Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Painted Sheds

For the last few years on his travels, Shedman has been building a compendium of artworks that include sheds. It adds a flavour to his gallery visits.

Last year, Shedman & son visited Berlin for his son's 18th birthday.

Here's a brief review of some of the pictures featuring sheds in the Gemäldegalerie and the Alte Nationalgalerie.

The Dutch Proverbs by Pieter Brueghal the Elder How many sheds?

Asselijn wiederaufbau-muiderdeich

Wiederaufbau des Muiderdeiches by Jan Asselijn

Abraham Bloemaert (1564-1651) obviously liked his sheds. There's a landscape in the Gemäldegalerie by Bloemaert featuring St Tobias and an angel with a fine shed in the background. But this picture in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (1624), predates The Wire by several centuries and shows a couple out of it on a corner, although the main interest is surely that fine shed tree house.

And finally Caspar David Friedrich with a Cabin covered in snow.

If you chance upon other images of sheds in pictures online or in galleries please send Shedman a link. And don't forget that Shedman is still compiling the anthology of shed poems - so send your favourites through for inclusion.

Friday, 8 July 2011

RadioShed? Shedman at Daventry Arts Festival 17-21 July

Daventry is a place of roads and crossings: the A5 and A45, Watford Gap and the M45/M1 junction. For Shedman growing up in the Midlands it was somewhere below Coventry, geographically and alphabetically; a place viewed distantly from a rainy car window, but with the curious magic and mystery of those giant transmission masts. On departure Daventry symbolised the wide world, pumping radio signals far and wide. On return, Daventry marked the first outpost of home. Shedman has a long attachment to Daventry, so he's delighted to have been invited to be part of the very first Daventry Arts Festival.

Daventry was the original wireless community, globally connected. It's the home of BBC World Service. It was also the site of the first successful experiment with Radio Direction Finding (RDF) or, as the Americans called it, Radio Detection and Ranging, now better known as radar.

Shedman is looking forward to doing some of his own direction finding during his stay in Daventry, conducting one of his inimitable shedquests and exploring not just Daventry itself but also the surrounding area - Wolfhampcote, Nethercote, Newnham, Braunston, Ashby St. Ledgers, Welton, Weedon, Long Buckby, Muscott, the Catesbys and the Everdons. He's looking forward to exploring lots of Littles, Nethers and Uppers.

During his sojourn in Daventry Shedman will be based in his shed at the entrance to New Street Recreation Ground. If you're in the area come on down and and check in at the radio shack. Swap stories with Shedman about your sheds and have a go at writing a poem or a story.

All pictures courtesy of the fascinating website G8GMU 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Indigenous peoples have a word for it...

Shedman will be returning to the States later this month to Dana Point, near San Diego in southern California. He hopes to visit Mission San Capistrano.

According to the Kumeyaay Information Village website, San Diego County has more Native American Indian Reservations than any other county in the US.

Wikipedia points out that in this region, 'the pre-contact Acjachemen built cone-shaped huts made of willow branches covered with brush or mats made of tule leaves. Known as Kiichas (or wikiups), the temporary shelters were utilized for sleeping or as refuge in cases of inclement weather. When a dwelling reached the end of its practical life it was simply burned, and a replacement erected in its place in about a day's time.'

So Wikipedia is Shedpedia!

Photo of Kumeyaay house at the museum in Francisco Zarco, Mexico from Kenneth Brantingan

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Previously on the South Bank...

Yesterday's post sent me hunting for other South Bank sheds. In 2007, another group of artistic sheds appeared, overseen by Antony Gormley's figures during 'Blind Light', his first major London exhibition (appropriately sponsored by Eversheds LLP).

Described as an 'alternative allotment for the South Bank'.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Beach huts on the South Bank

Shedman feels as though every time he goes to the South Bank someone has put up a shed - and not just for builders. Until September 4 you can enjoy a promenade of pleasure past a variety of artistically decorated pavilions.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Navajo for shed

You may have thought 'hogan' was a not very nice word for someone from the Netherlands or else the name of a gigantic wrestler. However, a hogan is also 'a North American Indian (esp. Navajo) building usually made of logs and earth, and traditionally built with the door facing east.' (Thank you OED online.)
Shedman saw an example in the flesh - well, wood - on a recent visit to the Heard Museum in Phoenix Arizona.
'This hogan is referred to as a female hogan because it simulates the roundness of the female body of Mother Earth. While most Navajo families do not reside in hogans today, their modern homes almost always include a hogan near the main house. Hogans are used for ceremonies that are still practised by Navajo people including the Kinaaald, a coming of age ceremony for young Navajo woman. Other family members spend quiet time in the hogan as a way to reconnect themselves with Navajo teachings and to remind themselves from where they have come.'    Interpretation panel at the Heard Museum, Phoenix.
Wikipedia tells Shedman that:
The hogan is considered sacred to those who practice the Navajo religion. The religious song "The Blessingway" describes the first hogan as being built by Coyote with help from beavers to be a house for First Man, First Woman, and Talking God. The Beaver People gave Coyote logs and instructions on how to build the first hogan, now known as a "forked stick" or "male" hogan, which resembles a pyramid with five triangular faces. Earth may fill the spaces between the framework logs, hiding the five faceted shape and creating thick, winter-protective walls. The "forked stick" or "male" Hogan contains a vestibule in the front and was used only for sacred or private ceremonies.

Navajo hogan
The "circular" or "female" Hogan , the family home for the Navajo people, is much larger and does not contain a vestibule. In it, the children play, the women cook, weave, talk, and entertain and men tell jokes and stories. Navajos made their hogans in this fashion until the 1900s, when they started to make them in hexagonal and octagonal shapes. The change in shape may have been due to the arrival of the railroad. A supply of wooden cross-ties, which could be laid horizontally to form walls of a larger, taller home, allowed the retention of the "female" hogan shape but with more interior room. The doorways of the hogans always face east.

Many cultural taboos are associated with the hogan and its use. Should a death occur in the structure, the body is either buried in the hogan with the entry sealed to warn others away, or the deceased is extracted through a hole knocked in the north side of the structure and it is abandoned and often burned. A hogan may also become taboo for further use if lightning strikes near the structure or a bear rubs against it. Wood from such structures is never reused for any other purpose by a Navajo.

Navajo hogan - inside
Today, while some older hogans are still used as dwellings and others are maintained for ceremonial purposes, new hogans are rarely intended as family dwellings.

Traditional structured hogan is also considered a pioneer energy efficient home. Using packed mud against the entire wood structure, the home was kept cooled by natural air ventilation and water sprinkled on the dirt ground inside. During the winter, the fireplace kept the inside warm for a long period of time and into the night.