How Nomads Garden

In the previous post we spoke about the dichotomy between nomads and gardeners.

Today we decided its time to plough our field the nomadic way.

We found an old plough in the shed and, lacking horses, decided we will use the winch on the back of the truck to pull it along.

814 4x4 winch

Winching cable away from friendly oak

Winch work

Starting over again

Which ploughing

Plough fun

We would winch it one way and them drive it back with the Toyota to start over again.
That’s how nomads garden!

A Nomad’s Garden

A few years ago I attended a workshop with a group of creative people, at the height of which we were discussing the use of the zodiac tent. One of the guys attending was telling us his vision, the girl next to me started holding her womb in her hands, I guess it was so male orientated, she made me laugh with her comments……

At one point the guy said something that registered quite strong for me (although I have no womb if I did I would be grabbing it too at that point). He said “you are either a gardener or a nomad”. I could not believe it, I wanted to hurl my neighbour’s womb at him.

The use of the word ‘nomads’ get quite a lot of abuse. These days the pastoral way of living, which is suited to some places, is fading out of view, the tribal heart is gone. In its place there is a displacement  and we, the white people of the West, constantly feel we aren’t in the right place. Some tribal societies call it ‘the sickness of the white race’….Out of which another type of nomad has grown.

Growing nomads

Growing nomads.

That nomad is the one that longs to find a tribal heart, a connectivity with the greater whole we seem to miss, that sense of belonging to a group of people, to an earth, to a greater purpose.

For the last 18 years I never seemed to be live longer than a year in one place, and at long stretches, I seem to be living in trucks, seemingly looking for a home. At a certain point I realised that, not only I’m looking for a home, I’m looking to create a heart of sorts, a centre for that group mind. A place where we can grow nomads beyond that separation that makes us wanderlust, wandering lost.

 

Overland trucks

Nomadic Trans-formation

It’s another type of gardening I guess, although I still feel Julliete de Bairacli Levy was right when she said that if you move a lot, make sure to plant your lettuces on arrival. Chances are you will be around long enough to pick them, and I do confess that was always true for me, although in my garden I will grow nomads along with the lettuce. Nomads can be gardeners, and this one will grow nomads.

What I’ve been looking for all those years is not just a clear psychic landscape, but a means to bring those people into that experience, that together. We have been lucky enough to find it inside and outside as our daily reality – we live in a group formation, it takes a lot to uphold for sure, but it is gratifying.

Its always been hard to describe this inner outer reality of together, the telepathy, the move out of that individuality that so oppresses our collective unconscious, the world of me, me and me. Instead we live in a small group, where the boundaries of separation aren’t so clear, there is no me, it’s not clear what thoughts are mine and where the others start and I stop. My place in the group has always been the heart, so when it comes to feelings, it seems I live in a network of others. At times I’m not sure there is even a me left in there, maybe it all is their feelings.

It feels strong to have finally found a place on earth, to plant these nomadic seeds into living deeds, working on the first of a series of transformational events that are designed to take the individual beyond the self into the magic of the group body, in the wildest of wilds around the fire, doing the deepest magic, coming back to the tribal heart, through the sorcery of the other self.

We are creating the campsite that takes you away from you, and brings you into another world, where the collective trance of reconnecting as a whole gives birth to an unknown experience, the cure for that sickness of the white race – is the group body, and it belongs to our real selves. Hoping to see some of  you as the garden-nomads too, to work with you into the tribal godhead. To share altered states of awareness as our daily bread.

Some things are maybe beyond our comprehension possibly, but they still do happen. It’s like that story of the Russian prince who one day got a visit from a nomadic sorceress, who said to him “surrender all your lands to me now or face the consequences”. He laughed of course. The next day the Mongolian horde overtook him, killing all his people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lesser Known Tools of Yurt Makers (or any woodworker for that matter).

Yurt Makers and their tools…

Everyone knows of the saw and the drill, but, unless you are a wood-worker, you may not have you heard of a Billhook, an Adze or a Draw Knife?

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The Billhook is used by yurt makers to chop the small side branches off coppiced trees, and is also often used to chop back shrubby undergrowth.

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I prefer a billhook to an axe for chopping small logs and kindling, maybe because the longer blade gives you more chance of striking the wood.

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When making a coppiced yurt, yurt makers need to peel all those poles and a Draw Knife is the best tool for the job: much easier than a simple knife. It’s a flat blade which is held between two handles and pulled towards you, also great for peeling tipi poles.

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Our favourite draw knife is a really small, light one which we found many years ago in a tool stall in a market in Mostar, Bosnia.

For my first yurt frame, we cut a big ash tree then shaped the wood for the door and the wheel with an adze.
An adze is an ancient tool, similar to an axe but with the blade perpendicular to the shaft, like a garden hoe. A foot adze is usually held with both hands and swung between the legs, as you stand astride the wood.

