summerhouseart.com

Pique Assiette Stepping Stones, summerhouseart.com

There’s something about mosaic sparkling in the sunshine and greenery of the garden that makes you enjoy having it underfoot.

Pique Assiette Stepping Stone, summerhouseart.com

Pique Assiette Stepping Stone, summerhouseart.com

Pique Assiette Stepping Stones, summerhouseart.com

If you are interested in creating some stepping stones for your garden and don’t know how, you are in for a treat. My next post is all about how to create mosaic stepping stones. There are lots of ways to do this, but this is my way.

Now you may have noticed that we didn’t tell you which of us created all of the stepping stones in this blog.  So, which ones do you think are mine and which ones are Will’s?

(BTW, if you’d like to make a comment, just click on the title.  It’ll take you to comments….and we do appreciate comments )