Tag Archives: design

Understanding Patterns

Here is the outline to my ‘Understanding Patterns’ workshop, available as part of my offerings through Charlotte Holloway Ashwanden. Enjoy ūüôā

Pattern Understanding is a key part of holistic design. We are constantly nested within patterns, both visible and invisible, throughout our lives. Indeed, we can see patterns as a fundamental pattern of human experience. When we are open to patterns, we can feel how they function; and much of our relationship to patterns is based on intuition, which we cannot necessarily explain. So why is it important to understand patterns?

Bill Mollison and David Holmgren point out in the ‘Permaculture Designer’s Manual’ that patterns are something which we have an intuitive relationship with. But if we are to create effective designs which fit harmoniously within the systems we are part of, it is also important to consciously comprehend and communicate our understanding of patterns. This is where permaculture design is so useful, as it helps us to connect intuition and conscious design.

Here are some common natural patterns and their functions:

Spiral

Conservation of energy

Vortex / Overbeck Jet

Cycling of energy

Wave

Rhythmic movement

Fractal

Spreading over small spaces

Tessellation

Maximum cover with minimum materials used

Dendritic

Carrying energy over a wide area

Symmetry

Fitting together

Advancing in Permaculture: Ideas for Achieving Dreams!

Permaculture: a small word with huge reverberations. Though the term was first coined in the 1970s (1), many of the principles and ethics are as old as human society‚ÄĒfrom being conscious of the world around us as inclusive of, rather than separate from, us, to the idea that nature is our best teacher and one of the best ways to expand our own education is to observe and interact with what is going on around us.

How we accomplish the practicalities of these ideas is as varied as there are people in interested in permaculture. This is one of the beauties of the system, as the only limit to what you can achieve using permaculture design is your own imagination. Many use permaculture to design gardens or farms (see for example 2); yet the design principles can also be applied to building (see for example 3), social systems (see for example 4) and even one’s own finances (see for example 5).

Yet this wide range of applications can also occasionally be a little overwhelming. How to use permaculture to focus in on what we really want to be achieving?

Practicalities!

It is partly with this in mind that I shall be participating next week in the Permaculture Advanced Design Course at the Casina Settarte (6) in Ostuni, South Italy. The five-day course, running from 4-8 December and facilitated by long-time practitioners Andrea Lo Presti and Giuseppe Sannicandro, is aimed at honing the skills of those already practised at permaculture design who are looking to improve and perhaps refine how to best work with their passions.

The skills which we shall be refining include specifics such as drawing to scale and using computer software in the design process, as well as more general communicational resources such as building bioregional networks and communicating with one’s clients (7).

All this in sunny Puglia in a project which was set up in 1993 in order to ‚Äúcreate a context where people can find inspiration¬†tuning with the nature‚ÄĚ (8). Casina Settarte is a site for permaculture, as well as for art, and has hosted a number of workshops throughout the years including contact improvisation, yoga, various dance forms and singing (8). Next year, they shall be hosting a festival combining our connection to nature with our connection to our artistic passions called ‚ÄėTuning into Nature‚Äô (8).

Intrigued by all of this? The Advanced Permaculture Design Course still has places left, so if you fancy five days of inspiration in a gorgeous setting you might want to check out Casina Settarte’s website!

Live updates from the course to follow…

References

  1. Grayson, R, 2007. ‚ÄėA Short and Incomplete History of Permaculture‚Äô. Pacific Edge, 26/7/2007. http://pacific-edge.info/2007/07/a-short-and-incomplete-history-of-permaculture/
  2. Hemenway, 2009. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. Chelsea green: New York
  3. Brighton Permaculture Trust, 2015. ‚ÄėEco-Build Courses‚Äô. https://brightonpermaculture.org.uk/courses/ecobuild
  4. Macnamara, L, 2012. People and Permaculture: Caring and Designing for Ourselves, Each Other and the Planet. Permanent Publications: Hampshire
  5. Murray, H, 2009. ‚Äė02. Economics- designing more sustainable personal¬†finances‚Äô. https://hedvigmurray.wordpress.com/permaculture-diploma/economics-my-personal-finances/
  6. Casina Settarte, 2015. ‚ÄėMission‚Äô. http://www.casinasettarte.org/wordpress/?page_id=1343&lang=en
  7. Casina Settarte, 2015. ‚ÄėPermaculture Advanced Design Course‚Äô. http://www.casinasettarte.org/wordpress/?ai1ec_event=permaculture-advanced-design-course&lang=en
  8. Casina Settarte, 2015. ‚ÄėHistory‚Äô. http://www.casinasettarte.org/wordpress/?page_id=991&lang=e