Ley Lines

I have just finished a wonderful day at Lakeside Arts Centre working with families exploring the artwork of Michelle Stuart.  The families explored mark making as a way of creating stories and finding ways to link special places with our own ‘Ley Lines’.

The families also collaborated to create a special interconnected piece outside in the park, with the same principles of highlighting their interpretation of fault lines and Ley lines.

Michelle Stuarts exhibitions runs until 14th April 2013 at the Lakeside Arts Centre.

Parents build sand pit

Continuing the wonderful collaboration with Parents at Ogley Hay Nursery School is always a pleasure. The teachers and governors have given us the outdoor environment to design and create new teaching resources, that enable more learning opportunities for the children.

The parents have worked with me to design the various spaces, resource materials and learn new skills.  The parents used their charm, children and pushchairs to get local companies to donate towards the costs.

Having worked with the school for over 5 years we have slowly and continuely developed our thinking around learning outside.  The family of teachers, parents, governors and the children had the seal of approval last month when we were awarded ‘Outstanding‘ in an OFSTED inspection.

We are continuing our work throughout the year so look out for other entries on the blog.

Green Roof Construction

I have just finished building a green roof on top of an outdoor classroom at Iona School, Nottingham.

Working with other parents we clad the roof with plywood and EPDM liner, ready for gravel and the clumps of earth from around the site. Hopefully the wildlife and plants will thrive, creating a wonderful spirit for the children to learn and seek shelter outdoors in the spring and summer.

Round Timber Framing Course

I spent a wonderful week at Wholewoods learning how to work with round timber for building structures.  I explored butter pat, scribe housing and mortice and tenon joints, to inspire and enable me to start to apply this to my own building projects.  We also played with creating self supporting reciprocal roofs, oak shingles and pegging for joints.  This was a beautiful course and I am currently exploring ideas behind creating an off-centre reciprocal roof above my clay cob oven.

Using Time Positively (VI)

I needed to create an inexpensive way to insulate my studio, whilst encouraging wildlife and making it look beautiful.

Firstly, I reinforced the roof inside to compensate for the extra weight. I secured a layer of insulation on top of the existing felt roof and then lay a waterproof membrane down. Overlaying this with a large piece of old carpet.  This helps the reclaimed brick to sit on the pitch roof without slipping and encourage roots and water retention.   After I had batterned across the whole structure and created broken brick drainage into water butts, I dug the chicken coup out and mixed this into the reclaimed brick.

I finished it all off with 6 different varieties of sedum cuttings taken off my garage roof earlier in the year.  My kids helped plant over 500 sedum plugs, finding bits of broken tiles, mirror, springs, plates and marbles in the broken brick as they went.  Over all I only spent £100 on all the materials.