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Humble Designs and Shed Appeal

Check this website out – Humble Designs.

A celebration of DIY reskilliing, handbuilt shelters, low impact structures, shed architecture and tiny houses, and a riposte to the disempowering idea that self-build projects need to be expensive or ‘Grand’!

Shed Appeal

On a cold winter’s day in late 2008, amateur artist, Mary Wallace from Westcliff-on-Sea, was looking for something interesting to sketch in pen and ink. Following a chance visit to her local allotment site, inspiration arrived in the form of that classic self-build, the SHED!

A resulting series of “shed portraits” proved really popular with plot holders at Westcliff Land Cultivation Society’s (WLCS) allotment site. Demand was such that copies of her black and white drawings also featured in a recent edition of ‘Dig This’, the WLCS newsletter. (available online at www.wlcsallotments.org.uk)

Drawing for donkeys

Word spread quickly across the site, with further interest from plot holders keen to have a one-off portrait of their favourite building.

Sketching for fun and relaxation rather than profit, Mary exchanged the resulting drawings for cash donations to SPANA, a veterinary charity that provides practical care for around 400,000 working animals (and the people who depend on them) in eight countries in North Africa and the Middle East. (www.spana.org)

Arty-folks Vs Artichokes

Growing up on a farm in north Essex and claiming to come from a long line of bodgers, Mary feels sheds reflect aspects of the owners character in their designs. Plotters tend to have a healthy interest in the “make do and mend” culture, often recycling whatever is to hand.

The results can be a slightly ramshackle self-build, but each one is different and individual. Anything goes and allotment sheds remain highly visible and interesting examples of architectural anarchy in an all too ordered world.

Shed sell-out?

There is talk of shed greetings cards and a calendar, but for the moment Mary is content with supporting SPANA through sketching and simply chilling out down on her “shed-tastic” allotment.

If you are interested in supporting SPANA visit their website or telephone 0870 067 0476

ãMary & Simon Wallace, Westcliff-on-Sea, July 2009

e-mail: cybershed2007@hotmail.com

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