This little project turned out to be a “badge task trifecta”: a chance to get folksy-craftsy, explore nature’s textures, and recycle a bit of junk. It was remarkably easy to do but took some time. As usual, I have to thank my husband for his patience as I took over our dining table for a couple of weeks.
BADGE WORK UPDATE: PLANTS & ANIMALS, FOLK ARTS, and ECO-ACTION
A task for the Plants & Animals badge asks scouts to use seeds that we usually eat to create a work of art, as many cultures have done across the globe; the task recommended designing a mosaic. The Folk Arts badge asks scouts to craft a natural folk art project. And the Eco-Action badge asks scouts to make a work of art using something they would otherwise throw away.
Let’s start with that last task.
I walked the world without a coffee table all my life. Not quite sure how I pulled that off. Charles walked into my life 9 years ago with a $30 Ikea table. It graced our living room until a few weeks ago when one of the legs broke.
Normally, we’d throw this baby out with the next neighborhood bulk trash pick up. But that table top looked like a pretty good canvas for… something…
I headed to market for an assortment of seeds and came home with these:
And I picked up some glue. Lots of it, actually. Strong clear stuff for glueing seeds to the board, and cheap Elmer’s clear glue for a top coat to seal those seeds into place.
I looked at a few dozen mosaic designs online, filling my head with enough ideas to lay out a basic pattern using a pencil, ruler, and compass. I hadn’t used a compass since high school geometry; I had to buy one of those, too.
I started from the middle, laying down the outline in peppercorns. (BTW, that was a sentence I never though I’d ever write in my life.)
From there, I started filling in the center pattern with seeds, including the dyed pumpkin seeds.
I moved to the circular shapes outside of the diamond pattern…
… and put down the peppercorn border. From here, it was time to start filling in a lot of pumpkin seeds, white and dyed yellow.
Along the way, it felt as though another design element was really needed. Unsure of what to do, I left it alone for a few days, until I found myself in a World Market store. It’s a great place to buy peppercorns at an affordable price, but they also had juniper berries and sesame seeds. Somehow, that magic combination was the inspiration I needed to do this:
And that inspired this additional detail…
I finished with a final border of shelled pumpkin seeds.
At every step, I added a coat or two of clear Elmer’s school glue and let it cure for a few days.
I considered how I might actually make a new table top out of this creation and add new legs, but in truth, I saw it more as a great addition to a wall on our patio. This meant adding a few coats of polyurethane to really protect it from the elements.
The mosaic has now found its permanent home right here:
I have to say, I really loved doing this project and might actually do more things like it. And Charles, who rarely says “boo” about anything I’m working on, made a point to admiring it at almost every stage of development. Weird, but true.
Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos, Jean Synodinos