Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Anglesely Abbey

With the flurry of activity surrounding the Hard Landscape portfolio and Bespoke portfolio visits to winter gardens for shots to go into the Soft Landscape portfolio have all but been forgotten. But today, as the sun finally peaked out from the clouds, I felt I HAD to go to see the spectacular snowdrop display and glorious winter gardens at Anglesey Abbey. a quick jaunt up the A14 and back in time for lunch and more drawing(!)

From Collages

The winter gardens wind their way through a huge section of the garden, the path helping to divide the diffeerent section by bending so as to hide the next element. Glorious inter colour in the shape of yellow stemmed Salix, crimson coloured Cornus and ghostly white Rubrus, nestled in alongside Sarcoccoca confusa, Hammemelis, Chosiya, Corylus, Ophiopogon, Carex, Eleagnus and more in fact 150 species to cheer up a dreary English winter and this one has been particularly dreary!. The finale was of course the striking stand of Betula utilis var. jaquemontii. Stark against the rich dark soil, just sprouting daffs(?) beneath.

The snowdrops? two weeks late due to snow and cold weather! so I will have to go back again to see the Viburnums, Hammemelis and Galanthus in their full glory. Really, an inspirational garden for winter colour and interest.

Project two ......returns

Marked but grades not revealed yet we have had our A1 sheets scanned in digitally. It seems an age ago that this was done but a mere 6 weeks.

Bubble diagrams: still a bit controlled for my liking, project 3 I plan to bring some artistic movement to it all -

From HLP

Plan view and 3d models: my favorite page, if one is allowed such a thing,. Close up the 3d models really come alive with the rendering and using a focal rendering style focuses the eye on different aspects of the design.

From HLP

Section Elevations: although they look a little bland here, they are in fact detailed section drawings showing key aspects of the design and features incorporated in the clients new gardens. They were the hardest to do, converting 1:100 to 1:50 (manually!) but the most rewarding to complete.

From HLP

So far the site analysis has not materialised, maybe that is a sign that it was not the best piece of work ever done!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Is admiting to being a student a disadvantage to ones professional credibility?

A peer on my PostGrad Dip Garden Design course has discussed, all be it not in depth, the concern that publicly presenting themselves as a student, as I do here in this blog, will lead to potential clients perceiving them as unprofessional or inexperienced and immature in some way.

I can't deny I have pondered on this, however I AM in experienced in this profession, I haven't delivered scads of garden design and builds yet. I am NOT however inexperienced in dealing with clients, delivering costly IT & business change projects, on time and on budget, consistently buying products and retailing them at a reasonable net profit sit amongst many other skills I've developed in a 20yr career in business, volunteering and consulting.

Several of these roles has had budgets far far in excess of even the most exorbitant garden design project even I could imagine (ok, yes we are talking millions of the multi kind!) So I suppose I'm saying I bring several important and well honed skills to the proverbial party.

So dear reader should I quit this blog? Cease from showing the world my current inexperience? my frustrations at levels of learning? am I shooting myself in the professional foot?

n.b. I should perhaps also stake the claim that I qualified as a designer in 1986, in the form of a BA hons degree in Graphic Design ;)

Monday, January 18, 2010

The sense of achievement

I have a sense of achievement which could be the prelude to a massive disappointment but still, the last 5 weeks struggling with Vectorworks, constructions notes, supplier catalogue blurb, plans, 2d drawings, grainy photo's and my own n00b-ness in the face of building anything that will stand up for more than a slight breath of wind, has turned out to be the expected steep learning curve and though I say it myself, successful. To some degree at least. The OCGD Hard Landscape Portfolio is well on the way.

Just one of the draft drawings
From 1 HLP

An email from 'Teach' reminding us to have planting plans for project 2 ready for the CAD course at the beginning of term ( 10 days time) slammed me into the wall of deadline pressure: delivering the HLP (85% done), the bespoke portfolio (not yet begun) and now a planting plan on top of that.

In a frantic half an hour I went from 'I can't do all this!' (think hysteria pitch) to ' S**t, I have to get this done! plan it woman' (terminator workaholic mode) and the consequent flurry of research, absorbing and cogitating that goes on around the actual 'sitting down and doing it' process.

An interesting change of head space which was much needed tbh. I may not complete on time but I will be skidding in to the finish post with my best attempt at it all, come hell or broken leg!

