Thursday, August 13, 2009

Playground Building in Amargeti Village

This summer has been busy up at the Art & Wild Nature Foundation Centre in the converted school of Amargeti village. Lise has run several ‘Art for Nature’s Sake’ recycling workshops: wallets from folded newspaper, a ‘found objects’ mobile, and the mosaic-ing of the Foundation sign. But the Magnum Opus has been the Playground.

Originally Doerte, the Foundation’s Founder, planned to bring over two Israelis for the project, the design -- an armature sculpted from recycled tyres and recycled plastic bottles covered with chicken-wire and concrete – being Israeli. But they wanted too much money and as every possible cent has to be scraped together from complex funding, bringing people over was completely unfeasable. Plan B was to have a Sculptor-in-Residence who would, over the course of the summer, do the heavy building, and various public workshops would be held to do the decorating and finishing. The Sculptor got sick and had to cancel. Plan C meant that the work was down to Lise and Doerte and whoever else could be roped in.

Between us, Lise and I field eleven children ranging in age from 17 to 6. Several of them are large male teenagers, handy with concrete mixers and shovels. Add two strong women to the mix (I am not counting myself here, as I am the project’s photographer), some willing extras that show up, and a host of enthusiastic Small Ones, and after several evenings’ work, you have a creditable start to the playground.

I missed the first sessions, where the initial armature was made for the bench and planters and the location of the pond was discussed. But Monday and Wednesday, we went up for the bench construction and pond digging, and Friday will be the day of laying pond foil and building the armature around the pond. Next week will see the start of either an octopus or a chameleon large enough to clamber over and through, and with space for a small slide. Building regulations say that we cannot have a structure taller than 1.2 metres without planning permission, but that still leaves plenty of scope for places to enjoy.

Watch this space!

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