And a creative question for you — that also has nothing whatsoever to do with paper mache…
Last month I started making some big changes to the front of my house, and the project has taken up most of my creative energy. That’s my excuse for not producing any paper mache sculptures lately.
First, I decided to hire someone to take down a roof thingy that extended from the front door over the front walk and out to the mailbox – the thing is impossible to describe, and I took no “before” photos, but now I wish I had. Once the structure was reduced to a small stack of lumber, I started to design a garden window to increase the amount of light coming into my enclosed front porch. I wanted to use as much of the used lumber as I could. I tried Google Sketch-Up, which is much easier to use than I thought it would be.
I have absolutely no carpentry skills whatsoever, and I have never once been able to measure a board accurately or cut one straight. However, the window did get finished, and although it looks quite rough and no carpenter should ever be allowed to see it, it does work. I built the window frame on my back deck and moved it out to the front as soon as the bottom support was finished.
Of course, we got some snow the day after the Solexx plastic was attached to the frame. (Sun for the first time yesterday – finally!)
I sharpened my shovel yesterday and started digging up the rest of the front yard. It’s looking more like a farm every day. I bought some 20′ rebar to make arches for the runner beans, and I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can plant them. And the chickens are doing well – 4 eggs a day, every day, since the middle of January.
The chicken’s outside run has a layer of straw and leaves about 8 to 10 inches deep. It keeps them busy scratching for the worms underneath, and they’re turning it into a very nice mulch that should make the veggies happy. I also let them out in the yard to search for grass and bugs for a few hours every day (when there’s no snow…) and I’m currently busy fencing off the garden so they won’t eat the peas before I do.
See – I have been busy. Not much time for paper mache lately, but I keep coming up with ideas for later.
Speaking of ideas, remember to submit your ideas for the Practical Paper Mache project. We need as many ideas as we can get before the May 30 deadline. Which reminds me – I don’t think I’ve told you about Deyana’s paper mache boat. Click on that link and go check it out – the kids are loving it.
Now, for that creative question:
I saw an idea over on the Transition Town Totnes website that I really liked – but from what I can see on their site, the idea didn’t really go anywhere. I thought I’d share the idea with you and see if you can come up with some suggestions that would help make a similar program work here, in my town.Or in yours, too, if you think the idea is good enough.
This is really similar to what we’re already doing on this blog with the Practical Paper Mache project, but doing it locally. Everyone has a skill or knowledge that other people would like to learn, and most people enjoy teaching their skills to other people. Getting the teachers and learners matched up is the challenge. For instance, I’d like to learn a bit about welding, and I’d like to re-learn how to knit. I have a real hankering from some home-made wool socks. I would enjoy teaching a few people how to do a bit of paper mache, or how to keep some chickens happy.
A formal classroom isn’t needed for that kind of skill-sharing, and no tuition should be needed. Just a few new friends showing each other how to do things that will make their lives more interesting.
So – here’s the place where your suggestions would be great. My concerns with starting something like that are:
- If the skill-sharing program revolves around a website, how do you get the word out around town without spending any money?
- How do you keep the program very informal, so no one person is “in charge,” except for the person who keeps the website updated?
- How can people feel comfortable sharing their skills in their own homes or gardens, when they may not know the people who come to learn? This a safety issue, especially since many of the best teachers will probably be elderly. Conducting the classes at a senior center would work for some things, but not for tree pruning or herb gardening…
- How can a website be set up so that it’s easy to submit a request for a teacher, or for a teacher to announce an informal class? Has anyone seen a website that does this sort of thing well?
- And, most importantly, do you think this idea could work? If it was set up in your town, do you think you’d personally be willing to participate? What kinds of skills would you be willing to share with your neighbors, and what skills would you like to learn?
So get your thinking caps on. Keep your practical paper mache projects coming, and chime in below if you have any ideas for how to set up this skill-sharing project. I’ve never done anything like this on a local level (oddly enough, websites are easier for me on an international scale, because I haven’t really learned much about local search. And, being a hermit doesn’t help much, either…).
OK – your turn. Add your suggestions in the comment box below.