Posts tagged ‘art’

March 25, 2012

Chunky crayon recycling

by growingpeople

Safi spends a huge amount of time drawing – which we love. But it also means that because every single crayon in her enormous box has become several little baby crayons, the flat has been taken over by nearly unusable bits of broken Crayola showing up everywhere: inside my shoes, the washing machine, our bed…and they are always the first thing to be chucked all over the floor in angry protest at not being allowed to pour water in the Marmite jar or when asked to relinquish one of the four spoons being used for potion-making.

So partly under the guise of “this looks like a fun thing to do” but mainly because I’m sick of spending half my day picking shards of wax off the floor, we made these.  They work just like normal crayons and can even do multi-coloured squiggles, so the three of us can still do as much drawing together as we like, but the best thing about them is that there are only eight of them. Brilliant.

You will need: broken crayons, cupcake moulds, one compliant toddler who doesn’t mind you nicking her toys, oven on gas mark 1 for fifteen minutes.

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March 25, 2012

I like

by growingpeople

…the way my clever students at St Mary Magdelene Primary School use egg shells, empty tins and crisp packets for starting off seedlings. Happy days. Speaking of which, now is the time for starting more or less everything (keep the beans, tomatoes and pepper seedlings inside until May though, and hold off on sowing pumpkins, squash and courgettes at all until then).

July 15, 2011

Cooking with flowers

by growingpeople

This needs little introduction. Flowers are the extra ingredient that turn food into a work of art – these species are all suitable for small spaces and containers, and perhaps with the exception of lavender, you’ll need to grow your own as you won’t find them in the shops. Cooking with flowers by its very definition will always mean eating fresh food in season, and their short growing period makes them all the more special.

Lavender shortbread, thanks to theurbanfoodie

Chive blossom on toast, thanks to thekitchn

Elderflower cordial with white dianthus flowers and a lovage stalk straw, thanks to eggsontheroof, the most elegant food blog around – I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Calendula petal and Borage salad, thanks to frenchrecipe

Carrot and nasturtium soup, thanks to stumptownsavoury

Pansy cookies, thanks to stonegable

Courgette blossom fritata, thanks to harmoniouskitchen

 

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July 9, 2011

Secret London garden #4: Dalston Roof Park, Ashwin Street

by growingpeople

Initiated by the wonderful Bootstrap company, the development trust responsible for the funding of a multitude of local creative and social enterprises since 1977,  the Dalston Roof Park sits on top of the company’s Print House HQ .

The Roof Park is part food-growing project (in which local residents can participate), part astro turfed summer hangout and part cultural space, its summer program packed with film screenings, live music and poetry readings, complete with a pop-up bar serving cocktails, cider and other refreshing beverages.

Become a “Friend of the Dalston Roof Park”  (free and open to all) to get access to the Park at any time – you just need to fill out a form on Bootstrap‘s website.

The Roof Garden’s fourth-floor view of Dalston Lane’s mix and match approach to architecture


the re-purposed beach hut serves as pop-up bar on summer nights from 4pm

rocking the astro turf

May 25, 2011

Food maps and other things

by growingpeople

I’m a big fan of maps, and I’m lucky to be married(ish) to someone who draws them for a living. Reda has taught me much about the medium’s potential for analysis and presentation and together we are always on the look out for innovative ways of representing space and the information it holds.

With sustainable living and food growing being the issues “du jour”, there seems to be no end to the out pour of creativity which merges design and all things “green”, or which begs us to re-imagine the landscape we inhabit. The maps below are an assortment of some of my favourites.

Artist Ceri Buck’s Invisible Food map was commissioned and produced by Artangel Interaction with support from the National Lottery. It details the location of wild food growing on the Loughborough Estate in Brixton, South London.

Mikey Tomkins draws our attention to the vast amount of unused, potential food growing space in his “Edible Map of South Hackney”. Click here for the proper, interactive version.

These hand-coloured images were produced back in 2009 for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe). Concrete, tarmac, cement and brick have been removed, leaving only the green – gardens, parks and waterways.

Stephen Walter‘s hand drawn maps are possibly the best thing I’ve seen in recent years. The Island (2008), 140cm x 200cm, depicts the 33 London boroughs as a collection of supermarkets, pubs, CCTV cameras, clichés, secret goings on and hidden gems. It’s the kind of piece which will always offer something new, however many times you’ve seen it, and I urge you to explore it in full here.

Global meat imports

Global meat exports

Global fruit imports

Global fruit exports

worldmapper features nearly 700 maps, re-sized to present a range of startling information on subjects ranging from house prices to voting rights.

And finally…

This map of Hackney and Homerton from 1827 shows St. John’s Church, Well Street Common, the odd building and a whole load of fields. Morning Lane, Homerton Row and Paradise Row are unchanged, while Grove Road seems to have shifted South before it replaced Grove Street.

May 18, 2011

Vertical gardens

by growingpeople

I’ve spoken a lot about space saving vertical vegetable gardens already, but I’m coming across more and more ways of creating them that I’m eager to try. The beauty of these is just how many plants they can hold without encroaching on any of your limited floor space.

First, the recycled shoe storer by pippa5 on instructables. The pockets are deep enough to plant salads, spinach, flowers and herbs, but also tomatoes, strawberries, radishes and chard. The only way one of these ugly things should ever be used.

