Thursday, February 23, 2017

Backyard Project: 2 Garden Sheds' Foundations Take Shape

Off-set Pegs - these are a good sign.
They mean the area is being surveyed for the 2 Garden Sheds' foundations.

The bobcat is levelling out the site. 
It is now raining most days so the site is becoming very muddy and working temperatures are much cooler.

Josh and Taylor construct the formwork for the concrete foundations. 
It is proving to be a challenge because the granite rock is not far below the surface. Some of the formwork has to be shaped to go up and over the rock.

Horizontal bars of reinforcing steel are tied in place.

The vertical reinforcing steel coming up in the middle of the walls is held in place with wooden boards and wires.

City Concrete Pumping arrives with the pump truck and crew.
The cement mixer is not far behind.

The pump hose is put in place over the farthest footing and the crew swings into action.

Taylor removes the formwork.
The newly poured foundations were covered with tarpaulins and left over the weekend to cure. Josh left the formwork up for an extra day just to be sure the concrete footings had enough strength before continuing the work.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Backyard Project: Machines Prepare the Ground for Foundations and Make a Wall

Heavy machinery has been brought in to prepare the ground for the sheds' foundations.
Josh is checking the work so far.

James is operating the digger to lift out the large chunks of blasted granite.

The angle of the deer fence in the background shows how much material needs to be moved to get an area of level ground to build on.

I have plans for these rocks but I don't want the soil on them. However, I am OK with leaving the rain to do the job of washing the soil off.

Then I saw Josh and Taylor hand loading the choice rocks into the Bobcat bucket while leaving the soil behind.

They took many bucket loads of rocks down the path to the Back Track.

Josh did such a great job building the stone wall I wanted. 

The Back Track now has a randomly-placed stone wall on the downhill side leading down towards the road, stopping at the tree. On the other side of the tree is where we make compost. The piece of cardboard in the foreground is the marker where the wall was to stop at the uphill end.
I wasn't keen on having the dirt with the rock because as soon as things start to warm up all sorts of wild plants will grow on the wall. I plan to get in ahead of this natural process and scatter plants seeds of my choice between the rocks. That will keep the unwanted plants at bay and I won't have to 'weed' the wall. That is the plan anyway.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Backyard Project: Propagation Room Progress Report

Taylor is brushing coats of sealer on lengths of tongue and groove cedar to be used as soffit on the Propagation Room ceiling. The arbour and pergola are able to conveniently hold the boards apart and off the ground, while they dry.

But at the end of each day, Taylor has to stack the boards away on this temporary shelving he has made under the temporary shelter made using the arbour and tarpaulins. We get regular rains at night and the cedar boards need to be kept dry so they won't warp. In the morning, he takes everything outside again for another coat of sealer, if there is no rain threatening. It reminds me of the days when one hung washing on an outside line while keeping an eye on the weather.

The plumber and his mate arrived and installed pipes from the drain hole in the roof and across to the downspout.

The electrician arrived and installed lighting for the room.
This work will be all covered up by the cedar soffit boards.
So there is good progress on the Propagation Room.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Backyard Project: 3 Garden Structures Currently Being Worked on

Garden Structure One. Kyle has set up a work area to make formwork.

The forms are stacked on the patio near where the Garden Sheds are to be built.

Garden Structure 2. Another delivery of lumber is carefully unloaded...

...then stacked under the arbour and protected by a tarpaulin. A temporary tarpaulin roof further protects the stacked lumber from the heavy rains.
The lumber will be used to make the Propagation Room.

Garden Structure 3. Taylor has spent days digging a trench in the rocky ground from the new Pergola ... the nearest source of power. 
The electrician arrived and installed the cable and the power outlet on the nearest pergola post.

Taylor took great care while he was digging to keep the different soils separate. The power cable has been laid and he is now just as carefully replacing the soil in the right order back in the garden bed.
I was interested to see just how deep the topsoil layer in the Rock Garden beds has become after building it up over the past 3 seasons. It will be ready to plant with perennials in the spring.

