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Thursday, 1 January 2015

My Wall of Shame: UFO Number 2, January 2015

Happy New Year, everyone! May you realize some of your dreams this year, stay healthy, and enjoy the love of family and friends, including furry friends.

This is what my Japanese Garden vignette looks like right now:



That is a jar of wallpaper paste holding up the short wall. I began this vignette a year or more ago, from a design in a Japanese dollhouse book I first saw at Anne B.'s house in the UK, and was able to purchase at the Arnhem miniature show subsequently. When my carpenter-in-chief built the vignette for me, I was aghast at the sheer size of it - I had expected something much smaller. But I started to work on it, only to run into problems installing the walls obliquely against the corners, the house part of the vignette. So the project languished, until quite recently.

Judy R. in Oregon was also struggling with a Japanese garden vignette, so we decided to start working on ours simultaneously, via email, in the hope of encouraging each other. For reasons that are unavoidable, Judy has had to delay her start, but I am going to get going and make all the errors in the hope she can avoid them later.

The major problem for me was how to fix those diagonal walls securely in place; and so it sat, until I thought to myself, but this is going to be landscaped, that will raise the floor level, and anyways, Japanese homes have steps leading up, so raising the floor will give something solid to build the walls against, and allow for the increased surface height due to the landscaping. Off we go, and I hope you will follow me on this adventure.


This is the page in the book the work is based on; it is a view through a garden gate to a house front, with lots of greenery along the way. However, because it is in Japanese, much of the construction will be guess-work, as that is a language I can't read and likely never will! The photo and the bird's-eye view sketch vary somewhat, so I am adjusting as I go along. For example, the photo shows the house walls to be shorter than the vignette walls, while the sketch shows them to be equal.

For starters, I don't like the rock garden walls. Fortunately, I have long owned a reprint of a turn-of-the-last-century book on Japanese gardening, so I will try bamboo fences, with moon gates with lattice work inserts, instead of the rocks and hedges. The book provides excellent designs for authentic fences, and the materials are usually easily available in $ stores or oriental markets. The walkway will be small slate stepping stones, set in a narrow gravel path, rather than large flat rocks. And there will be a Japanese maple somewhere, along with the usual interesting Japanese garden ornaments like deer scarers, stone lanterns and the like, and of course some chosen flowers.

First off is the interior part of the vignette; raised floor, tokonoma with scroll and flowers, shoe rack and mat. Once that is in place, I can work on the garden portion. Lots of moss, texture, and plants are in my thoughts at this point.

This is currently the major project, but I will also be working on smaller pieces for other finished or unfinished projects. I'm going to start with the other window, which should keep me busy for a couple of days, then go on to the raised floor and step. It should keep me going for a while....

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