Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Shedworking Awards 2013

We've been running our annual prizegiving for literally four years now as an opportunity to give a  pat on the back to those who have made major contributions to the world of shedworking over the last 12 months. And so without further ado let's crack open the first gold envelope...

Best design – As always, it's been a year full of cracking designs. A very worthy runner up was the eco-friendly Exbury Egg in which artist Stephen Turner worked to document the life of the estuary of the River Beaulieu. Congratulations to the large production team who made it happen including Wendy Perring, Darren Bray, Philip Smith, David Bradley, Kristina Broughton, Simon Boxall, Paul Baker, Stephen Payne,  Ben Hart and Mark Drury. But our winner is Renzo Piano's Diogene Cabin, designed by The Shard architect who apparently is a microarchitecture buff. Piano describes it a "voluntary place of retreat" rather like Le Corbusier's Cabanon but acknowledges its shedworkingesque potential by also calling it a 'studiolo'. Nice work Renzo.

Best blog/web site – To be honest, 2013 was not a spectacular year for new blogs or web sites devoted to shedworking, although many familiar faces continued to provide great coverage. The winner in this category is The InsideOut Garden Buildings Guide which transformed itself into a useful and independent spot to find out information about garden buildings in general. Well done to Lynn Fotheringham who edits it and provides useful advice too on Twitter.

Best Tweeter  Frankly, there's an argument that Uncle Wilco is a potential winner in pretty much every category in these awards every year, but this year he excelled himself particularly on Twitter with his innovative Shed a Day updates and clever spots for shed stories which we often followed up here on Shedworking (always attributed of course...). His feed is also notable for the amount of beer-related tweets which is also very welcome.

Best popularisation of shedworking – A joint award this year to the UK Men's Sheds Association which has really grown tremendously and is setting up new sheds on a weekly basis around the nation. We've followed this movement from its origins in Australia and are very pleased indeed to see that it has taken on in the UK so well, thanks to a lot of hard work by all those involved. The second is slightly more frivolous, but we were delighted to see that a garden office feature heavily and regularly in The Politician's Husband mini-series. Where once sheds tended to be portrayed on television as a clich├ęd place for men to 'hide' on their allotments, this series showed how garden offices have very much made it to the mainstream.

Readers' Award – By some distance, George Clarke's Amazing Spaces series on Channel 4 dominated the Shedworking postbag this year. When it was shown, the Shedworking Twitter feed was absolutely deluged with positive remarks about the various builds, not only during the airing but also for some hours afterwards. The book of the show was also excellent and full marks to all concerned (not least for being the first television show to publicly acknowledge help from this blog in its production).

Lifetime achievement award – Kent Griswold has been writing his Tiny House Blog for what - in a good way - seems like centuries (actually, six and a half years). It has an emphasis on small homes in the USA but also patrols the globe for other examples as well as small home lifestyle features and has grown to the point where it now has an actual staff, with Kasey March as copy editor and a regular writer in Christina Nellemann, both of whom also do great jobs. Kent not only runs the site with integrity and intelligence, he's also a decent chap and the award is well deserved.

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