Next, the upright pallet garden by life on the balcony. The sides, back and base are lined with landscape fabric – a black porous materials made from natural synthetic fibers and available from garden centres – and the pallet is then filled with compost before being planted up. Leave the pallet lying flat for a couple of weeks to allow rooting to establish before positioning it upright.

I’m not sure about using this tin can garden for edibles as the metal may leach into the soil but these are perfect for planting flowers to attract beneficial insects. Punch a small holes in the bottom of each for drainage and staple-gun or nail them to a wooden fence.

And finally, not strictly vertical, or particularly productive for that matter, but oh so pretty, are Japanese artist Kochi Kawashi‘s “Manga Farms” – beautiful little sprout gardens inside recycled and water soaked comic books. You won’t get a massive crop out of them but such a novel way to grow a leaf or too. Kawashi has tried it with radish, buckweat, broccoli, rocket and basil.

April 24, 2011

Secret London Garden #1: The Scented Petal Garden, Wilton Way

by growingpeople

Starting off a new series of posts on London’s hidden green spaces is the Scented Petal Garden, situated within the grounds of Boscobel House on Royal Oak Road but best viewed from the pavement of Wilton Way (particularly on a sunny afternoon when the south-facing garden is bathed in light).

(l) a unicow, a penguin and flying fish watch over the garden, (r) Petra and one not very helpful helper

Maintained by the estate’s junior residents with support from the tirelessly brilliant Petra the garden is a frenzy of colour and creativity. The flowerbeds are watched over by Unicow, George the Ghost, Guerepowee (half gorilla half bee, since you ask) and Drumfly among other ingenious creatures, and the walls tell tales of blushing frogs, flying elephants and a gentlemanly worm.

Members of the Boscobel House Scented Petal Garden Club will be showing off their talents at the Wilton Way public street party on April 29th, unveiling their hand painted giant tea pot and two gold and gem laden rocking thrones alongside their many other creations.  The club will also have a designated wall space opposite the Wilton Way Café where party goers will be able to make their own artwork to take home with them as a souvenir of the day, and their handmade crowns will be passed down the street party banquet table so that grown-up partyers will get a chance to be King and Queen for the day.

April 13, 2011

Holiday ideas for kids (free and local!)

by growingpeople

Stuck for ideas on what to do with your kids this Easter?

Aside from the usual egg-decorating and treasure hunts going on around the capital this Easter holiday, there are several more unusual activities taking place that have me wishing I were a little bit younger or that my 6-month old were just a  little bit older…

The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden opened last year but seems to have blossomed this year into something truly remarkable. Sandwiched between the new Dalston Junction Overground station and the Kingsland Shopping Centre, it’s a little oasis of greenery in an otherwise decidedly urban area of Hackney. The volunteer gardening sessions take place every Saturday morning, but over the Easter holidays, the garden is putting on a huge range of free activities and workshops for children aged 5 to 12, including Scarecrow-making, poetry, garden den design and how to make “little windmills to help keep the birds away from all our new vegetable seedlings”. I’m so curious about that last one.

Tucked alongside the London Overground railway line, meters from Shoreditch High street on the Hackney and City of London borders, Spitalfields City Farm is another pocket of paradise in the city.  The farm’s Easter Play scheme runs from the 18th -21st April for kids aged 8 to 13 and includes gardening, horse riding, feeding and caring for the farm’s many animals, plus an offsite visit to the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. See here for the full details and timetable.

The Geffrye Museum on Kingsland Road is running several workshops including Turkish Tapestry weaving, Tea-leaf reading, and storytelling for children aged 3 to 5, 5 to 8, 8 and above and 11 and above. See here for full details.

Kentish Town City Farm is welcoming children aged 8 and above to muck in and help out at the farm over the Easter holidays.  There are also a few very reasonably priced workshops (£4 maximum), including pottery-making, singing and art for under 5s and the opportunity to help build a working clay oven for the farm.

The Museum of London is running Victorian Pharmacy workshops in which kids can explore the herbs and spices used in Victorian medicine, as well as design and make their own herbal cabinet to take home. Sessions are running for 12.30 to 2.30 on the 19th, 20th and 21st of April.

January 25, 2011

Images for a New Activism

by growingpeople

Sustainable living meets great graphic design in Green Patriot Posters: Graphics for a Sustainable Community, a new tear-out collection of posters edited by Dmitri Siegel and Edward Morris, featuring work from 50 contemporary artists including Shepard Fairey and Geoff McFetridge, and plugged in today’s Guardian.

William Etling: Sustain

Each of the pieces promotes awareness of climate change and ethical, sustainable lifestyles, taking inspiration from World War Two posters among other mid-century imagery. As well as featuring bold design, the artists have steered clear of tried and tested environmental slogans of the past, and throw out some real pearls like There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew, and Unplug and spend time with your family.

 

Green Patriot Posters

Chester and Tracy Jenkins: Unplug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by Metropolis Books in the US and Thames & Hudson in the UK, the book’s green credentials are top-notch, using 100% recycled paper and vegetable-based inks, as well as having used 100% wind power both in the production of the base materials and in the printing process. It’s available for purchase from Art Book and Amazon.

November 19, 2010

Edible Estates

by growingpeople

This summer, Capital Growth (the food-growing initiative for London fronted by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and London Food Link) launched Edible Estates, a competition open to residents of London’s housing estates, encouraging them to develop food-growing spaces on the land around their homes. 40 communities took part from Greenwich to Haringey and Lambeth to Tower Hamlets, and last month, the winners were announced at a special conference.

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