Mei Ling Hom – Dit Dit Dash

The current artist-in-residence at Bernheim is Mei Ling Hom. Her web page is HERE.  She’s currently working on a sculpture that will be set up in the Edible Garden along a sweeping walkway that goes from the arbor to the raised growing beds.  It involves creating around 50 individual “dits” and “dahs” that make up Morse Code. Each “dit” will be filled with soil and planted with a lavender plant.  Each “dah” will be planted with a row of European garlic.  The roots of the plants will be inoculated with Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi which will form a relationship with the plant that, in theory, will allow the plants to grow better than they would without the fungi.  As the sculptural piece rots over time they will leave the soil beneath them in better shape than before.  This concept of regenerative design is part of the larger garden design considerations.  Here’s some pictures of the pieces in production.  I’ll post pictures of the sculpture in place later.  Mei Ling’s partner, Dave, is instrument in all of this happening.
Meiling - Creating a dit
Dave and Meiling working 3-11-14

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Day of Play – CAP Conference Year One

On Saturday, October 5th, as part of the first Children at Play Conference at Bernheim, a small community of play advocates and children gathered to explore how children play when they are allowed the opportunity to interact with their environment in ways that most “fixed equipment” playgrounds don’t.  We provided lots of “loose parts” such as:

  • cardboard boxes
  • ropes
  • cut bamboo
  • ropes, strings and cargo webbing
  • straw bales
  • sticks, rocks and stumps
  • driftwood logs
  • canvas tarps
  • balls, plungers

We offered them knives and box cutters to use under supervision.  We helped tie knots and move heavy things when assistance was asked for. We gave them drums and buckets and brooms.  But mostly we stayed out of their way simply observing.  When children have the opportunity to fully interact with their environment they play in ways that look very different from the way they play in most playground environments.  They interact with each other more fully.  They make up rules and social contracts with one another.  They focus on a task and stay on focus for long periods of time.  They problem solve.  They problem create.  They put things together, including their thoughts, in creative and interesting ways.  Here’s a few pictures from the day.

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Whirlwood Moves to Edible Garden

At Bernheim’s CONNECT event this year we debuted a new aspect of the festival we called CONNECTglow.  CONNECTglow is essentially a light sculpture competition that requires the artists to create spectacle at night without the assistance of AC current.  Artists could use fire, batteries, solar power w storage…anything that would allow them to create light without plugging in.  Carrie Blaydes and Mike Newsome (with factory handbook) created this whirlwind collection of drift wood they collected from the Falls of the Ohio State Park just across the 2nd Street Bridge from Louisville.  The sculpture was erected on the shores of Lake Nevin at Bernheim but now this piece is being moved to the Edible Garden at Bernheim.  It should fit in nicely in it’s new home.  I’ll post additional pictures once it’s in place and then more pictures next spring once the gardens get installed around it.

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2013 Children at Play Conference – Oct 4/5

I know that the readers of this blog are few. And I know that the few are not close. But… Next Friday and Saturday is the first Children at Play Conference at Bernheim (near Louisville Kentucky). I’ve been pulling the larger Children at Play Initiative that this conference kicks off for over a year. This is the start of an on-going effort to reinvent the universe of outdoor play spaces in my region. I know, in my bones, that this community will become a hot-spot for the most amazing outdoor play environments to be found. With a bit of help we will simply make it so. If you want to find out more about the upcoming conference simply click HERE.CAP13 Promo

Portland Plays – Playground Vision Day 9-7-13

Today the Portland Plays group pulled off an amazing day of play that included children in the visioning and planning for a playground that will help start the process of breaking the mold of play environments in our community.  The people that pulled this day together should be really proud of what they did.  The kids had a ball.  When I told Ruby it was time to leave she almost cried.  We can’t wait to help move this forward.  Here’s just a very few pictures.  I took hundreds (yes hundreds) but these few give you a sense of the day. There will be a conference at Bernheim this October 4th and 5th that focuses on creating this kind of play environment. Click HERE for details. If we can keep doing what the Portland Plays group did today our community will change for the better.

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