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.
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’…
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.
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.
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!
We’ve been gradually building these two beds, about 5 metres long by 1.3, by 300mm high. I invented a good way to install hoops removably – pillars made from a rolled up section of chicken wire, wrapped around a plastic disposable drink cup filled with a weak mix of plaster of paris and sand just to give the cup rigidity. The cup is dug out later when the ferro plaster has hardened. Then 32mm black polythene (‘Alkathene’) pipe is cut and placed in the holes. I have set some hoops in plaster of paris to try – but could just sit them in i guess… tests will go on. Plastic covers in winter will make beds into large cloches.
Puppies loved playing in in the bare soil as it gets wheelbarrowed in…
From the mezzanine window… Some soil up to final level, already planted out by Raewyn! Note how the far bed isn’t as darkly stained – the first was brushed over a bit more and maybe the solution of iron sulphate was a bit stronger?We were rushing away and i may have been inconsistent… Haste makes waste. However my sister prefers to paint the beds red to match her barn, so I’ve left it until a month or so when it will take acrylic paint. We painted some of our raised beds in Kaiwaka years ago and the paint is as good as new still…
Overall, the work of making these permanent beds was not too much at all. Only one coat on these beds, and one strip of chicken wire, folded once lengthwise and rolled over at the top by about 120 mm.
You just have to plod and do it… Then it’s there for good, as a garden bed should be – long after we are gone!
Last month we found our perfect buyers for the work in progress, that poor baby of arrested development: our cafe Eutopia site. The couple are local to Kaiwaka, have recently masterfully finished their big beautiful dream house/castle on the Kaipara, complete with tower, mosaic floors, sculptures, pottery pillars, ferrocement features, driftwood banisters and more, and want a new artistic challenge. I hope they will let me put up some photos of their place soon – and the ongoing work at Eutopia too…
So, the building will soon begin again at Eutopia. The cafe will be closed for as long as it takes them to lovingly mosaic, plaster and paint the courtyard, as well as a lot more by the sound of it! They have carte blanche from me – now it’s their turn to build the dream and extend it! Just in case, I have retained the rights to design other eutopia ferrocement-featured cafes elsewhere, but whether that happens depends on who may want to run a cafe with that name and look (not identical to kaiwaka, but designed and perhaps sculpted by me), and whether I can get the time to promote such a creation (writing and jewellery call – see www.silventree.com for what I’m up to in the jewellery line).
We now live in whangarei as my mum is in a home and we are visiting a lot, and Raewyn has work here… and, well I ran out of resources to finish the dream. So we are living in sister Rosie’s barn and I have a little studio in the Quarry Arts Centre.
The Cafe business goes with it at this price – either can sell separately. Eutopia the land and buildings is a mere $180,000 NZ, or US$147,600. You couldn’t buy the moongate plus giant seagull sculpture alone for that price!
As the ad says:
Cafe Eutopia is truly a New Zealand icon, and tourists from all over the world are always photographing it – and uploading pictures and inspired comments on the Web. Google Images has page after page of coulourful photos of cafe Eutopia, most of them uploaded by customers from around the world.
Fantastic potential, dreams, visions, inspiring concepts are all here for the right person to take them on and give them new life.
spread the word! pin it, post it, attach it. I want the right person to see this….