Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Backyard Project: Attaching the Propagation Room to the House


How to attach another room to a house.

The stringers with support brackets for the joists.

It was a lot of work to take the old stringers off the side of the house then replace the various barriers and sealers.


The new stringer in place.

I don't know what those sticking out bits of wood are called but the first joist is nailed to them.

And there it is - the ceiling for the propagation room.
The roofing team came while I was away so I missed seeing the torched-on roof being put on. A shame because they work with flames to melt the rolls of bitumen in place. It is the same sort of roof as on the studio.


Friday, December 2, 2016

Backyard Project - Propagation Room Walls

The Plan
Jonathan Aitken, Aitken Design, adesign@telus.net, is the architect.
This project fits with his speciality - designing the space between the inside and the outside. During his student days, he focused on researching Asian design, particularly Japanese and Chinese.

Those buried footings now have metal brackets bolted to them.

A delivery - beautiful cedar posts. There will be no need to paint or finish this wood. Once the posts are installed they will age gracefully and last a long time in this seasonal rainforest climate.


The posts are in place.
The size matches the ones used in the house design.
After the construction crew has left for the day I am enjoying walking around the 'room' visualising how it will look, and work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Backyard Project - Making and Pouring Concrete

This Arbutus overlooks all of the activity in the backyard.
This year it has a magnificent crop of berries - they are plentiful and large. 
The tree is alive with birds feasting.

Josh gets the power tools ready for the day's work.
I think the blue one is a generator and the one with wheels will drive the cement mixer.

A saw with its own fancy cutting table.

The cement mixer is placed beside the bags of cement that got delivered the day before.

The concrete has been made and put in place.
Not sure what Josh is doing with those boards.

The concrete is being levelled off then left to set.

All that work for this. 
The wooden formwork has been removed and the holes filled in. 
All that shows is the part the post will be attached to.

There must be another delivery coming soon.



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Backyard Project vs. Studio Work

You might think with all of my postings about the Backyard Project that not much is going on in my studio. 

Here are some pics to show that I am working in my studio...

...until there is action outside.
Delivery of the cement.

This is an impressive little 3-wheeled forklift.
It was easily able to manoeuvre along the paths to drop off its load conveniently close to the job site.

These bags of cement will be mixed to make the concrete footings for the propagation room.

I have checked everything out. Now I can go back inside my studio to the work in hand.
The first school report I ever got had the comment "Lesley is easily distracted." 
As a 5-year old I had to ask my mother what that mean. 
Her answer, "If someone came to the door of the classroom you would look up." 
My reply, "Well how would I know who came to the door?" 
I guess that teacher nailed it, all those years ago.



Thursday, November 24, 2016

Backyard Project: Propagation Room Footings

Backyard Project - Phase 3
Construction begins with the removal of a deck.
This is where the propagation room is to be built.

Taylor lifts the pavers and digs holes for footings

New footings will be poured either side of the old ones that don't need to be removed.

Framing up for the new footings. 
The crew is recycling wood from the old deck to make the framing.

The pavers are stacked up until they will be relaid.

View from above. The framework is finished and ready for the concrete.
It is exciting to see the next phase of the Backyard Project underway.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Carol Soderlund Workshop - 'TRUE COLORS: Developing a Personal Palette'

Carol's samples of dyed fabric using different sets of primary colours.

In the fall I attended a Carol Soderlund workshop at the Pacific Northwest Art School.
'TRUE COLORS: Developing a Personal Palette'

Building a reference for my chosen personal palette.

Early in the week, I met one-on-one with Carol for my Palette Chat where I showed her my chosen palette. While looking at Carol's sample binders with over 80 different colour families she helped me pick a selection of primary colours to work with over the rest of the week.


The 1st class exercise was a group one where we each dyed a set of samples using different primaries. These were cut up  and shared so everyone had small samples for their own binder.

The Big Squeeze Dye Technique

This was one of my favourite techniques Carol showed us. 
It is a very quick way to get a range of values while shifting the hue.

Lovely results from another student using another simple dyeing technique.

This other technique also produced a shift in value and hue while using only 3 primary colour dyes.

Here are my samples. I also incorporated folding the fabric to produce a pattern.

