Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Back yard Project: Eagerly Anticipated Shed Cladding Begins


It was a big day when the cladding crew arrived. It was the same crew who worked on the studio and did such an excellent job.
The first stage of the job is the most time consuming and detailed.

Nortek Exteriors is the great company we have worked with.

All of the edge pieces need to be measured, cut, shaped and secured in place. 

The design of the 2 sheds has many corners to test the skill level of the crew but they have proven they are up to the job.

Every power outlet needs its own little box constructed around it.
Sheet metal workers are trained to cut, shape and attach metal in a wide variety of applications including cladding aeroplanes and making cooling and heating ducting systems. It is most interesting to watch them at work with their wide variety of tools - hand and electrical.

The first of many corners is clad.



On to cutting the steel sheets to fit. 
Sheet metal workers need to have strong spatial skills including the ability to read lines making positive and negative shapes.

Whoo hoo! The first interior wall is clad - now all of the corners and edges have been covered.

My potting area has its interior cladding.
Meanwhile, Josh is working in wood tidying up the cladding of the house where more of the foundations have been exposed.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Backyard Project: Many tasks going on at the same time this week

Project Area: Windows installed by Josh.

Different work crews worked in different areas around the Backyard Project job site this week with Josh coordinating them all.

Sheds: The shed doors were delivered and put inside their respective sheds. 

Irrigation and House Siding: Josh and Mike consult on where the irrigation pipe will go along the side of the house so it fits in with the tidy up of the siding Josh is planning to do on the recently exposed foundation wall.

Propagation Room: Now the paving crew has left Josh has reinstalled the propagation table.

Irrigation: Mike does a test and makes adjustments to all of the sprinkler heads and sets up all of the different zone programs.

Shed Cladding: A flatbed truck arrives with the shed cladding material, corrugated steel sheets, the same as the cladding on the studio.

Unloading the Steel Sheets: The operator uses a remote controller to offload the heavy pack of steel sheets from the truck to a location as close as possible to where they are needed.

Steel Sheets on Lower Patio: It takes 4 people to get the steel sheet package in position on the lower patio. Each sheet has to be carried up 9 steps and along the upper patio to the sheds but it is the closest flat location strong enough to support the weight. I hope the new paving is up to it.

Shed Doors: Josh installed the doors

Propagation room: Josh reinstalled the upper shelf.

Propagation Room: Josh installed the waterproof layer on the propagation table.

Josh did a great job coordinating all of the different tasks going on on the job site this week.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eco-Threads Exhibition at Coast Collective, Colwood

Eco-Threads is a juried exhibition put on jointly by Vancouver Island Surface Design Association and the Coast Collective in Colwood, on from June 28 to July 9, 2017. 
There will be an artists' reception from 3 to 5 pm followed by a themed fashion show from 7 to 9:30 pm.
All of the work juried into the exhibition and all of the garments in the fashion show have a connection with recycling, re-purposing, or reusing. Some are the result of a studio practice that is kind to the environment while others are about the environment.
The lovely image in the exhibition poster is Bryony Dunsmore's work.

Douglas-fir: Wind Drawing
I am happy to say my entry was juried into the exhibition.
It is about a Douglas-fir tree in our back yard. The middle part is a drawing done in ink by a branch of the tree on a windy day. The different fabrics are from old bedsheets. The middle one was composted under the tree canopy before being drawn on.
The exhibition is one of many being held during the Northwest Weavers Conference being held at the University of Victoria. The conference theme is 'Treddle Lightly.' It is completely sold out but the exhibitions and the Merchants Mall are open to the public.
It is going to be a fun weekend.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Backyard Project: Reworking the Pavers to 'Use What You Have'

A new collection of tools means a new crew has turned up.

The paving crew will make a major change to the feel and look of the place.

Josh took down the propagation table frame so the pavers could work easily in the area.

First, they evened out to soil base, placed and raked an even layer of sand then compact it with this noisy vibrating machine - a compactor or a wacky - depending where you come from.

What a transformation in the propagation area. I was so pleased to have less dirt tracked into my office as I come and go to the studio.

The crew then moved up to the lower patio area to add extra pavers to make the patio a more comfortable size to move around on.

It was the same area Josh and Taylor were working in forming up for the concrete walls but the teams were able to work around each other.

They took pavers out of here and added them there to make cleaner lines and more obvious pathways. All of the edges had to be set with concrete to keep them in place.

