A Village of a Thousand Frozen Bricks – Part I


Winter has gone, and its spring. time to forget everything about the -20 cold snap and move on to planting gardens…..though i’d like to take a moment to look back to what we built this winter with some household objects, last year’s christmas trees and plant stalks, and a whole lotta water.

The cold brought us an opportunity. build a castle, a village, a pirate ship.

but not in the way that you fundraise, design, put to tender and build by experts.

the kind where we rebuild it in every moment, with every kid that comes by, and with every idea that crosses our path.

the following is the first steps of the ice village…over three months!

It turns out that if you pack damp snow into a milk crate and drop it upside down, a snow brick pops out. If you then Make walls to defend yourself in an oval shape and throw a few logs across it is ready for the pre-made willow roof. This particular roof was made with teens from royal st.george college into a coracle or willow boat and floated it in the pond! It then progressed into the garden where it transformed into a title by little kids. Now that your roof is in place grab some Garden tools and show the kids how to fill the kinks in the walls…..and in a day you have the turtle igloo. Somehow today in an odd cyclical turn, as it melts in this warm spell, the turtle igloo sprouted milk crates. Who knew?

the ice village is born!: it is heartening to see that this concept we co-created draws in all children’s attention naturally! we arranged and played with all the blocks we had made in previous weeks and arranged them into a wall (or turtle depending on who you ask:). the objects hidden inside the ice are, to some children, personal challenges to free. we took turns supporting this desire with tools and then trying to keep the blocks intact. we have filled many more containers (with h2o) and are moving away from the obvious milk crate (as the finished product has some plastic in it that is hard to remove).

These first experimentations were held back by a mental image of a castle informed by what others have built.

when we let go of these other options and started using the material and energy we have at hand, then each creative suggestion can be tried to allow a free evolution of the ice village. the opposite process would look like an idea by a single person, a grant which outlines the amount of time that can be contributed to facilitate it, and finally searching for the ideal audience.

By contrast this collaborative process is a statement of intent in the culture which promotes community resourced technology, especially sweet when it helps people enjoy the winter and stay warm by ‘experimenting.’

see the cumulative effort of our winter work in part II.

sneak peak

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