Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spontaneous Construction 2012 Recap

What another great year at Spontaneous Construction (SponCon)- Home ReSource's signature event.  This is a day-long building contest using materials found at Home ReSource. SponCon has been dubbed a "celebration of creative re-invention."  It is a unique and wonderful event and many of us look forward to it every year.

Here is a link to our Facebook album with photos and captions from the day.
Same team- 2011 SponCon Project, a mobile garden cloche
Again this year, our garden coaching business Butterfly Properties had a team and like last year, we built something for the garden.  Team members retained our roles from last year:
me- field marshal, woodworker;
Barry Cummings- metal working specialist, fabrication wizard;
Marilyn Marler- custodial engineer and  field logistical support.
The team and the completed project- re-purposed garden tool garden table and chairs
If you have been following my blog, you will probably recognize the theme- repurposed garden tools.  I love them.  Old tools are special to us. Tools are pieces of art and represent years of embodied work & energy.

This project was part 4 in a 6 part series; it started with the trellisgate arbor, and there are a couple of projects still to come.
Here is what we started with- old tools and recycled cedar 2x4 fence rails.  Reusing these old tools & immortalizing them is a way to add interest to a landscape, and is a tribute to the service the tools have performed.
we are all business
The chairs are made from old grain scoops, manure forks & coal shovels (part of Missoula history since most houses burned coal at some point). Tool handles are welded to the seats, and the back spindles are made from tines of manure forks.

The chair top rails are steam bent white oak tool handles, and the stretchers (horizontal pieces connecting the legs) are tools handles, too. We created tenons on the spindles that we inserted into mortises in the legs for strength.
Checking the handles in the steam box

Bending a handle fresh out of the steam box
The table top is made from reused cedar 2 x 4 fence rails which were destined for the dumpster (they were cutoffs from other projects, & being less than 24” long, their use is limited). All the hardware (screws, carriage bolts, etc) in the project is reused. All of our scraps from this project (like unused tool handles or grain scoops) will be put to use for similar projects.
The potato fork garden table- designed to be inserted into the ground
It is incredible what people can make in 6 hours at SponCon.  There are some fantastic teams filled with skilled work workers  metal workers, an artists.
A bad start to the day- Barry plugs his 110v welder into a 250v outlet
The top 13 or so pieces (there were over 30 contestants), will be auctioned off at the Benefit auction on October 19 at the Double Tree in Missoula.  This auction raises money for the charitable and educational programs Home ReSource provides in the community.  It will be a great event and a chance to bid on these and other works of art (and function).
Another happy family enjoying SponCon!
This was the best SponCon event yet. It is growing and getting more professional and established in the community every year, and like anything of this sort it takes a lot of dedicated people. This year, volunteers like board treasurer Nicole Marshall and Marilyn Marler were co-chairs of the SponCon Planning Committee, and a lot of staff helped organize and implement SponCon. Thanks everyone!

Below is a time-lapse video we took of the event- the whole day in 1:54!.  Pay particular attention to Adapt Design + Build's team in the lower right hand side of the screen as the build a English phone booth inspired greenhouse!

I am already looking forward to SponCon in 2013! 


  1. The time-lapse is awesome! Thanks Marilyn and David for making this happen, and for making a seriously sweet set of outdoor furniture. Benefit Auction October 19th!

    1. Thanks! But to be clear, Marilyn and I were only responsible for the time lapse video! The Home ReSource staff, volunteers, board members, event sponsors and competitors made the day wonderful!
      Yes- Benefit Auction Octobner 19th

  2. I've never heard of such a thing, but boy, does it sound like fun! Good work.

    1. It is the best festival-type event in Missoula- and that is saying a lot. Keep it in mind for next year!

    2. I certainly will. That is saying something!

  3. Oh, and I second Anonymous, that time-lapse IS awesome. So is that "phone booth!"

    1. You know you could buy that phone booth at the benefit auction on Oct 19!