As I was digging through the dirt, planting my annual vegetable garden, I had an epiphany.
The plastic, difficult to read, identifiers that come with my plants always disappear from my plants’ sides almost immediately. I needed a more permanent and artsy solution to marking the many veggies and herbs in my garden. I suddenly remembered flipping through page after page on Etsy, trying to find the perfect garden markers last season, to no avail.
I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands, and make my own.
I bought a new bag of beautiful, white clay, and ran a chunk through my slab roller in my classroom. I considered the size and shape I wanted, and cut a template out of a manila folder. I didn’t want the design to be overwhelming, I wanted the them to be clean and simple. The final size was approximately 1″ wide and 6″ long, with a pointed tip to easily guide the plant identifier into the ground.
As soon as I had my slab rolled out I got to work, mindlessly tracing the template, setting it aside, and cutting out the next one. Once I had a nice stack, I began stamping the letters into the damp clay. I decided just having the plant name was too simple. I brainstormed what I could pair with the name, urban farm, veggie garden, or even better, the scientific name of each plant.
I love the long, complex names. Vowels and consonants come together in ways I never thought possible. Words spread before me that I could never hope to be able to pronounce. These complex titles were an almost comedic addition to the simpler, layman’s words, such as basil, tomato, and peas.
After stamping stake after stake, I carefully carried the stack into my kiln room to dry out. Once they were bone dry I painted the fronts with dark brown underglaze, and wiped it off. The glaze settled into the low areas of the stamped letters, and the sponge wiped away all traces of the glaze around the words.
After they were fired the veggie stakes were a clean, bright white, with a nice contrast against the dark letters. I eagerly piled my finished products into a box, and hauled them home. As soon as I walked in my door, I continued straight out the back door, and to my garden.
I was very pleased to see how easily they slid into the dirt, and how well they stood on their own. I love the bright white against the brown dirt and green plants. The stakes themselves are a matte finish, which means over time they will absorb some natural color. I already love the green stripe that appeared on my basil marker. I can’t wait to see how they transform in the coming years.
I recently added these garden markers to my Etsy shop, Sweet Celadon. A 1-2 week waiting period is needed to make them. However, if you live in the Atlanta area you can pick them upanytime at the amazing shop, Crafted Westside.
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