I was commissioned, through my role as ‘animator’ in the children’s garden at evergreen brick works, to find some free, functional solution to children compacting the roots of newly planted trees in the garden.
each one of the baskets is made with a different technique and material. this is black locust removed from competing with native shrubs on the brickworks site by tuesday night site stewardship volunteers, installed and woven in chimney court by volunteers for the saturday public program.
This odd one is made of oak posts which i harvested when an old tree fell on rosedale valley road during a storm in 2009, long wired boughs of pine and spruce which used to be wreathes, were woven over, and then we put up a sign that said “WANNA PUT CLAY ON THIS FENCE? PLEASE DO” and they did. many kids with their hands, through their parents or with sticks used old clay left over from the cob house pictured in the background, to finish installing this ‘clay’ tree basket.
this wee fence is made in the style of the ‘brush hut’. this conventional survival shelter is based around the idea that if you are going to make a shelter out of sticks, and just tie them together at the top, there is little head room in the space, unless of course you use 18′ poles as in a tipi. so instead you make two rings of uprights and infill between with any form of brush. thereafter you lay your rafters on top and have more formal ‘walls’ and a roof, without relying on more complex building technologies. this is also designed as a kind of loose parts garbage collector, since in chimney court we put much emphasis on building and rebuilding shelters out of sticks, we have hundreds of orphaned sticks just laying about. this design allows for the orderly clean up of the childrens’ space, so they can build the garbage into something useful.
this last one is situated at the entrance to chimney court, again the manifestation of the educational principles of evergreen, the not-for-profit organization who currently runs the evergreen brick works project, where i have been working in multiple roles for 6 years. This is an adaptation of wattle and daub, a hilariously named medieval technology of building walls, where you begin with the wattle, a loose term for a kind of weaving with small sticks, and then daub it! with cob. cob, in case you have not been indoctrinated into the natural materials of the environmental art/education uprising yet, is a natural building material that utilizes and takes advantage of the inherent qualities of clay, by mixing it with sand, so it shrinks less, and some kind of fiber like straw for structural integrity. it is applied with water as the vehicle, and dries by air, making one of the most widely applicable building materials the world over, since it does not require a kiln to fire the clay.
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Posted on July 23, 2012 January 6, 2020 Format Image
Categories biodiversity, branch wood economy, brickworks, creative play, environment, environmental art, evergreen brick works, harvesting invasive plants, invasive species, natural building, natural installations, natural materials, nature, permaculture, plants, playground, skills, stick wood, traditional technology, weeds
“Land design and management informed by permaculture principles tends to regard naturalized species of plants as assets that should be managed to stabilize water and soil, build biomass, fix nutrients, ameliorate microclimate and provide habitat, fodder, fuel and food in the early stages of system development.While naturalized species may be given a lower value in permaculture design than species regarded as indigenous to the site and region, the typical designation of naturalized species as ‘invasive species’ or ‘environmental weeds’ is typically rejected as anti-ecological thinking.”
David Holmgren quoted from “Weeds or wild nature: a permaculture perspective” in
Plant Protection Quarterly Vol.26(3) 2011