Monday, September 27, 2010

Creative Cunstruction on a Saturday Afternoon

I am reading a book about Gaviotas.  It is a physical place, a community located in the llanos of Colombia, but more importantly it is a unique space.  In Gaviotas innovation, creation, rehabilitation, and regeneration are integrated into the very core of being.  An anything-is-possible and a you-don’t-know-until-you-try-it atmosphere create characterize this community where people act upon their creative whim; channeling their thoughts into actions.  Its members have creatively attempted to solve questions and have successfully forged a community out of a barren landscape.  Their mentality is that problems do not exist, just questions.  Limitations are mental constructs that create the idea of failure.  It is a child-like desire to discover, the conscious choice to redefine failure as opportunity, and a creativity that knows no limitations that has captured my attention. 
            I am inspired to engage with my surroundings, let my creativity loose, and play with the available materials.  I read a pamphlet about constructing a hanging planter out of recycled goods that maximizes growing space.  This seemed like a creative way answer my question of how to grow more with the space available to me.  The pots are perfect for fresh herbs, whose pungent flavor and aromatic smell are not needed in large quantities. 
            The distinguishing characteristic of these potted plants is that they have widows cut out of the sides so that seedlings can germinate from the top and from the walls of the planter.  The important thing to remember is to give each plant’s roots enough room to grow.  If you are using a particularly large container, it may be necessary to insert a PVC pipe with holes drilled in it in the middle of the container to allow water to reach all of the roots. 
            The materials needed are plastic containers, potting soil, a saw or very sharp scissors to cut the plastic, and a drill to punch holes in the PVC pipe (optional) and the containers to thread either wire or hemp to hang them, and seeds.  The plastic containers where generously donated by Epic Café and Raging Sage while the potting soil was purchased at Home Depot.  I would have preferred using compost soil combined with dirt excavated from my yard, but the compost is still in decomposition phase.  A friend of mine conveniently had all the necessary tools and volunteered his house for site of our construction project.  It was an afternoon of experimentation.  I discovered the fun of playing again while enjoyed the opportunity to create something tangible.  We create a lot in our daily lives, but many of us have so-called intellectual jobs that don’t produce actual material results.  I found using my hands to build something useful to be incredibly satisfying and, unfortunately, quite out of the ordinary. 
            Each person lent their own creativity to their creation.  We decorated the containers using spray paint, beads, seed pods, and a little bit of gravel.  This project was relatively simple (I created a web of tangled hemp while trying to string the containers together) and has given me the confidence that I can create useful objects with my hands.
            My inspiration comes from reading about the creative people at Gaviotas who set about transforming a barren tract of land into a bountiful and thriving community.    It is so important to just BEGIN, without judging the “success” of the product.  Condition yourself to leap on your ideas and give them your time and energy.

*For those interested in more information about Gaviotas, the book is titled Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World by Alan Weisman. 

Here is to creation--in any way, shape, or form!

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