The Final Countdown – 3 Weeks To Go

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

Fun with fabrics v frustration with fencing!

Firstly, my apologies for being a bit late with this blog. Whilst all is going well with the plants ( this warm weather has sent them into overdrive, producing an abundance of fruit ), the same cannot be said of the hard landscaping. During the past week, 250 metres of 2” x 1” timber has been crisscrossing the county with me in hot pursuit. The timber has finally come to rest in a temporary location where I can transform it into fencing and screening for the garden. However, before construction begins I have had to paint it! If you find it hard to imagine 250 metres of wood, believe me, it is a lot! Two days of painting, and I’m nearly finished.

Construction, I am reliably informed, should only take half a day!

On a brighter note, do you remember printing with potatoes at primary school?

Well 50 years on, I decided to revive this noble craft and try some fabric printing.week3-3

As a first attempt, I was quite pleased with the result.
Celebrating creativity is an important part of the garden. Textiles, displaying different colours, textures, patterns and techniques, draw inspiration from cultures around the world.
Below is a sample of a variety of textiles that will be used in the garden.

Have a good week (end)!

Carol

The Final Countdown – 4 Weeks To Go

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

Fun with pallets!

Furniture making with pallets is rather on trend at the moment. Sofas, beds, tables, fences, decking, planters and much more can be created easily and for minimal expense from a few salvaged pallets – or so we are led to believe. The reality is somewhat different. This week I have learned more than I ever really wanted to about the humble pallet. So if you are contemplating a project of your own I will share a few pearls of wisdom which may save you a bit of angst and wasted time. 

Unless you are very lucky, finding pallets for free, of the right size, weight and uniformity for your projectis not a walk in the park. Another option is to buy secondhand/reconditioned ones, but you need to know your pallets. Let me explain… Pallets come in different sizes, different weights, different depths. The planks on each pallet also differ in depth, number and spacing. Of the eight second hand pallets I acquired, no two were alike. From these I needed to create five close boarded platforms of equal dimensions, capable of being transported and assembled on site to form the decking. 

reciprocating saw is recommended as the best tool for taking apart pallets. Not having one, I borrowed a claw hammer, jemmy and a blue wedge shaped thingy. Eventually I triumphedThe pallets were reduced to a pile of wood and nails, it was time to put them together again!

Following are some images of work in progress – there is still some way to go – and a lot more painting to be done.

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I am now the proud owner of a pair of ox blood red cowboy boots. These will definitely be a feature in the garden, but not as you might expect!

Have a great week.

Carol

SHG news, 6 July

CULTURAL DIVERSITY DAY, SHREWSBURY, SATURDAY 22 JULY

We were part of this last year and have been asked to come again. We shall be manning a Humanist stall in the Square, Shrewsbury. Help from members is welcome.

OSWESTRY CULTURE FEST, SATURDAY 19 AUGUST

We have been invited to have a stall at this event, and help for this will also be welcome.

MULTI-CULTURAL FUN DAY, SHREWSBURY, SATURDAY 9 SEPTEMBER

We were part of this Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum (SIF) initiative last year and it was great fun. We shall need members to run the Humanist stall in the Square, Shrewsbury.

HUMANIST GARDEN AT THE SHREWSBURY FLOWER SHOW

Preparations are going well – please follow the weekly reports on our web site! Volunteers welcome to help set it up, and donations can be made through the Treasurer.

The Final Countdown – 5 Weeks To Go

5 weeks to go until construction starts on the Humanist Garden.

“He aha te mea hui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata”.
“What is importaWhat do l need the pallets for? I’ll show you next week!nt? It’s people, it’s people, it’s people”. Maori proverb.

A few months ago, whilst living in New Zealand I had the opportunity to visit two community gardens in the Tauranga region of the Bay of Plenty. These gardens had been created by a local charity, the Good Neighbour Trust, to help bring communities together. Sharing knowledge and produce, socialising and supporting – neighbours building neighbourhoods – places where people have a sense of belonging. The Trust’s aim was simply to transform communities through simple acts of generosity and kindness.

Community gardens have been shown to have a very positive effect on physical and mental health. A report by Essex University proposed five evidenced based ‘Ways to Wellbeing’ – connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, give. Community gardens provide an ideal environment for people to connect, socialise and make friends, be active, observe the natural world, share knowledge and experience, give time, share abundance and help others.

Going back to ‘simple acts of generosity and kindness’. Last week I purchased six pallets from Shropshire Pallets and explained that I needed them the show garden. The following day I returned as I needed two more and was given them free of charge. It really made my day. So a big thank you to Shropshire Pallets.

What do I need the pallets for? I’ll show you next week!

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Enjoy the week ahead.

Carol

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

IHEU: Help us protect humanists at risk

The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) has started up a fund to defend humanists under threat.

Over the last 5 years, the IHEU has led the way in providing advocacy and support for humanists at risk around the world.

The IHEU is at the forefront of identifying and raising awareness of a disturbing new trend:

— growing violence and discrimination targeted at non-religious individuals and groups around the world.

We want to continue highlighting and campaigning on this topic and defending individual humanists at risk. And we need your help.

