About Wizard of Eutopia

I am a 'eutopian' visionary philosopher who has temporarily abandoned his search for the precise meaning of 'Life, the Universe and Everything' and its ideal formulation, to spend the last 12 years writing a sprawling epic fantasy pentalogy called The Apples of Aeden; also building the domed ferrocement carved 'Dreamspace' of Cafe Eutopia, Kaiwaka, New Zealand; and writing Fantastic Ferrocement, A Passport to Eutopia, Passport to Creativity, The Nautilus Project and Icon of Ainenia; and building a carved 'Tree of Life' idea-creation game called Eutopia: the Game.

Stairway to Haven photos of the steps – construction and carving

This shows the stages I hope fairly well tho jumbled order, and sorry my phone camera had bleary eyes! Grandson Bruno helped, got plastered, and toppled (gently) off the rebar once… He was laughing about it two minutes later. Note the mix consistency in wheelbarrow – firm but fluffy – ie been mixed for a few minutes briskly to aerate a bit. Went on like butter. Carving the next day just in time – the 2:1 mix was already getting hard!

The coloured plaster was so the steps wouldn’t need painting. (1kg of powder iron-based – colour called ‘marigold’, per 20kg of cement. Used 1.5 kg all up.) I went over the whole with iron sulphate stain as well, though later Anna plans to paint all but the actual steps to match the raised beds and arches. There’s a little ‘grotto’ space under the arms of the steps, with two plaster lizards formed from left-over coloured plaster…

The steps took way longer because there was an existing slope and I couldn’t just ‘carve’ the steps out of the earth then lay the chickenwire onto it. Steps had to be built up and filled with waste concrete pieces and concrete. Much leveling and measuring, as Bruno shows!

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Stairway to Haven

I’ve just been in Gisborne adding a grand stairway to daughter Anna’s ferrocement raised bed garden… carved with a few scenes from Tolkien and three owls (Anna wanted that because three moreporks visited the garden the night they put up the owl-carved finial on the house overlooking the garden).

Photos to come – meanwhile here’s the handrail of the steps to the housetruck at our haven on the Kaipara. They were added recently, took a couple of days all up. Painted gold with green rubbing to make like bronze.  Also see the steps cut into the turf bank by my new cabin…

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Hobbits happy

And so will I be! I’m embarking on a new venture, which has its own blog/website: https://hobbithaven.wordpress.com/ – a new enterprise all about making a new line of hobbitholes, cabins, tiny homes, etc., all in the Tolkien spirit and incorporating Elven and other influences as well but focusing on (licensed) hobbit structures (human sized of course). Click the link and follow the journey!  I will still post here the more technical stuff as before..

The cabin in the woods the making of which inspired me to go hobbit building:

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The answer is spinning in the wind

Mobile ferrocement sculptures? Combined with follies for the recluse or the children? Look no further; here;s the concept model in plaster of Paris anyway. It happened to be blowing hard yesterday when I made it and I found it spun quite nicely considering it hasn’t got any proper bearings or aerodynamic design…

I’ve been told do the hobbit cabins first – more practical… But I’ll put the model out there and if you know someone who wants this, contact me forthwith! Id love to make one. It would be about 4-5 metres high, giving a lifesized ‘vitruvian couple’…

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Dove project at the Herstory Ark, Kaiwaka

Nearly done! I posted more pictures at http://wizardofeutopia.com/2014/11/09/the-dove-sleeps-in-the-sand/ The oval ferrocement sign was easy – rotproof and strong, I think I’d do all my signs in ferro… even a street sandwich board sign – heavy enough not to blow over in the wind too…

Even though the fence ferro along the straight part of the wall wasn’t ideal, being baggy etc, it has firmed up well already with the plaster on, all but the second inside coat. I think it will flex but not crack under load eg from strong winds; but we’ll see… I think I’d definitely go for 665 square mesh as the armature next time. I’ll try it out for the raised beds I plan around the boat prow.

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The abstract ideals of Eutopia and the Shire meet concretely

My latest vision is to start a romantic Tolkienesque village based on the ideals of Love Beauty Truth and Freedom. The structures of low-maintenance ferrocement (with some wooden trim etc). This is a model of the cabin-cottages I have in mind. About 5 meters by 3.5. The central farmhouse would be much bigger and house all the cooking and washing and dining areas, like an Inn. The cabins are for resting reading sleeping etc.

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To build a sculptural wall and make a splash

This has been my latest foray… The Ark has always needed a good boundary wall and I’ve always wanted a boat hull around it…. this is a photo record, hopefully self-explanatory. Short video walk-around of wall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA8sZXzcYCc

Ive used about 40  40kg bags of cement and 4 cubic metres of sand. wall is about 50 metres long. Yet to do the inside second coat, so that will take another maybe 6-10 bags of cement.

I tried a different reinforcing structure as it was mostly flat wall. Waratah steel fence posts (straight in the ground), with some L rebar wired on to give a footing at right angles to the wall (concreted in). and a coil of the famous ‘number 8’ fencing wire as the main horizontal reinforcing and support for the two layers of chickenwire. Quite minimalist! D10 rebar along the top. in curved higher front section I used 668 square mesh rebar sheets. Next time I’ll try a twin layer of 668 with chickenwire sandwiched between. More straight and flat, and way less work if I only have to tie the two sheets together at intervals instead of lacing the chickenwire onto each side. I think the plaster will go over the square mesh ok, as long as I use a thinnish first coat so it doesn’t sag. For this wall I did three coats, scratching with the plaster rake in between coats for good adhesion. third coat I sponge finished with sponge from an old seat!

More on this project later…

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