This article first appeared in The Age newspaper November 1, 2015
Broken plates, cups, saucers, tiles, cracked precious vases. These pieces are passed on by friends.
"Can you make a mosaic with this?" they ask. They know that in this place their beloved teapot, tile remnants or cracked plate could be reincarnated.
It doesn't matter if the piece is curved or has broken in a strange way. The urge to form patterns is alive in this makeshift studio.
The bats screech outside, the possums run along the roof, and the chooks are roosting for the night.
I pick out a neatly-cut piece of coloured glass and place it next to an irregular shape of broken vase that almost looks like a boat. Each is a jigsaw piece that has a history from someone's kitchen or with a tiler who has long left the job.
The pieces are glued together with adhesive which, curiously, attracts ants overnight. The ants wander over bits and pieces and disappear if it's a hot day.
It's a recycler's place not only because of the patterns that take shape slowly from old stuff, but because the bits are housed in take-away food containers and old jam and mayonnaise jars. Shoe boxes hold the bigger items.
The glue and grout is stored and stirred in old plastic honey containers and applied by washed chopsticks not good enough to eat with. This place is where the bower bird can take the treasures it finds and make them into something.
Avoiding landfill, the pieces find their rightful place and after grouting become the promised mosaic.