Posts Tagged ‘wind’

p1000526Shinto shrines seem to be heaving with super luck or bad luck. It’s a gamble isn’t it what your day might hold for you and happening on a shrine on a particular day or at a particular time might just seal your fate for the day,month , year ahead.Pick a lucky spill and draw a site of fortune paper. Then read your fortune. It could be good , very good or pretty bad .

p1000543I have been particularly taken with the fortune telling strips, or Omikuji ,which I have seen tied up on racks at many of the shrines we visited . The ones that are tied up and left are apparently the bad luck fortunes which have been drawn . These are then left behind to finally dissolve ,disintegrate and blow away in the wind . Good fortunes are secreted about your person and are carried away for safekeeping.

p1000542These are not to be confused with the wooden wishing plaques ,or Ema boards ,which can be  purchased for a nominal amount and  hung up at the shrine for general good fortune wishing . Some of these boards can be particularly specific in their directed wishes.

p1010634Stacked up in wishing piles on special rails  they have an extraordinary texture and sculptural quality – whatever the wishes may be and I love the idea that your paper bad fortune finally will blow away and be lost to the winds.

p1010635Cats of course feature heavily in a all good luck scenarios.




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IMG_0067This time of year – January  and February is the time of year when Paul and I start to burn down our Sussex Prairie garden and people are shocked and stunned and always ask us why . So it is time to tell the story.

IMG_5740Why do we Burn our Prairie ?

Big spaces require big solutions and our garden is no exception to this . We have probably now over eight acres of garden requiring to be razed to the ground at some point over the winter months. More traditional methods in your average garden would include cutting down with secateurs, scythe or strimmer. But we have a different solution because of the size of the task.

Burning is a quick , clean and dramatic way of clearing away all the dead last years growth and solves the problem of what to do with the mountain of material created in such a clearance.

IMG_1260Because it is Fun and a little bit dangerous !

Burning the garden on a big scale is a whole load of fun too and is one of the tasks our volunteers love to lend us a hand with . Everyone loves a good blaze after all .

IMG_5854How do you do it ?

In ideal weather and ground conditions we prefer to be able to leave the garden standing all winter and allow the winter frosts and winds dry the stems,stalks and leaves to a crisp.This would mean that on a windy and dry day we could burn the garden in situ without further ado. A dramatic and scary solution !

This year has been a bit of an exception with major wet  and warm weather leaving many plants green in many parts and this means that they  will not burn fully whilst standing in place. So we have created the bonfire burn this year . This involves building mini bonfires throughout the bed on the pathways and  we have had to cut and burn as we go.

However the big clumps of grasses have been burnt in their place and what a roar of flame and crackle of fire ensued!

IMG_5847But what about the plants ?

people ask do the plants get damaged ..?. well they don’t because we do this at a time of year when the plants themselves are dormant . Their roots  and buds are safely underground and are not damaged by the fire which moves quickly overhead (thats why we need a windy day to carry the fire quickly and ferociously over the top of the plants) A good Wind and Dry weather is the key !



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Gone with the Wind : kinetic sculpture: moving air encountering the visible world

Living with the wind as Andrew does, he has found his perfect place on our prairies. Andrew has brought four of his amazing mobiles to our garden for the season this year and they are awesomely fascinating and mesmerising. For us, wind in the garden is a perfect partner : whimsical and mercurial when we are burning the garden down  in February and subtle ,smooth and calming through the grasses and perennials in the summer and autumn, and rough,drying  and dramatic  in the winter.

So what is Andrew’s background ?  Andrew studied art and design in the early 1970s . During the course of this, a sculpture project on wind led to the invention of a new power kite design. This in turn led to 40 years of work in the design and manufacture of kites for a burgeoning extreme sport.


remember the Peter Powell stunt kite and flexifoils ? I challenge anyone to deny how much fun they had in their childhood flying kites like these ! (just going to get out my flexifoils out now and stroke them lovingly).

But there are No strings attached Now !

And further in Andrews’ own words : ” Exploring how the wind interacts with a solid world , gusting or eddying around the objects it encounters, is endlessly fascinating. but more than this is the wind as metaphor for so much of the flux of our lives and for the coming and going of knowledge and understanding of the unseen”


What does he use ? Light alloys , fine stainless steel bearings and accurate balancing to ensure that the elements of each work can move in a very light wind. Some work uses small magnets to bring the linear elements back into order when the air is still. Because the constructions are mainly slim they will withstand quite strong wind 9like bare branches in winter). they are designed to respond to breezes in semi sheltered areas too where strong airflow is stirred and slowed by the surroundings.


Come and watch Andrew’s world here in the garden !

see videos of Andrew’s work on his website www.rhobile.com

He can be contacted by email on Andrew@rhobile.com

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