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http://admiralavtomaty.com/novomatic-besplatno/aztec-treasure/

Zome Sweet Zome

It’s been some time since we started to make the Zodiac Tent starting with its central zome, and much water has passed under the bridge. It is a good time for us to go over the zome particulars again and remind ourselves of the geometry and wonder of this structure. Some mathematics coming…

The term ‘zome’, invented in 1968 by Steve Durkee, comes from ‘zonohedron’ and ‘dome’. A zonohedron is a polyhedron (a solid in three dimensions with flat faces, straight edges and sharp corners) where every face is a polygon (a flat shape made up of straight lines) with symmetry under rotations through 180°. ie the faces are the same if you rotate them by half a turn. For example: rhombus, square.

The zome structure is built around a series of double helixes, a helix being a spiral with constant diameter. The building block of life is the DNA double helix.

DNA helix

DNA double helix

Zome helix

Zome helix side view

In the full zome cone each helix does a complete turn from the bottom to the top, and the top view is the Seed of Life, which, becomes the Flower of Life, when extended indefinitely. The Flower of Life is a sacred geometrical figure found all over the world.

Zome helix

Zome helix top view

 

Flower if life

Flower of life

There are (at least) two ways of constructing a zome: masculine and feminine.
In the masculine or polyhedral form, each half helix is split into n equal sections, making ‘n’ levels with straight struts of the same length in each level. The change in the angle which the struts make with the horizontal is constant between successive levels and this angle grows towards the top, so that the top struts are almost vertical. The vertical height of each layer is the same for all layers. The faces are rhombuses of differing sizes. (Diagrams thanks to Rene Muller).

Straight rib zome

Straight rib zome

In the feminine version, invented by Nicolas Causse, each strut is a true half helix of constant curvature.

Curved rib zome

Curved rib zome

Our first zome is of the feminine kind with n=24, and looks like this..,

Zome

Feminine zome

 

Zome

Zome top view

The struts therefore have both a curve and a twist with 2 kinds of struts: lefts and rights, ie clockwise and anti-clockwise twists. We make our struts with laminated layers of wood, clamped onto a specially made jig. Lefts on one diagonal, rights the other.

Zome jig

Zome making jig

 

Making zome ribs

Making double curvature zome ribs

Be at home
In a zome

In the USA, Rob Bell, has taken the zome structure further in these magnificent temple sculptures, made up of plywood plates, for the Burning Man gathering. …

Zome is where the Art is.

Zome

Rob bell’s zome work

 

Zome

Rob bell’s zome work again

And here we have a model of The Zodiac Tent with the zome at its heart.

Zodiac tent

The zome in the zodiac tent

 

Spirits Intent Yurt Covers

Perfect yurt coverWe have been sewing Yurt Covers in our way for many years and have never really written about how we do it and what makes us special. So here goes…

The main thing that makes us different from other yurt makers is that we usually make our yurt covers without seeing the frame. “So how do we do this”?, you may ask. Well it is a fine art that we have refined and fine tuned over the years, and have now made (literally) hundreds of canvas and felt yurt covers in this way.

Yurt covers

It is an ancient recipe starting with a measurement sheet which we send to be completed by the yurt owner, with lots of clear instructions to ensure the process is idiot-proof (although there have been a few cases…). We then add lots of circle geometry, a bit of algebra, Pythagoras theorem and sometimes some trigonometry, before getting out our amazing Vietnamese scissors to start cutting the canvas, the webbing, the cord and all those little bits and pieces which make our yurt covers so delicious.

Making yurt covers on siteTop quality canvas is an important ingredient in the pot. We usually make our yurt covers from 12oz polycotton canvas which is flame, water and rot-proofed, and have worked with the UK’s canvas proofers to raise the ‘water head’ (level of water proofing).

And we make our yurt linings with a really snuggly wool felt.

We have two trusty sewing machines, both walking foots (feet?) which means that the heavy fabric is always held tight from slipping. One is a Durkopp-Adler, and the other a Seiko. The Durkopp is the Rolls Royce of sewing machines (which means a tiny screw can cost £75), and is fast, good for the long stretches. It can also sew through a surprising number of canvas layers. The Seiko is better for detailed work like windows and it is lighter to move around so is the one that usually goes out on missions.

Yurt cover sewing machine

Sewing yurt covers
Windows are nice in the yurt covers: as our late friend, Bill Coperthwaite used to say ‘there is something indescribable about the view through a round window’ and I would also recommend opening ones, which we used to do only rectangular, until we worked out that a round hole with a rectangular PVC opening bit was much easier and nicer etc

Window in yurt cover

Round yurt window
…and we like doing decorative details..it makes life interesting.

Coloured yurt coversWe decided a few years back that it was time to share our secrets with the world so we wrote ‘The Yurt Cover Sewing Course’ which reveals all tricks of our trade.

It is always a lovely moment when the cover is all packed in the bag, and ready to be picked up by our latest friendly courier. As we make our yurt covers at a distance, we don’t usually get to see them up, so it’s good when customers send us photos and feedback. We will always hear when something is wrong, but not always when things go right. It’s often a case of needing to hold the intent until we get the thumbs up.

Yurt cover bag
Now, once again the wild Easter sewing rush has begun, so we have sharpened the scissors and got our thimbles out to be ready for the storm….

Yurt Cover tools