The Art of Darkness

My Sundial

October 30th, 2007 by Cobwebs

Although it may be tempting to stay inside all the time (the sun! It burns!), there are plenty of opportunities to bring a little gloom to your outside environment. My front garden sports a variety of ivy, blood-red calla lilies, black ornamental grass, and a contorted willow. Someday I’d like to add a pleurant, too.

Sundial CloseupBut this post isn’t about my front garden. It’s about my back garden, where my sundial has finally made an appearance. I had the sundial custom-made by Merlin Design a few years ago, when we moved into our house. They do lovely work, cheaper than you might expect, and will even add your location (latitude and longitude) and any motto that you choose (mine says, “Make the passing shadow serve thy will,” which I think is particularly nice for a sundial).

SundialThe poor thing then proceeded to sit in my garage, unadmired and awaiting a pedestal, until a couple of weeks ago when Shadow Jack went on a cleaning binge. He unearthed the cake stand we used for our wedding, and inspiration struck. The stand is plaster, so I’m going to have to get out there and seal the hell out of it lest it melt, but I think it makes a lovely base for the sundial. (Click the thumbnails to see larger images.)

The stand is simply a plaster plant stand that I picked up on clearance at a local Michaels craft store. I spray-painted it burgundy, then gave it a wash of black paint. To do something similar, check with area craft shops for chipped or broken plaster sculptures; they might be cheap or even free, and the damage would make it look interestingly ruined. If you live in an area where moss is abundant, brush the sculpture with a thick layer of yogurt (yes, really) to encourage moss to grow on it. (You can also grind up a couple handsful of moss with yogurt in your blender and brush the sculpture with the resulting slurry, if you don’t mind cleaning that mess out of your blender.)

Sundials add a lot of old-world atmosphere to an outdoor space, and they aren’t terribly expensive. If you don’t lust after a custom one, check your local home and garden store’s “outdoor decor” section. Add a creative pedestal, and you’ll have faeries dancing around the place in no time. Faeries with black wings. And teeny fangs.

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Unhallowed Ground | 7 Comments »

7 Responses

  1. Kitten Herder Says:

    What a fabulous idea.

    Speaking of faeries with fangs, I hope you are watching “Torchwood”.

  2. Cobwebs Says:

    Bits and pieces, although I’m having a little trouble with the internal logic. “This alien artifact has the ability to bring people back from the dead. But it’s jeopardizing the life of one of our agents, so let’s destroy it!” Good use of resources, people.

  3. Chris Lusby Taylor Says:

    Nice sundial. Pity you assembled it incorrectly. The gnomon should be the other way round. Hadn’t you noticed that the timekeeping was rubbish?

  4. Nishant Rai Says:

    Can anyone teach me how to make a Sundial…
    I need for my project!

  5. sundial Says:

    An easy way to build your sundial with this webpage:

  6. Melissa Says:

    Very nice suggestions. Im always thinking what new concepts to put-in on my garden and that is really a great idea. Thanks.

  7. Richard Says:

    In the sundial closeup picture, the gnomon is positioned backwards.

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