About The Artist

In 2003, Catherine Failor launched GardenMolds with the aim of providing top quality design to home gardeners. She sold the business to Howard Speelman in January of 2016.
This 30-foot path was made with recycled marble, granite and travertine tile scrounged from a tile business’s dumpster. The only costs ($75) were for Thinset (which glue the tiles to the pre-existing concrete path) and grout. Tile and marble businesses now abound throughout the U.S., but so much useable scrap sadly gets thrown away. What a shame energy-wise: consider first the energy expended to quarry and finish the stone, then add fuel costs for sending them halfway around the globe. Why not recycle and create art! (My local tile stores also welcome dumpster-divers—it helps offset their onerous dump fees.)
Another recycling rescue. A large, unadorned 3’x3′ fiberglass planter was unexplainably being tossed by a neighbor. I lugged it home and thumbed through my Native American design books. A beautiful pot design jumped out of the pages which I then sketched onto the planter. Inexpensive tiles were cut using an electric tile saw. I used 100% silicone caulk to glue the tiles to the planter.
These were my first forays into concrete carving, and I’m addicted! What an incredible artistic medium! To create columns, a form was made using 2′ wide metal flashing into which was poured sand mix (a concrete without pebbles); this set for 4-5 hours. (Please note: a smaller metal column was inside the larger for the purpose of creating a hollow void…otherwise the birdbaths would have weighed 200-300 pounds!) The form was pulled away when the concrete was the texture of firm clay. For carving tools I used an inexpensive kitchen paring knife, a file and coarse sandpaper (for finish work). I carved the owl birdbath for a local Audubon auction; someone paid almost $200 for this baby! The design was inspired by a native NW totem. The second “creatures” column is an adaptation of a NW Tlingit Indian design.

I just finished these three pathways…the outer wooden forms will soon be replaced by some flagstone to keep the garden soil away from the path. Most of these stones were collected on the shores of the Willamette River that runs near my home. For information on creating your own pebble pathways, see the Tutorials on the website.

My back porch, all dumpster-salvaged travertine and marble. Total cost: $25 for grout and thinset, and about 25 hours of work.