The Final Countdown – 6 Weeks To Go

6 weeks to go until construction starts on the Humanist Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.

Celebrating creativity
As part of the ethos of the garden is the celebration of creativity, there will be many elements of artisan art and crafts included in the garden. For example, pottery, basketry, weaving, textiles, art glass and sculpture.

One aspect of textile will be batik. This is the technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth. Hot liquid wax is applied to the cloth using a tjanting tool, a small copper reservoir with a spout and a wooden handle. The areas of applied wax then resist the dye. Repeated layers can be built up to create colourful patterns.

Batik is an ancient art form dating back to the 4th century BC, where the fabric was used to wrap Egyptian mummies. The technique is widely practised in China, India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and sub Saharan Africa. However, Indonesian Batik is probably the best know.

The following images show the build up of wax layers and colour. The final image shows the completed fabric, but before the wax has been removed by ironing between sheets of paper – it’s just been too hot to iron!

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The different areas practising batik developed their own recognisable styles and patterns – many with symbolic meanings. For this reason I have incorporated the Happy Human motif into my designs.

The fabric will be made into cushions for the seating area of the garden and should provide a vibrant splash of colour against all the green of the vegetables.

Enjoy the week ahead.
Carol

The Final Countdown – 7 Weeks To Go

Seven weeks to go until construction starts on Sundance, the Humanist show Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.

The Trouble with Beans
Well, this week I was going to talk about Indonesian batik, but, after a cold wet spring this glorious weather has kick started the plants into a sudden growth spurt. Well, perhaps not all of the plants. Frustratingly the French beans, which had just poked their heads through the soil and started to grow up alongside the maize, just shrivelled up and died.

Timing is all important, as the maize needs to have reached a sufficient height in order to provide climbing support for the newly emerging beans. A dash around local garden centres provided some rather sorry looking replacement French bean plants.

The central focal point of the garden is a tall sculptural structure which will also double up as a support for runner beans. The structure will be built on site which means that the runner beans need to be grown separately, transported to site and encouraged to climb up the structure.

Calling on all my Blue Peter acquired skills I set about constructing what I hope will be a portable climbing bean frame.

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Using 8ft canes, plastic piping, large pots and string I have cobbled together a framework which I hope will do the job. The plastic piping is there to insert elements of the sculptural structure…..confused?…..come to the show to see how it works.

A big thank you to my sister Jenny who didn’t realise that she would have such a large structure sitting on her patio, which she is also obliged to water for the next seven weeks!

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Have a great week. Enjoy the weather.
Carol

The Final Countdown

Only 10 weeks to go until construction starts on ‘Sundance’ the Humanist Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show. Following several weeks of research and designing, I’m now excited to be bringing the paper drawings to life.

Over the next 10 weeks l will be sharing different aspects of the gardens preparation with you (without revealing the whole scheme). Hopefully, this will give you some insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ activity surrounding the creation of a show garden, while also providing tantalising glimpses of the finished product.

But first a little about the concept behind the garden. The floral theme for this years show is Buffalo Bill and the Wild West. An interesting and challenging brief, especially when trying to reflect the ethics and values of humanism. Using the buffalo as a starting point l discovered some interesting facts:

  • The nomadic American Plains Indian tribes relied almost exclusively on the buffalo to provide food, shelter, clothing, tools and fuel.
  • In the 19th century the buffalo population fell from 60,000,000 in 1800 to only 750 in 1890.
  • Many Plains Indian Tribes faced starvation and were forced onto reserves.
    Southern Plains Indian tribes fared better as they supplemented their diet with subsistence farming.

It was from this that the idea of a community garden began to take shape. Providing food, water and shelter, the garden emphasises the basic necessities for life and promotes the values of human welfare, happiness and fulfilment, and is a celebration of the joy of sharing, companionship and creativity.

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On the subject of creativity; using a limited palette of yellow ochre, red iron oxide, turquoise and black and inspired by Native American textile patterns ( with a happy human or two thrown in) l have been busy transforming a rather large gourd.

More next week!
Carol Seager

Featured Blog – Carol Seager

For the next 10 weeks until the Shrewsbury Flower Show, we will be featuring a special weekly blog by Carol Seager who is creating a “Humanist Garden”. The blog will give you weekly updates on the progress Carol is making with preparations for the show.

We really hope you enjoy this guest blog – please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions about the Flower Show or the Humanist Show Garden. For more information about our involvement with the Flower Show and how you can help us finance the Garden, please see the attached leaflet. Thank you as ever for your continued support!

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