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Alison Maddaugh
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Last weekend we visited Free Spirit Nursery in Langley - what an inspiration!  Owners Lambert and Marjanne Vrijmoed have had the creativity, patience and skill to create wonderful gardens, propagate their collections for the nursery, and have fun experimenting (check out Lambert's beautiful woven willow structure!)

In the spring and fall the they offer tours of the gardens before the nursery opens - so great!
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2015-06-24
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Mitsuru Senda's1992 publication 'Design of Children's  Play Environments' is a great resource.   He notes "My research sugggests that satisfactiry play space and equipment have the following seven requirements:

1. There must be a circulation of play. That is to say, there must be a clear flow of movement which comprises one big activity.

2. The process must be safe but rich in variety.

3. The process must not be singularly patterned and must have shortcuts and bypasses. 

4. The process must entail symbolic high places.

5. The process must contain parts where children can experience 'dizziness'. 

6. The process must offer large and small gathering places. 

7.  The process as a whole must not be closed. It must be open and have a number of access routes."
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The expanded bike lane and sidewalk at Second Narrows bridge is open! And it's not for those of queasy stomachs - the thing bounces considerably when big trucks go by.   Now we're just waiting for the west side to be completed too... 
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2015-02-23
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Visited Ken Lum's  'Vancouver Especially (A Vancouver Special scaled to its property value in 1973, then increased by 8 fold)' installation on our way to the New Year's parade.  It really hits you, to see this physical translation of real estate value. 

And it insppired me to re-visit his work 'From shangri-la to shangri-la' - a scaled replica of three squatter's cabins at Maplewood Flats. 
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2015-02-23
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Just returned from the James Hitchmough lecture at Vancouver Special - he and Nigel Dunnett created the brilliant meadow plantings at the London Olympic Park.  

His work is fantastic and fun, and questions the values we place on native vs introduced species.  As the head of the Dept. of Landscape at the University of Sheffield, much of the success of his plantings is grounded in research investigating things like germination rates, testing species for stress-resilience, determining ratios for seed mixes etc.   He presented the following video, which shows some of his process... 
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We recently visited Ann Hamilton's latest exhibit at the Henry in Seattle, 'the common SENSE'. 

Drawing from the university archives Hamilton has created an experience that allows visitors to curate their own collection - you are invited to rip images of animal specimens off the walls and select texts to take home with you.  

The key thing about the images though,  is that they will not be replaced once they're gone.  I felt self-conscious physically tearing images off the gallery walls (um - this is allowed, right?) and about the sharp sound it made in the silent space.   I also felt guilty that my own covetous desire to take several images meant that others might go without.  The implicit connections to extinction and endangered habitats was translated into physical sensation.  And of course, Hamilton is a master of embodiment. 

Then the bullroarer installation... well, I've already written too much.  Let's just say it was great. 
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Any guesses for how much money it costs to move a 250 yr Oak tree about 500 ft? The technique is remarkable...
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A great application of perforated steel at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto.  The pattern from two overlapping pieces is beautiful...
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2014-10-18
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At the PNE this weekend we checked out the playhouse designs - concept by Patkau, HCMA, Shape, DA and camera.  The winner will be constructed for next year's fair (and thrown into the package for the PNE prize home).
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