Work is currently going on in 3 different sites. It is Josh, the team leader, who keeps the supplies coming, decides on the tasks each day and keeps his team working efficiently. He is doing a great job.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

1000 Posts - Art Deco Posts are the Most Popular

Madeleine Vionnet:
Here is another luscious Madeleine Vionnet creation.
In celebration of my 1000th post, I am looking back at the most popular posts, the ones that have been viewed the most often.

The most popular post by far was 'Madeleine Vionnet and Art Deco' Here

The 2nd most often viewed post is also related to my Art Deco studies - 'Art Deco Art on the Figure' here.

A Coco Chanel dress from the Art Deco era.

A detail shows the rich velvet with burn-outs on a silk ground.

The 5th most viewed post was also on the subject of Art Deco fashion, 'Art Deco in England' here
It was a bit of a trick post title because it is about my having sent a module of work to England to be assessed, during my long-distant degree studies. The unit of work focused on an analysis of the Art Deco period.

Molyneux Dress - 1926 - by Edward Molyneux (French (born England), 1891-1974) - Silk:
Here is a beautiful, Art Deco period dress by UK-born designer Edward Molyneux. This dress can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum.

Conclusions - Art Deco lovers do lots of internet searches. Or, there is a lot of interest in the Art Deco period.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Colour Studies in the Green Shed Studio

Backyard Project posts have dominated my blog lately and you may be wondering if I am ever in my studio. 
To answer the question - Yes. I am working on a big project that will culminate in at least 2 exhibitions.

'Colour: A Personal Response' is a project I am working on with fibre artist Sarah McLaren.

It involves doing colour studies in paint and fabric.

I am making large paintings of 24 different colours.
Apart from a Jane Davies workshop, see blog post here  I am not trained in painting so I am just feeling my way. My intention with these paintings is very clear and it is keeping me at it for many hours. I am beginning to pick up a feel for moving the paint around. I am also even more conscious of Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours rule.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Backyard Project: Pergola and Arbour Take Shape Pulling the Design Together

More cedar posts are popping up each time I look out of my studio window.
It is like a forest is growing. The design plan was a large number of vertical elements would look and feel like a forest echoing the Douglas-fir forest surrounding the Backyard Project site.

The view from my studio porch.
I like the way the studio porch posts are the same size, material and construction method as the pergola and arbour. It serves to connect the spaces.

Josh had a big question for us this morning. 
How high do we want the cross beams on the arbour and the pergola? Jonathan Aitken, the architect, said to make the arbour cross-beams lower than those on the pergola. 
Josh put up a horizontal piece of wood to help us visualise a height. 

I designed the path to be wide enough for the lawn tractor and trailer to travel along and around the corners of the arbour easily. I settled on a width of  7' 5". I also wanted a square shape to each section of the arbour to repeat the square grid and cubes that make up the design module the house is based on. Therefore the finished top height of the pergola is to be 7' 5".

With the big decision made everyone was able to get back to work.

The cross beams look higher now than they will be when all is finished because there are 3" of gravel to go in along the paths.

Josh as an experienced wood craftsman is making sure the intersections and joints are a neat fit. 

This is a very exciting stage for me. I developed the concept design for the Backyard Project then we got Jonathan Aitken to work his architectural science and arts magic on the space and structures.

But I still felt as though I have been holding my breath or crossing my fingers that the reality will match my imaginings. So it is such a thrill to now be able to walk around and through the space and feel good about it. 
I will write a future post explaining the guidance I took from A Pattern Language when I designed this area.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Backyard Project: 1st Post for Arbour and Pergola Raised

6" x 6" cedar posts have been delivered so construction of the pergola and arbour can begin.
First Kyle measures twice...

...then he cuts.

To get your bearings, Taylor is standing in the arbour and the upside down wheelbarrow is in the middle of the pergola.

Taylor evens out the ground...

...and fills in around the footings. 
A metal 'U' shaped anchor brace has been added to every footing.

Kyle and Josh check their installation of the first post.

Yes, they are happy with their work.
The raising and installing of the posts have begun.