Tuesday, 22 July 2008

What daughters do for dads...



Andrew Hollins - or rather his daughter Bethany (My dad has the best shed ever so I hope he sends you a picture!) - contacted Shedman about his collection of original paintings by Australian artist Pete Browne. Shedman asked Andrew if he had a shed and here's his response:

'daughters!
they do set you up!
i do have a shed, but alas no pictures
and just like my life it is narrow, chaotic, cluttered but every now and again things of worth, beauty and even genius emerge!
used for running repairs to the house, garden and equipment
the most recent article to be finished was a house number for my mum - attached
as for the genius bit - still in development!



the originals of the pictures i sent by peter browne
double in price every 3 years! add to your shed collection and your income in one easy move!'

(Love that 17, says Shedman...)

By the way, Bethany works for the Royal Horticultural Society who happen to have a Flower Show this weekend at Tatton Park near Knutsford, Cheshire .

Note about Pete Browne:
'Peter Browne was born in 1947 in West Wyalong NSW.
Peter Browne claims to have been found under a sheet of tin in West Wyalong around 1947. Raconteur and scallywag, Peter moved into a ruin at Silverton and established it’s first art gallery, where he held court for travellers entertaining them in his almost roofless “renovated “ ruin for many years.' More about Pete at Outback Artist.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Watershed 5: The Lithuanian for shed

One of the joys of poetry festivals is meeting poets from many different backgrounds and traditions. Ledbury was no exception with poets from Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Syria. The preponderant representation of shed-erecting cultures was pure coincidence. It was especially good to meet up again with Merja Virolainen from Finland who read for THE SOUTH during this year's Brighton Festival Fringe.


Lithuanian poet Marcelijus Martinaitis

At the Reception on the first evening I met Laima Vince Sruoginis, a Lithuanian poet and Fulbright scholar who is teaching at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. She introduced me to Marcelijus Martinaitis, whose poetry she has translated into English. They were intrigued by Shedman and the British cultural obsession with sheds, especially Marcelijus, who told me via Laima that he pictured his character Kukatis in one of his poems in a garden shed.

It was real pleasure to meet all the poets and thanks to them I now know the Lithuanian, Latvian, Swedish, Finnish, etc for shed. If any of you check in here please feel free to correct my spelling as the cider seems to have affected my notes!

Shed

Finnish:
varasto garden or outdoor store
maja tree house or small building
mökki wooden cottage or play house
mörskä delapidated building usually wooden

Latvian:
šķūnis

Lithuanian:
darzine

Swedish:
skjul, koja


Laima told me that at the end of the era of Russian control in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital , a small group of sheds were erected near the Cathedral. People lit candles all round the sheds and tourists would often comment how picturesque they were, not realising that the sheds were honouring imprisoned protestors on hunger strike.

A mass grave in Vilnius sheds light on a catastrophic military campaign that changed the course of Europe.

om/napoleon_graves.htm

Watershed 4: The collective noun for a group of poets

On Friday July 4th, Carol Ann Duffy gave a beautifully paced reading to a packed house. She was rewarded with the warmest applause and laughter that swept through Ledbury's Community Hall like wind across wheat.

I haven't heard her read since she came to The Queens Head near Brighton Station when Jackie Wills, Eva Saltzman and Don Paterson were running Brighton Poets in the nineties. The reading was in the large ground floor bar where the huge windows transmitted the diesel resonance of the buses going past, top deck passengers rubber-necking to catch a glimpse of what was going on. I think that was the same night a well known Brighton writer had been going it a bit on his blood pressure tablets and passed out after a half a pint of lager, so they might have seen a spectacular stool-topple.

After Carol Ann's reading the poets were invited to the Heritage Centre, a fifteenth century building, for a cider supper in the upstairs room. The floor sloped like the wedges of cheese accompanying the local pies, ham, beef , fruit and salads on offer. A number of distinguished poets from Finland and Latvia almost ended up on their backs as the floor's camber threatened to aid the work of gravity as they leant back on their chairs.

The Chair of the Festival , the marvellously calm Peter Arscott, welcomed the poets and mentioned that he had been trying to discover the collective noun for a group of poets. With barely a beat the northerly breeze of Carol Ann's voice sailed across the tables.

'A paranoia,' she said

He who sheds his fear first, LOL




As reported in Wired, science writer Jim Holt explores why we laugh in his book Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes .

