Designing with nature is a powerful but recent current in the western garden making tradition. In Japan, garden makers have for well over a millennium been guided by the philosophy that nature is the first design teacher. That tradition has much to teach us about making places capable of answering ecological needs and providing visitors with a sense of space, stillness and balance even in a hectic, crowded urban setting.
This three-day course provides 25 hours of theoretical and hands-on training in the Japanese approach to designing with nature and its modern use and application. Traditional techniques of arranging stone, plants, and water according to nature’s design principles are placed in historical perspective and given contemporary ecological and social context as tools for creating meaningful spaces that connect people to their environment. On-site thematic garden tours and lectures offer theoretical instruction in observing and analyzing composition and representations of nature in the garden.An offsite excursion offers an opportunity to engage with and study the local landscape. The offsite portion will focus on scenic views in the Columbia Gorge and include an overnight at the stunning Menucha Retreat center in Corbett.
Drawing by hand is foundational to critical thinking, absorbing skills at the intuitive level, and developing a cultivated eye, and is the course’s core hands-on activity. Participants are expected to keep documentation of their observations and drawing work in a sketchbook. A required preparatory module will provide readings and assignments in advance of the course. The course is eligible for continuing education credits. Application goes until Sept. 12.