Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Rose Garden - Groundworks Days 2&3

The last two days in  The Rose Garden have been concentrated on two areas. The raised Rose Bed had to be constructed, and we needed to transfer a good amount of soil and earth from the plant bed under the railings into the Rose Bed.

First we had to identify the bricks for the Rose Bed.

We knew that there would be some stocks of bricks on the Spode site that we'd be able to use. Our first find were some old Victorian heritage bricks which had been salvaged during some recent development works to Spode's Fascia.
The front of the building had become unsafe, in danger of collapsing onto the street, and these bricks had been the leftovers from the rebuilding process. It was interesting that these bricks were probably well over 150 years old.

Brick Selection No.1

Our next find were left over from a previous BCB show, and were the opposite of these old bricks. The Michelmersh Charnwood Brick was a handmade brick made especially for the renovation of St.Pancras Station in 2006, and had had a starring role in the trade section of the last British Ceramics Biennial.

The Charnwoods were ‘thrown’ sideways to give a frog on both sides. This helps laying the bricks, particularly given the relatively thin 5mm joints that were used. In addition, a double frog can provide extra key for the mortar. Other than where the new facade abuts the existing building, the use of hydraulic lime mortar has removed the need for movement joints in the facade.
 So the use of the two distinct bricks gave our rose bed a distinctive hooped look, and conceptually, really played in to the old and the new, a theme central to the whole project.

Two days, 12 bags of sand 2 bags of concrete and 30 barrow loads of transferred clay-bound soil later, and the raised bed was pretty much finished. It was important to get this stage done, so that we can fill it with some high grade top soil ready for the planting. The planting needs plenty of time to bed in before the BCB opens on 27th September.

A really great aspect to working in this way is the engagement with the public, and as the Rose Garden lies adjacent to a busy pedestrian-way bit, as well as a car park, and the local council offices, there are no end of interested observers, asking for information on the project. This is a ready-made audience that most artworks could only dream of.

As we left for the day, we were happy that the project is well on track ready for workday 4.

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