'V. S. Ramachandran, the brain researcher, has a theory about the origin of laughter — that when you're in the jungle and there's an apparent threat, the first member of the kinship group to notice that it's not a real threat emits this stereotyped vocalization. And it's contagious, so everyone starts laughing. That's also the basis of the relief theory of humor, that there's a release of the energy you had summoned up to solve some puzzle. Kant said that the essence of humor is a strained expectation dissolving into nothing.'

Talking of which Shedman had his piles banded yesterday for the second time in a decade, and he wouldn't want to enjoy the procedure more often than that thanks. Sitting in damp sheds can't be doing him any good at all.

He appreciates that the NHS is very keen to make sure patients are fully informed and have lots of opportunity to ask questions, but lying bare-bummed in a small cubicle waiting to be interfered with the thought did cross his mind that now wasn't the best time for an explanation of the human digestive system, a detailed analysis of the risks involved in the procedure or a blow by blow summary of what happens to hemorrhoids when confronted by a rubber band. Inside, Shedman was silently suggesting that they should just get on with this please! He was relieved that the consultant (whose name was Mr Ridings, which seemed strangely apropriate) was a real gentle man, although his commentary was more like a fisherman on a river bank finding a particualrly fine specimen of bait in his tin. 'Oh, here's a really juicy one.'

Shedman took a taxi home. The driver decided that the quickest route from the hospital to Shedman's home negotiated every speed bump in Brighton. Thank you so much Brighton Streamline. Isn't something streamlined smooth, fluid and relatively pain-free?

Another book about philosophy and humour is the very amusing and informative Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar . . .: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein.



If you enjoy philosophical discussion find your local Philosphy in Pubs




Shedworld - the adventures of Shedman


The Big Day Out Parker's Piece Cambridge July 2007

This is Shedworld - Shedman's blog. It features the random jottings of Shedman on the road, travelling far and wide through shedland. Occasional notes about plans, people, projects - and sheds.

Shedworld provides a refreshing personal view of sheds, poetry, and life in general based around Shedman's present and previous projects. As time allows, Shedman will be updating the blog with projects old and new. If you've met Shedman at projects in the past he'd love to hear from you. Do send in any reminiscences or pictures if you have them.



Limerick City Ireland October 2005

Jamie's Turkish Sheds

Talking about holiday snaps from Shedworld - here's a couple that Jim Newell kindly sent Shedman a whole lot of holidays ago. Thanks Jamie!


A Turkish shed

Almost a Turkish shed

Gordon Brown's Second Home?



'Hello Shedman, we enjoyed meeting you recently at Ledbury. I was passing Westminster Palace recently and noticed a floating shed...

All the best

Paul Kennedy
Herefordshire'

Friday, 18 July 2008

Watershed 3: Liminal at the Littoral



After David Whyte's reading, later that evening I’m talking to Gary, a qualified forensic anthropologist, although he now works in IT to earn more money. He had once worked on writing the software for a model of how bodies drift in water – in an estuary, for example, with a tidal flow.

In the mid-seventies, as a camera assistant with a film crew, I had worked on a programme about the building of the Humber Bridge. I told Gary how impressed I had been by the model of the Humber estuary that we had filmed in a huge shed at the National Maritime Institute at Teddington. It was every model enthusiast’s dream – a fully functional working model of the Humber estuary complete with tides and flows. What fun to press the button for High Tide or River In Full Spate. It had been built to model the water flow around the bridge’s towers.

Did I know, Gary asked, that the central flow in a river is very easy to model, but at the periphery, it’s much more difficult to predict? ‘Things go quantum,’ said Gary with what I took to be glee, feeling a certain sense of glee myself, at connections, ramifications. ‘Working out the main flow is easy. At at the littoral, it’s liminal!’

Poets don't drive

A review of John Redmond’s MUDe by Robert Potts (The Guardian Review Saturday July 5, 2008) connects with concerns and issues discussed here:
‘There is a running joke, with a kernel of truth in it, that poets can't drive; Martin Amis uses it in The Information ("Poets don't drive. Never trust a poet who can drive. Never trust a poet at the wheel. If he can drive, distrust the poems ...").

In other words, poets shouldn’t know where they are going, shouldn’t be in control?

MIDWAY upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
Which in the very thought renews the fear.

Dante The Divine Comedy Trans Henry Longfellow

Watershed 2: A River Runs Through It



An Irish Yorkshireman living near Seattle, David Whyte has earned a certain reputation as a corporate seer, challenging business people with a poetic stance. With a youthful sweep of black hair he looks a little like Ted Hughes. At Limerick Poetry Festival in 2005, Jane Hirschfield asked me if I knew of him. I did not and looked him up on the web. Her question stuck in my mind. Perhaps she was suspicious of this English soothsayer? Or didn’t quite understand where he was coming from? What special talent does he have to hold an audience of financial services managers enrapt for an hour or more?

