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

SHG at Cultural Diversity Day in Shrewsbury, 22 July

Shropshire Humanist Group will have a stall at Cultural Diversity Day in The Square, Shrewsbury, from 12 to 4 pm on Saturday 22 July.

We are doing this to show that we welcome diversity, support human rights, and stand against discrimination.

Although we live without religion, we support cultural and religious freedom, as well as the freedom to live without religion.

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

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

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