Using this technique one could produce a lot of more randomly dyed, multi-coloured fabric easily and with minimal washout.

My Dye Table

Not only did I learn so much more about colour over the week I also came away with an understanding of many more dyeing techniques. I now know how to dye fabric in a specific colour palette for any future bodies of work.
Thank you Carol for another exceptional workshop
Carol will be back at Pacific Northwest Art School next year, September 9 - 13, 2017 to teach 'In the Thick of It,' a workshop about ways to use thickened Procion MX dyes on fabric.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Back Yard Project: Applying More Pattern Language Principles

Rough sketches for the Lower Patio.
I am working on designs for the lower patio area where a broken down hot tub was removed. It is the most sheltered and sunniest place on the lot and I want to take advantage of the site conditions to grow plants.

I laid out some stakes to work out the optimum size of the raised beds. I placed a chair to help me visualise sitting in the warm spot amongst the flowers.
Pattern Language #241 is a 2-star pattern meaning it is a very important design consideration.
Problem: Where outdoor seats are set down without regard for view and climate, they will almost certainly be useless.
Solutions for locating outdoor seats, sitting walls, stair seats, garden seats need these characteristics:
1. Benches facing directly onto pedestrian activity.
2. Benches open to the south for sun exposure during winter months.
3. A wall on those sides where the winter winds come down. p. 1120
My design satisfies the first 2 characteristics being south facing and elevated to look down over the activity in the backyard. I am hoping the lower seating level and the raised beds full of plants will protect the area from the winds the site gets from Elk Lake about a kilometer away. Experience has shown the winds tend to be deflected up over the house as the land rises and I think the arbour and pergola will also serve to deflect the wind.

In the meantime, I can begin soil building.
The first step is to remove all of the big rocks in the soil.

I am sorting the rocks into rounded river rock that was brought onto the site by the previous owners and the native blasted rock most of which was created before the house foundations were built.
These different types of rock will be used for different purposes elsewhere on the site.
Choosing good spots for outdoor seats is far more important than building any fancy benches. Indeed, if the spot is right, the most simple kind of seat is perfect. p. 1120.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rainy Season on Vancouver Island

There are really only 2 seasons on Vancouver Island - the wet season and the dry season.


Here are the dates of the first rain - the beginning of the wet season - over the past few years.
2014 - September 17
2015 - August 28
2016 - August 30

October 2016 it rained 27 days out of 31.
It has been the 2nd wettest October since 1940.

All of this rain has been a real test for the drainage systems in the new back yard. I am pleased to report there has been no sign of water in the sunken Gravel Bed garden. This time last year it looked like we were building a swimming pool.

And the hugelkultur beds seem to be absorbing all the rain they can get without any surface erosion.

I am very glad I left the garden beds either covered in big-leafed plants or a thick layer of straw as protection from the impact of all those raindrops on the soil.

The Backyard project Phase 3 construction began the last week of September when the old deck was taken off. And work has continued throughout one of the wettest seasons on record. Rain doesn't stop the work but it slows things down, things get very muddy and it can't be as much fun as working on a sunny day.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Articulation's 2016 Study Session in Gimli

First stop out of Winnipeg on the way to Gimli was at Arnason's Icelandic Horse Farm.

One of the few places in the world outside Iceland where these distinctive horses can be found.
For more about these unique horses visit Articulation's blog here

Rock Art - Boat - Gimli
The reason why Articulation went to Gimli was to study Icelandic culture.
Gimli (New Iceland) is the largest Icelandic settlement outside Iceland. Back in 1875 and 1876 more than 1,000 Icelandic immigrants settled on the western shore of Lake Winnipeg on land the Canadian government gave them to govern independently. 

We found Icelandic textiles old (as above in the Gimli museum) and new in the local shops.


A Whitefish boat up on the hard. 
Evidence of the early dependence on fishing in Lake Winnipeg was found in many places up and down the western shore.

Hecla historic home
The Icelandic immigrants brought with them their architecture and woodworking skills.

Pickeral and wild rice
We sampled Canadian/Icelandic food whenever we came across it.
For more about Articulation's time in and around Gimli, check their  blog  here.