His ‘reading’ at the Burgage Hall in Ledbury provided answers.
(By the way if anyone knows why the Burgage Hall is called the Burgage Hall please let me know…)



David Whyte is a charismatic presenter. He holds an audience and the audience holds him – in reverence, anticipation, expectation. He performs or ‘reads’ with an evangelical passion. He invites us to consider our lives, advises us on strategies and values:

‘Half of life is disappearance.’
‘Creation was born to be free.’

He has much in common with the coach or the motivational speaker, types or functions the English, I think, habitually look down on, judge. He comes over as 'worked out', as having answers, but encouraging us to question. Yet, I couldn’t help feeling that there’s something about him that would close down questioning even at the very same moment that he is expounding its virtues. Like all powerful men he's a mixture of paradox.

When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself, and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,

Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state,

Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


David Whyte began his presentation at Ledbury by reciting this - Shakespeare’s Sonnet 24 - followed by a run through of its nested contexts, from the almost self-pitying author to the potential deity of the ‘thee’ the poet ‘haply’ thinks on.

‘What questions do you need to ask yourself?’ He asks.
What questions am I not asking myself? I ask myself.

He then recites some of his own poems from memory, ‘learnt by heart,’ he says, ‘with a memory that’s physical.’ It’s an idea that appeals to me, as if words have innate physicality, linked internally into the body’s own geography, but also externally into place. But where’s the proof for my particular take on this. Isn’t it more that, as actors tell me, if the words are good they contain the motive power for the action? Speaking the word brings to life the act?

Whyte’s reading style is riverine. He meanders, tracks back, takes another run at a line or a section. He leaves oxbow lakes of meaning, detached from the main flow. But this approach – although it has the potential to be irksome, did ‘work’ for me. He argues for the benefit of the meander. His live ‘reading’ is an attempt to reproduce the quality of ‘sight-reading’, where our eyes chase around the poem trying to help our explanation, our understanding. We don’t get the first two lines so we run them past our comprehension one more time. We get the next three but we need to see them in the context of the three that follow so we reiterate a complete section to absorb it and aid digestion: comprehension of a poem as a small intestine.

And the river is present in the titles of two of David’s books - River Flow and Where Many Rivers Meet - as well as in the name of his website and the umbrella organizations for promoting his work: Many Rivers Press and Many Rivers Company.

I could argue his style is alien to English audiences, but his audience at Ledbury waited on every word. Whyte is a consummate showman (that’s a compliment by the way) and poses a challenge for lesser poets whose poetry is inaccessible. Although he frequently quotes from the traditional canon (Dante, Shakespeare, Keats, The New Testament) he has more in common with performance poets than poets of the page. He has the cathartic energy of a preacher, but he can sound as if he’s sermonizing and so has the preacher’s handicap. His words and phrases are memorable, but, curiously, less trustworthy for all that.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
- from Sweet Darkness The House of Belonging

The danger is that this is a poetry of answers.
Is a poetry of answers really poetry?

He is different. He does take poetry into areas where many poets fear to tread, into the capitalist workplace, into business. But I remain sceptical. Feel uneasy. Questions nag. Has he opted for the comfort zone, earning a good living providing quasi-religious feelgood homily, poetic humbug as a balm for those with stunted conscience? Does he pedal poetry as rentable conscience, hireable secular religion? F. R. Leavis would be proud.

Or is he one of the most innovative poets around, transforming lives and letters with visionary zeal, supporting ‘poetry as a unique art form embodying courageous speech and the magnificence of the human imagination’?

As Shedman I use the strapline ‘Open the magic door…’ to suggest the potential any creative space offers – whether a physical location like a shed, an imagined destination or the head space of a creative endeavour. Specifically, however, I intend it to refer to the protecting, authenticating and transformative space that is poetry. More generally, it's an encouragement to do something different.

David Whyte discusses the same issues in more detail on his website, positioning the poet on a border like a shed : ‘The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back for the poet once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid. The discipline of poetry is in overhearing yourself say difficult truths from which it is impossible to retreat.Poetry is a break for freedom. In a sense all poems are good; all poems are an emblem of courage and the attempt to say the unsayable; but only a few are able to speak to something universal yet personal and distinct at the same time; to create a door through which others can walk into what previously seemed unobtainable realms, in the passage of a few short lines.’

