Saturday, December 04, 2021

Erin Bow: shedworker

A festively atmospheric photo of the shed office belonging to novelist and poet Erin Bow (The Scorpion Rules, The Swan Riders) in Kitchener, Ontaria, Canada, in which she has been writing since 2015. Although the building came with the house when she bought it, Erin had it improved by former local bookstore owner and carpenter Chuck Erion, then raised it to install a decent foundation, plasterboarded the walls, then put in insulation and electrics, though no wifi.

And here's the same garden office, this time in magnoliatastic spring.

You can read more about Erin and other nearby people who have creative workspaces in a nice piece in the local Waterloo Record newspaper as well as an interview with Erin in the same newspaper here about working in there. Here's a snippet:

A rainbow arch of assorted prayer flags and multicoloured meditations hang above the entrance. Inside, there's a simple desk, a green-upholstered second-hand chair with floral-pattern cushions and a standup lamp Bow picked up at Canadian Tire. "It's kind of cosy," Bow said. Sure beats the cramped office space Bow used to rent at the far end of a pole-dancing-for-fitness studio, above a King Street coffee shop.

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Friday, December 03, 2021

Earthbag solar shed office

 

Here is a remarkable build by Jonathan and Ashley Longnecker and their family which they have documented at their excellent site Tiny Shiny Home. It's a garden office (though frankly the term 'garden' is maybe not quite so applicable here) with additional guest accommodation in south east Arizona. Built using a kind of cob technique with hyperadobe earthbags, it's completely off-grid thanks to its use of solar. There's a full rundown with imagery at the site here but here's a peek at the office set-up...

And here's the view from the office...


They've also documented the whole thing in a video. It's not short, but it's well worth a watch.


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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Gilbert Spencer: shedworker

Painter Gilbert Spencer (1892 - 1979), younger brother of the more famous Sir Stanley, lived for many years at Tree Cottage in Upper Basildon, Berkshire. He mostly worked out in the open but in winter also painted, somewhat relectantly, in a garden room, which he called his 'little Colt studio'. It's privately owned now and there are very few pictures of it available, the best we can find is included above. Here's what he says about it in his memoirs:

‘When I entered it for the first time I hated it so much that I knocked it about, and messed it up to get it more in sympathy with my feelings for painting in odd corners, or bedrooms, indoors. The fact is I am no “studio” artist and never have been.’

Purpose-built for Gilbert in the mid-1930s, the property is Grade II listed and here's what Historic England has to say about the studio's listing:

This is a rectangular weatherboarded structure, oriented West to east with a pitched roof covered in diamond shaped felt tiles. Large windows to the south and west, the latter floor to ceiling in height, are designed to allow the maximum amount of light into the studio. Both are timber-framed with multiple lights. The studio is entered through a simple plank door in the south elevation and the interior is a single space with panelling to dado height and a wooden floor. 
Here is a self-portrait from 1967 painted in the Colt studio which Spencer called Activity at Tree Cottage No.2.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

The right size for a shepherd's hut

As you might expect from the country's leading shepherd's hut producer, Richard Lee of Plankbridge has some very firm views about what is and what is not acceptable when describing something as a shepherd's hut. He's just posted some of his thoughts on his blog here about dimensions and the Roadman's Living Van. Here's a snippet on hut height:

Where the width and length was entirely practical the height was too – there would be no point in making a portable structure that dragged on trees as it passed down the lanes and through gateways into the fields. So most huts would be no more than 10’ / 305cm high from ground to the top of the roof curve.

The only exception to this might be the pitched roofed huts which are found around Norfolk and Suffolk, these would be higher to the ridge, at 11’ or 12’ but perhaps low branches weren’t such a thing on the flat fenlands. The windows were often simply narrow slides on a shepherd’s hut. These days our standard window opening is 63cm by 90cm, and we do doubles too. Daylight and making the best of the views is essential in a modern day hut. We also even do glazed ends in anthracite grey aluminium.

It's well worth a read, especially for the anecdote at the start... 

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Garden office birds project

We've covered Alastair Humphreys and his garden office a couple of times before on Shedworking. The adventurer, author and motivational speaker has come up with an interesting way of connecting with the nature around his build. Here's what he says:
My latest strategy for procrastinating book writing: photographing the birds that visit my writing shed. I set up my camera and then use an app on my phone to take the photos when a bird arrives to distract me from my writing!

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Snowy garden offices

It's that time of year again when snow meets garden office and results in some lovely images. Here are winter 2021's first batch, beginning with naturalist Professor Miles Richardson's view from his writing shed in Derby above. Below is illustrator Bill McConkey's garden studio in the north of England.


And below is novelist Katy Dyer's writing shed in Barnsley enjoying its first ever snow.

And finally, from Scotland, another view from the garden office, this time it's Jean McGeoch's.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Beach hut advent calendar


For many years, the Shedworking staff in the runup to Christmas looked forward to the annual beach hut advent calendar down in Brighton & Hove but which sadly stopped running in 2018. The hardworking Hove Beach Hut Association said it was hoping to pick up the reins in 2019 but that was just before the world was hit by lockdowns and plans have understandably been put on the back burner. However, the assocation is holding a Winter Open Day on December 18 from 4pm until 6pm when many huts will be open to the public and with modest festive theme displays - look out for laminated posters such as the one below to indicate which huts are taking part. Fingers crossed that next year the advent calendar will return!

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