I’m Joe. I have too many interests. 

These include: massage, yoga, tai chi, graphic novels, reflexology, movies, music, art, cycling, poetry, eastern studies (taoism, buddhist, etc.), dance, feng shui, novels, writing, comics, my girlfriend, my friends, hiking, theatre, sculpture, glassblowing, piloting, trivia, wilderness survival, astronomy, astrology, crystal healing, environmentalism, social action, and on and on and on.

If these subjects paint a cliched picture, maybe I’m just a cliched guy. 

I already have a few sites where you can read about my life, read my poetry and fiction, check out my visual art, or listen to my music. I’ve been published in various on and offline magazines and anthologies. I share a name with the world’s greatest salesman (which you think would be helpful, but it really isn’t — try googling me, I dare you). But I wanted somewhere I could get away from the obvious arts, and focus in on the one that’s been taking up more and more of my life as the months swim by.

I’ve been obsessed with Zen Garden’s ever since I first saw one, on a vacation in Vancouver as a child. I’ve been given them as birthday and Christmas presents, but I never really got the idea of them. Most of them are too small to really have fun with, and others seem too big and cluttering.

I recently moved to West Ottawa from Central Hamilton (two more different social climates there ain’t) and began work in a friendly little family-owned business called East Wind. We sell a lot of cool stuff, my favourite being the water-art Buddha Board, but it was the zen gardens on display which most invigorated my artistic interest. I got into the habit of making a new design every day. Often to the great delight of kids and adults, who were more than enthusiastic enough to contribute to my patterns.

Saying goodbye to my favourite designs on a weekly basis has been an exercise in patience and acceptance, but I encourage those of you who have zen gardens to do the same. Embrace the transience of life. 

But if you’re just looking for a cool design for your home, office, or even your garden, feel free to sample from my collection of personal designs. They each have a special meaning to me. Some tell stories. Some are parts of larger movements (namely, the five elements series).

I can’t promise to upload every day, or even every week. So, I hope you’ll be patient with me, as I’m a pretty busy guy. Angry letters don’t write themselves.


6 Responses to “About Sand Zen and Creator Joe Girard”

  1. Kirk said


  2. Thom said

    Pretty awesome. I’ve seen some of your when you wre in Hammy. Though, as I am not much of a condensure (Hope I spelt that right) of the Zen Garden.

    Also I’ve never seen Tron, so if your garden was in referance to something, I wouldn’t know. But it was very pretty even still!!

  3. Dear Joe,

    I searched the net for a picture of a nice zen garden. I need it for a web advertising layout, which I am designing for a newly established IT company of my friends. I found one of your picture the nicest and most usable (illustration for “The Long and Winding Road February 8, 2009”, file name: zen-garden-15.png) and I would like to ask, that do you own this picture and in what conditions could we use it. This company, the Soulware Inc. (Hungary, Budapest) is developing softwares on OpenSource basis and in my opinion “this zen feeling” is close to their mission.
    Best regards,

  4. Matt Minde said

    Hello Joe! Same as the guy above: I’d like to possibly use a photo of one of your Zen gardens, specifically “On The Rocks” Feb. 8, 2009. Could you please let me know if that’s a possibility? THANKS! —MM

  5. Gift buyer said

    Where can I buy a garden with all the accessories just like yours? (same size / rectangular)


    • Depending on whether you live in a major city, you can find one like it at most zen-type stores. The exact model I have may not be in production anymore. The Asian-goods store I worked for that sold them ordered them through a distributor in Toronto that received shipping direct from Japan and China. I remember that we carried that model less and less over the years (the brown wood frame), until finally it vanished from our stock altogether. The black wood frame should be easy enough to find. Wal-Mart used to carry them, but theirs tend to come unglued at the base, and sand will spill out. So look for eastern specialty shops or new age type stores (Harmony, Equilibrium, Our Natural World, that sort of thing.).

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