Sheds are temporary structures, but it's very easy to imagine they are permanent, to forget that frontiers move internally and externally. David Whyte is an entralling and engaging reader, inspiring and thought-provoking. If you get a chance to hear him, do, and see what you think and feel. Shaman or not, his journey is fascinating.

Watershed

It's always amazing the way a theme emerges from almost every Shedman project. For some reason the theme of Shedman's sojourn in Ledbury has been 'river'.

It started with David Whyte, described in the Festival programme as a ‘modern day shaman’. It continued with Gary, the forensic anthropologist and gathered pace with Margaret, the Festival Treasurer and bio-dynamic farmer. It flowed from Alison, the music teacher from Newbury and meandered through conversations with the poet Angela France. It found its path of least resistance, not surprisingly, in Tom Hogkinson of The Idler.


Picture courtesy of Ledbury Portal


Picture Matthew Bailey

Perhaps the river theme is no surprise given the fact that seven miles to the south, beyond Dymock, the River Severn flows towards the sea?

'The River Severn (Welsh: Afon Hafren, Latin: Sabrina) is the longest river in Great Britain, at 220 miles (354 km).[3] It rises at an altitude of 2,001 feet (610 m) on Plynlimon near Llanidloes, Powys, in the Cambrian Mountains of mid Wales. It then flows through Shropshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, with the county towns of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and Gloucester on its banks. The Severn is England's greatest river in terms of water flow, and is considered one of the ten major rivers of the United Kingdom.'
Wikipedia

Or that Herefordshire is the county of five rivers? Or because in 2007 Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire had seen the worst flooding for years?

By 19 June, Herefordshire was affected by flooding. The M50 motorway near Ledbury was closed on 22 July due to flooding.
http://www.ukflood.co.uk/floodinfo3.html

Floods returned in December
Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd said it was donating a quarter of a million 500ml bottles of its Malvern Water to Tewkesbury Council for distribution to the local community. Central Trains services between Worcester and Hereford are not running due to flooding at Ledbury in Herefordshire.
Sky News Archive

Or because St Swithin's Day falls on July 15th?

Saint Swithun or Swithin (died 2 July 862) was an early English Bishop of Winchester, now best known for the popular British weather lore proverb that if it rains on Saint Swithun's day, 15 July, it will rain for 40 days and 40 nights.

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain na mair

Swithun was buried out of doors, rather than in his cathedral, apparently at his own request, so that the "sweet rain of heaven" could fall on his grave. In 971 it was decided to move his body to a new indoor shrine, and it is said that the ceremony was delayed by 40 days of torrential rain, a sign of Swithun's displeasure at the move.'
Wikipaedia

Whatever the reason for the river theme's appearance, its course through Shedman's time in Ledbury,
like all the best rivers, took surprising and fascinating turns, as it wove a special magic through an extraordinary week.


Thursday, 17 July 2008

Creepie-Crawlie Shed Quest



Wherever Shedman runs a project he likes to go on a Shed Quest to find the best sheds in the zone. Mark Cockram is a bookbinder/book artist who's on a shed quest of his own. He's been invited to exhibit in the South Bank Centre in 2009. The exhibition is called the Pestival and is about the world as perceived through the eyes of insects. He wants to create a Garden Shed Gallery.

Mark needs to find an old dilapidated shed that has lots of evidence of insects living in it. Can anyone out there help at all? If you can, send a message via Kontactr with a picture if possible - and while you're at it, tell Shedman what you do in your shed!


Mark's teaching in India and takes his tea breaks in a shed.

'The shed gallery will be one part of a much larger exhibition,' Mark writes. 'For the shed to have impact it would have to be of a reasonable size. I think that the older the better. The contents would be important as I would not want it to look like a disney film set.'

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Shedman at Ledbury Poetry Festival



Here's a shot of Shedman's shed at Ledbury - or should that be Shedbury - Poetry Festival. Kindly provided by B&Q Hereford, the shed was raffled and raised £100 for Cancer Research UK.

The shed was right outside the Burgage House in Ledbury. The flags were created by a posse of beautiful ladies. People come and pin stuff to the walls including (if you look carefully on the back wall you can see it) The Times article about Shed Week...

If you have any more shots of Shedman in Ledbury do send them in. You can find Shedman's email address on his website.

Many thanks to everyone who called by to say hello to Shedman, share a shed story and the odd poem or two.

