We dreamed up a garden theme. We fantasized overscale silly topiary -- like big green babies and robots made of flowers. We'd make-over the caddy shack into a wacky shack, transform the chain link fence into a picturesque hedge, and add twinkling lights at night. Bob Townley, director of Manhattan Youth, the lease holder of the pier, was encouraging, but we knew there was no budget for it. We realized that we could make much of what we needed from discards that recycling could become a secondary theme of the course. After all, many of the best roadside attractions are made of recycled, repurposed materials. We’d ask the community to help with the renovation. The project would be scalable -- depending on the amount of materials, help and funding we'd be able to round up. We would have just two months to do the renovation.

We invented and discovered how to make flowers out of plastic bags and bottles, and experimented with ways to simplify making mosaics from broken tile and dishes. We made special bins to collect materials, trolled the neighborhood on recycling night, and frequented the mighty warehouse of Materials for the Arts.

We invited the community to join us on weekend workshops to help make hundreds of flowers and mosaic panels. We made lanterns from detergent lids and plastic lemon juice bottles from the snack bar. During the week we worked on painting all the cement, leafing the caddy shack, and building the armatures for a giant caterpillar and enormous garden gnome. We found the materials to transform the chain link fence into a hedge at a friendly upstate xmas tree company.

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0011Recycle 00After 01flowersmariabags
We made bins to collect donations of materials. We made a digital drawing to help plan the finished look of the minigolf. We sorted hundreds of donated bags by color.
02flowerbluecarnation 03floweryeloflower 04flowerblue
This rare blue carnation is being made of plastic bags and phone wire. Making a beautiful flower out of discarded plastic bags. We made these flowers out of fabric softener bottle plastic, buttons and phone wire.
05flowersfleurs 06mosaichammer 07mosaichammergirl
Finished giant flowers made from plastic bags await their stems. Before they can be used in mosaics, chipped tiles and dishes have to be broken into smaller pieces. Give those kids hammers and safety glasses! Chipped tiles and dishes are broken into shards.
08mosaichammerwalter 09mosaicmixgoop 10mosaicemsonjack
Breaking up chipped dishes into small tiles was an ongoing task, as we used hundreds for the mosaics. We mixed pigment into the goop to make it just the right color. Working on a shard mosaic.