This area between the modified path and the gravel bed garden is a bonus garden bed I had not visualised previously. Now I can enjoy planning plantings in yet another garden bed.

The lower patio is enlarged and tidied up. It goes right up to the stone steps leading down to ground level.

The pavers are extended along the side of the house to the new shed area.

All of this paving has been done reusing the original pavers. Josh and Taylor were careful to not break any when lifting them out of the way before they started on the construction. It was one of the first things they did. Taylor stacked them away from all of the action to keep them safe. 
We had looked into getting more pavers but they would have had a different finish to these 13-year-old ones and would  have looked new so we wanted to make the most of every single one we had. 
There are 2 more places left where the pavers will be reworked and we have our fingers crossed there will be enough.
That permaculture principle is at work again - 'Use what you have.'



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Backyard Project: Hot Tub Area Converted to Hot Garden Bed

Equipment needed to convert a hot tub area into a hot garden bed - a noisy concrete drill, rebar, a rebar bender (out of sight).

After attaching rebar in strategic places Josh is building formwork to support concrete while it is setting, hardening and curing.

He is following Jonathan Aitkin's (architect) drawings ...

...who followed my very rough conceptual sketches.


Both sides of the formwork for the concrete walls are in place. Jonathan designed the concrete walls to be the same as the 2 concrete garden boxes on the right. These 2 concrete garden boxes are the only ones built like this in the whole place. They stood out. Being connected to a whole area of the same design they now look as though they belong. Once they are planted they will look even better.

The concrete wall makes a good sized garden bed on the east side. 
I have great plans for this spot.

Josh and Taylor put in a long day to get the concrete mixed and in place. This area is below 9 steps and above another 9 steps so it is rather an awkward place to work. Josh decided it was easiest to mix all of the concrete and place it by hand rather than get in machines. There wasn't enough concrete needed to justify a concrete truck with a pumper truck and telescoping hose to reach the spot. It took a lot of muscle power to carry bags of cement and wet mixed concrete all day. They did a great job.

The wet concrete was covered at night to keep the frost off it (this was back in March) and uncovered during the day.

Once the concrete had cured the clamps and formwork came off and viola, a garden bed area. Josh has to make the single step down into the area then my work can begin. I have already ordered some of the plants to go here.
Another structure in Phase 2  of the Backyard Project nearly completed

Monday, June 5, 2017

New Work: 24 Synesthesia Colour Studies

I continue to work on my Synesthesia colour studies.

I used lots of thread on this one.

For each colour, I also work in paint and fabric to show a range of tints, tones, shades and intensities of each colour.

I went pretty dark with this colour - mmmm one of my favourites.

When I am in full swing all of the horizontal surfaces in my studio are in use. While one thing is drying I can get on with something else. 

Making progress but still lots to do to finish this series.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Backyard Project: Rocks - Rocks - Rocks, 'Use What You have'

One of the principals of permaculture is to use what you have on the site.
What we have in abundance is rock - hard granite rock.
Above shows one of the sites where a huge boulder (or was it bedrock?) was blasted - I posted about it here. The site needed to be levelled out before the pergola could be built.

The biggest rocks were moved out of the pergola area to a temporary place near where they are to be used.

The middle-sized ones - the maximum size I can carry - have been used to edge garden beds. I like making rock garden edges. Taylor placed bigger rocks under the cedar fence to stop baby deer from crawling under it.

The smallest rocks from the site plus all of those on the to-be pathways and those I dig out of the garden beds are collected up and wheelbarrowed....

...to make a random rock edge on the right side of the pathway going up the east side of the house to the front. For the edge on the left of the path, I am fitting the rocks together to define Gunilla's garden bed. This was the first rock work I attempted and my skill level has improved so much since then I will be going back to rework this little wall.


Rock from the blast site where the sheds are to be built was moved by Josh using the Bobcat to make a random rock wall along the track, post here. The rock wall had a lot of soil as well which I didn't want because the seeds in the soil would grow and cover the rocks.

I spent many hours cleaning off the rocks with the frequent rains helping the job along.

Once I had cleared most of the soil off I scattered about 15 different types of seeds hoping they would germinate in the remaining soil pockets. 
It has been a lot of work moving these rocks in place but with good planning, we haven't had to move them far and we are making use of all of them. We will not have to pay for any rock removal.
"Use what you have" - check.