Poem for UK Shed Week 2008

Uncle Wilco at Readersheds asked Shedman to write a poem in honour of the UK's National Shed Week 2008, the winners and the Shed of the Year.

Wor-cester-shire's gone a bit squelchy. Like its sauce, it's pouring, but Shedman has taken a bit of time out of the shed to write an

Encomium* for Shed Week

In Shedbury they’re celebrating the winners of Shedweek,
flags and bunting deck the streets and houses of Shedwick;
Sheddingham resounds to the cheers of sheddie folk
and Bedfordshire has change its name to extend the joke.

In allotments, along the tracks, the sheds of Britain amass
to join the chorus of salute to the winners of each class.
'All hail!' they cry, as thunderclouds deliver another load,
leaving the sheds slightly damp but not at all subdued.

And to you, Tim from Sudbury, the highest accolade:
The Rugby Pub of Suffolk, the finest ever made;
octagonal with roof lights, complete with double doors
three fridges and a hammock, Shed of the Year is yours.

Upsteps a larch-lapped champion to raise the cry again
across United Sheddom, from every shed and man:
'To you the victor’s laurels, to you the winner’s band!
The Rugby Pub of Suffolk is the best shed in the land!'


*High praise in honour of a victor – from the Latin!


©Shedman 2008 All rights reserved

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Shedman garlanded by maidens!


Picture courtesy of the Festival photographer - Stephen Bulley
Thanks Steve!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Thanks Alex

The week before last Shedman finally made it to St Albans to meet Alex Johnson the creator and editor of Shedworking. They met at his local pub and chatted over pints of Tinners, an excellent ale from Cornwall, which, given the distance, had travelled pretty well. Shedman explained his hope that one day he would get his head round blogging as it seemed such a useful thing to do in Shedland. Alex was very encouraging and very generous in his help and advice about entering the blogosphere. So a big thank you to Alex. Happy National Shed Week!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Ledbury starts here

Can't help checking the weather forecast to see how the weather's looking around the Malverns for the next week. An oddity on the BBC website is that it offered me two choices - both Ledbury, Herefordshire. On the Telegraph website it offered me three choices - Ledbury, Gloucestershire; Ledbury, Herefordshire and Ledbury, Worcestershire. Which all reminds me of Birmingham, where I grew up, which seemed to be in a permanent state of multiple personality. There was Birmingham, Staffordshire; Birmingham Warwickshire and Birmingham, Worcestershire. A couple of days ago, lost in a the reverie of an English summer's day, I'd resolved to take the bike to Ledbury on the train. Now the 05 Honda Accord Estate is beginning to look as good as a summer's day, if not better.
I put these thoughts to one side and resolve to stick to the train. I like a challenge.
I was brought up in Birmingham, Staffordshire. There, at primary school one blistering hot day in the late fifties, huge and lovable Bertie Wilson was at the crease on the asphalt playground of Cherry Orchard School. The wicket was a small brick drain cover, and I think my brother or my cousin was bowling, but perhaps neither. (It's so annoying the way one's family embellishes memory.) At eight years old I was the wicket keeper, a position I'd coveted for the last twelve overs and the lunch break was nearly at an end. There I was, crouched over the brick wicket, wearing the Special Gloves wicket keepers wear. I do believe the cherry trees were in flower.
I felt significant.
The bowler let fly a magnificent full toss. Bertie, six foot and twelve stone at eleven and a half, stepped back slightly to gauge the trajectory, then swung his bat backward mightily as if the reverse movement would bounce back with even greater force when he came to hit the ball. That moment never arrived as Bertie's bat swung far enough backwards to hit me full in the face.
From a perspective on the far side of the playground I can see the cherry trees, the sun and shadow, the casual game of cricket amongst the boys near the fence. I see and hear the impact of bat on bone, the wicket keeper staggering around as if he has glue on his shoes, the batsmen, apologetic, sympathetic, fatherly, the blood streaming from the wicket keeper's nose over his stripey T-shirt.
Who needs significance?
I didn't play cricket again until I was twenty-three at Crookhey Hall School, near Cockerham, Lancashire, in the annual Masters v Boys match, the year I broke my ankle, smashed up my mother's car and left university. But that, as they say, is another story.
Bertie Wilson was a relative of Peggy Wilson who kept a farm at Hanley Swan in Worcestershire, not far from Ledbury. It was where my parents had stayed on their honeymoon - by tandem - in 1942. I think they honeymooned there because they had happy memories of a walk on the Malvern Hills when they belonged to the Young People's Fellowship at their local church. They took their family there in the fifties - three boys who, as I recall, loved every minute of the farm life. I loved the getting ready for going away, the excitement and anticipation. I feel it now preparing to go to Ledbury. But did I love my parents that much that I want to recreate their honeymoon by bike around the Malverns? From my window the Honda looks very sexy.
I remember we all had to have new shoes and stood on the strange X-ray machine in the shoe shop at Villa Cross in Birmingham, Staffordshire. I went for Jumping Jacks. I remember the scent and feel of new blue denim jeans, that smell of dry straw and cowboys. I remember the sticklebacks we caught in the stream and my mother on flower duty in the church.
So I'm looking forward to my trip to Ledbury and the Malverns. And I'm trying to remember who was that girl I met in Mallorca when I was fourteen, propping up a palm tree after too much wine. She lived in Ledbury and when I came to visit her with Howard Jones when we were supposed to be on a scout hike, we had lunch with her parents, then she took me into the back garden and there for the very first time I discovered what it means to kiss and be kissed.
How I long for that moment to last forever in the dappled, golden sunshine of an English summer's day.
I'm thinking about the strangeness of the memories summoned by place, the interconnections, the spectral bodies still riding across the land, kissing, catching sticklebacks.

