R. Michael Torrey

Teeter Totems are created as a way to honor the past usefulness of the items that make them up. They embody the idea that the whole of something is greater than the sum of its parts. By themselves, the parts are useless. Thrown into a box, they are junk. Put them together in just the right way and we have a figure of roughly human dimensions, each as individual as any human being.
Totems have been around for millennia. They may have originated in China over 5000 years ago! The Chinese word for Totem is Tu Tang, literally: Space For Pictures. They've been used to represent deities, tribes, spirits, clans, and deceased relatives. Guardian spirits live in some, while others simply honor favored animals or people.
I create Teeter Totems by cutting the teeter totters into two and then decorating them with other discards. I work intuitively; not planning more than a few steps in advance, if at all. Each Teeter Totem takes on its own personality, and seems to guide my choice of materials to use and where to place them. I always start with the eyes. Once the eyes are in place, the rest of the work follows as if by divine guidance.
Give your Teeter Totem a name. Find an honored place for it in your garden. Use it to scare away evil spirits, or watch over your yard. Let it become a steadfast friend; they are excellent listeners.
Here's Jack, who placed the winning bid on this Teeter Totem at the Waste Not Auction for Scrap/Disjecta. He was so happy! I was, too!

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