Here are just some of the ways your gift may help:

•  £20 would cover the cost of producing a letter of support for someone whom IHEU has verified is at risk and who is claiming asylum
• £100 could fund direct personal advisory support between IHEU officers and individuals at risk
• £400 could support a high-level meeting between IHEU and representatives at international institutions such as the United Nations
• £700 could fund one of our Member Organizations from a hostile country to be represented as part of our delegation at the UN Human Rights Council
•  £2,000 could support someone whom IHEU has verified as at risk to their life to get to safety

In countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and the Maldives, humanist bloggers and activists have been repeatedly targeted by Islamist militants, and even murdered for their work. These are humanists, championing human rights, equality, and bravely daring to confront fundamentalism, even when surrounded by hostile groups.

And in thirteen countries around the world, the non-religious can be put to death under laws against ‘apostasy’ and ‘blasphemy’. In Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Mauritania this is a very real threat, with multiple people currently accused of ‘apostasy’ and facing possible death sentences.

We need your support to help humanists at risk.

We work on this issue in three main ways:

• Through the publication of our annual Freedom of Thought Report, the IHEU provides a detailed overview of areas where the law, policy and practice of states discriminates against the non-religious. The report advances human rights by 1) leveraging criticism against countries where the human rights of the non-religious are infringed, 2) highlighting individual case studies of violence and discrimination, and 3) opening up a new discussion at the international level around the targeted persecution of non-religious people specifically. With an innovative rating system, a new fully online edition, and the data openly published under a Creative Commons license, the IHEU publication sets a class-leading standard for civil society reports on novel human rights topics.

(Map showing aggregated data from the Freedom of Thought Report on the level of legal discrimination and persecution against the non-reilgious around the world. More info.)

• In our advocacy and campaigns work we champion human rights. At the United Nations we highlight persecution of the non-religious and raise individual cases at the highest level. For example, last week we gave voice to Ensaf Haidar, whose husband Raif Badawi has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for five years, for advocating liberalism and secluarism. In her statement, delivered by IHEU’s representative, Ensaf said: “The peaceful expression of opinion and thought is a non-negotiable human right. It is the right of all human beings with no exception. I call on the very Council charged with the protection and promotion of human rights to do more to pressure its member Saudi Arabia to release my husband and all others like him, jailed and mistreated for standing up for the human rights of all.” The IHEU also provides coordination for the End Blasphemy Laws campaign, an international coalition of organisations which seeks to highlight the discriminatory nature of blasphemy laws, in-line with the policy of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.

(The IHEU co-founded the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws which runs the End Blasphemy Laws campaign.)

• On top of all this research, advocacy and campaigning, the IHEU has taken up casework and championed persecuted individuals, advising and supporting people who are living under threat, or seeking asylum or humanitarian assistance. The IHEU has helped numerous individuals to relocate or otherwise find greater security after being targeted for expressing their humanist values or secularist criticisms.

(The threat is a horrible reality! Yameen Rasheed was killed in April by suspected Islamist militants. IHEU had met him in Geneva earlier this year, where he was championing human rights. After his brutal murder, he was described in the media by a friend as a “humanist”, and “a very bright mind”.)

The IHEU has been recognised as a global leader in highlighting the persecution of Humanists, atheists and secularists under the human rights framework. This year the work of IHEU was recognised by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief as the only civil society contribution in their first report to the Human Rights Council. The work of IHEU has transformed the way that human rights for non-religious people are seen, drawing world-wide attention to the targeted violence and systematic discrimination faced in many countries.

Now is the time to support us.

Please give today and help us to defend humanists at risk around the world.

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The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization incorporated in New York, USA. And registered in England, number FC020642.

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As an alternative to GoFundMe you can give via iheu.org/donate.

Or by bank transfer to:

Account name: “International Humanist and Ethical Union”
Sort code: 20-41-41
Account number: 50958840
SWIFT code: BARCGB22
IBAN number: GB59BARC20414150958840.

Please use “WHD2017” as the payment reference.

Or you can send a cheque / check payable to “International Humanist and Ethical Union” to our office address:

International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)
39 Moreland Street
London EC1V 8BB
United Kingdom

We will acknowledge all donations and we can provide a receipt on request.

The Final Countdown – 8 Weeks To Go

Eight weeks to go before construction starts on ‘Sundance’ the Humanist Garden at the Shrewsbury Flower Show.

It’s been a busy week, mainly because I moved into my new home in Shrewsbury. All my worldly goods have been in storage for six months so it was quite a surprise to open boxes and discover the contents. Less exciting has been trying to find a home for everything.

As I mentioned last week, the garden uses companion planting. Companion planting and permaculture are an essential part of the ethos of the garden. Permaculture is built on a foundation of ethical principles – caring for the planet, caring for others, sharing abundance. Using techniques from indigenous peoples around the world, permaculture embraces traditional (pre-industrial) agriculture, and influences from other cultures.

Companion planting is the technique of growing compatible crops together such as maize, beans and squash – also known as ‘the three sisters’. The corn provides a climbing frame for the beans. The beans are nitrogen fixers and improve the soil. And the squash provide ground cover and suppress weeds.

In addition to the three sisters the garden will also have tomatoes, chillies and onions growing together. Herbs and flowers are also very beneficial in a variety of ways. For example, between them, camomile, marigold and comfrey enrich the soil by providing calcium, potassium, phosphorus, silicon, nitrogen, and magnesium. Nasturtiums attract black fly away from beans and sunflowers attract pollinators.

In the week ahead, as well as nurturing plants, I hope to get started on the batik panels for the screens. More about batik next week.

Have a lovely week – I think it’s going to warm up a bit!
Carol Seager

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