And in the background of all this I am steadily building my 365 project and discovering it's not that easy. Another learning process.
From Collages

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reality check

Sometimes in the middle of crazy deadlines and the chaos of humanity something happens to make you remember there really is more to life.

Today, a friends beloved Dad died and another friend gave birth to twins (one boy, one girl).

A sad and a joyous day.

And then..... it's back to drawing construction diagrams in Vectorworks

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What would it be like to represent every day with one image? - Creating a Book of Days for 2010

I first heard the term Day Book years ago when I was temping for some senior training guru at Xerox. The day book/file was for any papers related to that day. Simple really but pretty effective in focusing attention on that one particular days demands and needs.

On Flickr I saw this http://www.flickr.com/photos/martintaylor/ gr8 version of a day book, things that are noticed by the photographer daily.

So this year I am going to do the same, with a bit of a hiccup in week one I'll admit, but from today I'll post daily images here http://www.flickr.com/photos/42165066@N03/

Do post if you have something similar going on

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bi-continental tech support rocks

Back in like with Vectorworks after finding this http://kbase.vectorworks.net/. Donny from tech support really rocks!

And of course more locally but still virtually our tutor Tamsin Slatter, who made me realise how much I have to learn to be even a rookie at VW as opposed to a n00b.

Thanks Guys

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vectorworks HELL

This is a RANT if you don't like rants then read no further.

Today is turning into some sort of Vectorworks hell. Who knew something seemingly so straightforward could have some of the worst help texts in human history (ok possibly a teeny exaggeration there!)

'it makes sense' someone said to me. Yeah, if you happen to be a Vectorworks geek it might make some sense. I have worked in IT for a number of years, damn I have written instruction manuals and help sites, worked in support for software from the devil (OK SAP). I know how dull they are to read AND to write.

BUT GODS guys you're writing for a 101 idiot, REMEMBER not some geek who loves your product so much, knowing it's every feature (bug!), quirk, shortcut, jargon, even how it is coded..........

The overuse of hyper-linking might save paper but it sure as hell makes following instructions within instructions within instructions confusing.

And don't get me started on printing. Yesterday all was well, today it prints 1 sheet on 7, why? who knows, I daren't look in the help text, it's not helpful!

Oh for the days of a human being on the end of the phone.

I am sure at least one or two readers will be VW wizards so if you are and you want to help PLEASE get in touch :D

Snow and landscape detailing

In the Milky Way lecture it was indicated the best titles for blog posts are questions but I can only ask so many times 'How much snow did you get?' I suppose I need to work on my questions at some point.

I splashed out on the 4 Landscape Detailing books (water, surfaces, structures, enclosures) by Michael Littlewood in a moment of panic about this HLP, almost £150 from discounted Amazon. VERY expensive. But in the end they are brilliant and worth the gross expenditure (as long as I carry on to do this professionally that is!) Full to the brim with all kinds of structures and surfaces detailed beautifully. They may not be exactly what I need but many are pretty darn close.

The books are sporting index postit's galore, now I need to get down to it and flex my newly forming VW muscles.

....and of course it's one more snow day, how much did you get ?!
From Collages

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How much time ??????

After a recommendation months ago to use this little piece of software I finally got going with it to count up the hours spent on the holiday project drawing up a series of hard landscape projects from plan and image.

Tickspot is about as intuitive as it comes which is a bonus as one wades through the unknown in Vectorworks and Sketchup not to mention construction of even the simplest forms in the garden (butyl liner, geotextile and butterfly wall ties anyone?)

Running the reports makes it obvious that there is a lot more faffing about going on, sorry 'Task - research' than actual drawing up or designing but it is a steep learning process and the tickspot tool is helping to focus my time on the task at hand instead of all the distractions that pervade at this time of year.

So far 36 out of the predicted 200 hours are done, somehow that 200 is feeling a touch optomistic!

And one of my working drawings (from VW) to give those 'construction engineer types' a laugh....
From HLP

Friday, January 1, 2010

Marketing reminds me, in 2010......

......to take public PR and marketing with a LARGE, nay HUGE pinch of salt. Self aggrandizement and stretching the details are the watchwords in these dark arts and lets face it in this VR world 'bigging' oneself and ones achievements up is a matter of course!
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