Saturday, April 02, 2005

hemp or botox?

An illuminating visit by Yves Kuhn of canosmose has changed our house renovation plans from invasive surgery to a holistic treatment. To one person who has done her thesis on the relationship between breathing and bowing, making her living playing ancient and spiritual music on strings made out of catgut, and to another who depicts spring sunsets on linen using a hog bristle brush, paints based on linseed and poppy oils, tinted with ochre earth or cow's urine, this decision comes as a huge relief.

An ex-dancer, Yves is now an entrepreneur in bio-dynamique architecture. As he wandered around our house, touching a stone here and a plaster wall there, it was clear that he was full of respect, and on a mission to bring back what he calls 'peaceful' methods of construction using living breathing materials such as flax and hemp and halt the invasion of anything dead such as concrete.

Approaching the building as he would a physical and spiritual body (for he believes it was constructed with a knowledge of this relationship), with feet, a skeletal structure, flesh, an epidermis and a head, he explained about the aging process:

"Everyone is having a face lift! Is a house not allowed to be old; to have wrinkles; to move? These cracks are it's wrinkles!"

Slowly we began to understand the why of that about which we have always had a hunch: To put non-organic materials in a living body causes the body to lose its natural rhythm of expansion and contraction, ingestion and elimination, and so it is with replacing a wall, roof or floor made originally with chaux, sand and stone, with concrete. Therefore, to do what has been suggested up until now - ie to construct a steel-reinforced concrete floor to 'hold it together' would be like botoxing the house, freezing all the natural movement within it and rendering it as good as dead.

Leaning tenderly against one of our wise old walls, Yves painted a picture of one stone mason humbly handing his stone to the other to be laid, the stone's 'feet' towards the ground and it's 'head' towards the heavens, and in that moment it was as if my lungs started to expand and contract in rhythm with those of the house and the mountain, all of us breathing a huge sigh of relief that the new floors would be made from hemp, and that there would be neither invasive procedures nor plastic surgery executed at our hands.


Blogger Becca said...

This is an absolutely beautiful blog. Thank you for the photos ... and stories ... and writing ... and sharing a very interesting life. I will visit often.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Kimberly said...

Fascinating. What is the work that you're planning to have done? Floors made from hemp? This architect wants more information, please...

6:10 AM  
Blogger ruth said...

hi kimberly, yes we are going to have hemp (chanvre) floors! it comes in bricks. you can also use it for ceilings and partition walls and it is thermic, sonic and phonic, man! if you click on the word canosmose on the post it will go to his website, or put the word in google and there's loads, inc a little bit in english...exciting in' it?!!!

10:50 AM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

This is fascinating. Thank you.

12:11 PM  
Blogger birdychirp said...

I really love the way you write and the way you have described your house and your new project - it makes so much sense the way you write it!

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey..that sounds a wonderful idea..should you need hemp rugs i can help you on that..just mail m on

i'm making hemp rugs 2!!!

1:53 PM  

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