I am looking forward to my trip to Ledbury, where for the first weekend , I'm staying with the festival photographer and his family...

First to feature - Andy

Good to start with some really traditional shed activity.
Nothing like a bit of swarf!



'Use a lathe and other machinery to make models, tools and items for friends and family
Repair household items
Just outside the shed I melt aluminium in a flowerpot
It's also somewhere to keep the lawnmower and gardening tools' says Andy.
He runs a blog at http://workshopshed.blogspot.com/

Andy wins a signed copy of Shedman to mark the first post on Shedworld.

What do you do in your shed?

What do you do in your shed? You can post your answers to this searching question at Shedlife, which has launched just in time for National Shed Week, that great institution of the British summer orchestrated by Alex Johnson at Shedworking and Uncle Wilco at Readersheds.

Best Mates

Before I went to the States in June, I ran a creative writing workshop at Brighton Jubilee Library on the Saturday before Father's Day (UK style). It was a very enjoyable experience and I hope everyone who came along enjoyed it too.

The workshop was entitled Best Mates, aiming to encourage people to write about their Dad, Stepdad, Carer or Significant Male Other. My approach was to use the kind of questionnaire they use in the branding and naming business to define the values of a company or product. The questionnaire generates similes. For example: if he was an insect what would he be? Simultaneously, two people wrote 'Stag Beetle', which was a bit spooky!

A very big thank you to everyone who came along and another big thank you to those wonderful, welcoming people at Brighton Jubilee Library.

And I've just received this:
'Just wanted to thank you for your brilliant workshop last month. Every one involved seemed to really enjoy it... thank you for making the day a success and I will definitely be recommending you,
all the best, Norah

Norah Carr
Brighton & Hove Library Service'

Something for the weekend...



On his recent visit to the States, Shedman had an all American trim at the barber's shop in Concord. The first thing he saw as he walked in was a copy of Family Handyman magazine with a cover inviting him to build a shed. The featured article doesn't appear to be online, but the plans are - under the heading Two-Weekend Storage Shed. Certainly worth a try. Family handyman is published in the US by Reader's Digest. Shedman has happy memories of consulting The Reader's Digest Do-It-Yourself Manual when replacing the roofing felt on his first shed at a house in Corsham, Wiltshire, on a hot summer's afternoon about thirty years ago!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Shedworld launches for UK Shed Week

Shedworld, the new blog devoted to answering the question 'What do you do in your shed?' is being launched to coincide with National Shed Week 2008 and Shedman's visit to the Ledbury Poetry Festival (from July 4th - 163 years to the day since Henry David Thoreau took to his cabin in the woods at Walden Pond).



Shedman has been travelling the world for over five years now on a unique journey of discovery, a kind of spiritual quest with roof felt. It's been a costly, beautiful, wry and amazing all at the same time, often with splinters. But the one thing he's learned is just how creative people are, how inventive and how generous in sharing what they do in their sheds. Shedman feels it's time he shared his experiences and ask everyone who does things in sheds to share theirs. He's looking for great writing, superb images and extraordinary feats. You can send an email via the contact form or add a comment to a post. At the same time you can find out more about Shedman's own adventures at Shedman's blog and the Shedman website.