We were blessed to be able to run our first proper workshop during the week of April 23-27. The purpose of this workshop was to build a new boundary fence and to experiment with different colours and textures in rammed earth.
Our wonderful neighbours agreed to allow us to pull down the existing boundary fence and create a HUGE amount of noise for the entire week, even though they had a brand new baby!
It took us around 2 weeks to create this fence in the end. First of all we had to take down the existing fence. Then (with the amazing support of our sponsor Firth who provided the concrete) we had to pour a new footing.
Then we had to erect our formwork down the full 18m of fence. This time is was a big thanks to Laminex who provided the amazing strandfloor. Their boards are amazing and make brilliant rammed earth formwork. You can see some of their boards in the photo below.
And who can forget the amazing Jay and Jane who came up from Taupo for the week to help us build the fence and learn about rammed earth. What superstars they were! Garry and Sandra Payne also put in a huge effort helping us not only with the formwork but also with a fair few days ramming!
On Thursday the artists came to site to learn about rammed earth and what is possible with it. They presented us with an amazing carving that we put in the formwork to emboss into the fence. Reuben and Jay can be seen in the image below putting some 45 degree angles on the carving to allow it to easily come off the rammed earth at the end (a note to anyone else wanting to do this, you must have a 45 degree angle on all carvings or embossings otherwise they wanted release the rammed earth wall when you are trying to reveal!)
We had a huge amount of fun with the Peter Fell oxides playing with trying to create different colours. It was the first time that we had gotten to play with the greens and blues. Such fun! And Peter Fell even provided us with a little white cement to really allow the greens and blues to pop. Our incredible supporter Golden Bay Cement has been provided us with their wonderful cement for the majority of the walls but we found that the grey of the cement fought with a few of the oxides so we wanted to see what white cement would do. And we had a great result!
We also took the opportunity to play with some textures and threw sea glass and shells into the wall to see what would happen. The glass didn't really turn out as hoped, but the shells are amazing! So excited with the shells for Chelle!
The workshop also helped bring people together. Jo (one of the artists) turned out to be a friend of Jane Henley - first CEO of the NZGBC who I have known for years! What a small world it is! So of course we had to take a selfie and send it to her :)
And finally here is what the wall looks like. Everyone was super excited to see it revealed and we had a fantastic unveiling ceremony on site with everyone.