Lost Valley Week 3 – A-Frames and Artwork

HSS Week 3

This week was definitely the most “kinesthetic” week of the program, as we got to do hands-on mapping activities, in-field surveying, and painted the entrance to the maintenance building!

Classes started with exploring various community social structures and decision-making processes, which led us into a deeper discussion on sociocracy as Lost Valley’s organizational structure.

What is sociocracy you may ask? According to Wikipedia:

“Sociocracy, also known as dynamic governance, is a system of governance which seeks to achieve solutions that create harmonious social environments as well as productive organizations and businesses. It is distinguished by the use of consent rather than majority voting in decision-making, and decision-making after discussion rounds by people who know each other.

The Sociocratic Circle-Organization Method (SCM) was developed in the Netherlands by electrical engineer and entrepreneur Gerard Endenburg and is based on the work of peace activists and educators, Betty Cadbury and Kees Boeke, and is a recent instantiation of the approach.”


Ravi returned and we explored economics even further, talking about cultural vs. economic globalization, alternative exchange systems and aspects of credit models and GDP health indicators.

DIY A-FramePDC Design day was great, and we had a famous permaculture guest instructor – Andrew Millison, a professor at OSU – come out and co-teach with Brian. After our in-class lesson, Brian took the class over to the Creek Garden, where we continued the lesson on design and topography with Andrew shaping and modeling a large pile of sawdust to explain various examples of terrain and design features. We then spent a good couple of hours working with measuring A-frames and water levels finding the contour lines in the Meadow, which really provided insight on the flow of water on the ground.

That Thursday, our off-day between classes, the former HSS “Cool Kids” from the year before continuing their residency at Lost Valley, Collin Schickedanz and Bruce Weissend, took some of us to the famous Dexter Lake Club for Thursday Karaoke, dollar beers, and pool. This is the bar with the claim-to-fame of the actual location for the movie “Animal House” – ‘bar scene.’ (Honestly, I just went to hang out with the guys, play pool, and eat free ribs. I only sang a handful of times, but you could count me in for back-up on ‘Man of Constant Sorrow!’)

The finishing touches on the week were our group art project with Anna Jackson, and our first class with Catherine “the Grey” Hammond in the Sacred Yurt in ‘Oak Lawn’ on different types of consciousness. The art project definitely shed light on my personality, because I originally I didn’t want to participate and the process kinda pissed me off. Anna, a former resident/guest instructor, started us off by saying “you can only draw circles,” which I was unhappy about because it limited my creative freedom. It did inspire me to imitate Australian Aboriginal art, and help fill/even out the large canvas we were given. Fifteen minutes in, Anna changed the directions to “you can only draw squares and rectangles,” which did not align with the design I had in mind for my art. (Ridged right?) About 10 min later, she opened up the prompt to “you can paint whatever you feel.” I wish that was the plan all-along, because I feel like we could’ve organized a planned piece of art or just unleashed our creative freedom from the get-go. I did take pride in my work, because I felt like my contribution helped fill out the space and I also felt like Michelangelo climbing up ladders to paint. So it really ticked me off when my fellow classmate, Caitie Mathews, climbed up a ladder and painted on top of one of my artistic dot-patterns without asking me, which in turn threw off my uniform design intentions.

Luckily I coordinated with Sam Bascom for that weekend to tie-dye my class t-shirt and a few other shirts, so I got my solo creative art fix with ‘some’ uniform design. Little did I know I unintentionally found a project for the program down the road…

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