the day before i was due to mow the grass labyrinth for grace, the grass contractors who had been asked not to turn up went and mowed the grass! after a mild panic we realised that the grass was probably left long enough to create a labyrinth still. so we went ahead. it turned out fantastically well. taking inspiration from brother anthony here's a how to create your own grass labyrinth. it's incredibly low budget if you borrow a mower! honestly anyone could do it - we have a patio for a garden which tells you how much i know about mowing but managed to do a good job with jen.
1. decide on a labyrinth design. we picked one that looked relatively simple and was based on a pattern of circles. (next week i am going to be creating a more complicated one on the chartres pattern).
2. get your kit together - borrow a mower - we had one with blades of 40cm width which worked well. then you need a tape measure, some small sticks or tent pegs for marking it out. some pieces of string, some longer sticks, a cricket stump or equivalent, and a longish piece of washing line.
3. on a diagram of the labyrinth work out your mesurements. what you do is bang the cricket stump in the centre point. tie the washing line round it and then tie pieces of string on the washing line to mark the distance from the centre of each circle. the centre can be as big as you like. but each circle after that needs to be the width of the mower blades plus enough width for the lines inbetween the path. we went for about 8 inches on top of the width of the blades which seemed about right. once you have done this with the washing line taught move it round in a circle and put tent pegs/small sticks to mark all your circles out
4. with your diagram in front of you work out where the turns are and place your longer sticks there so that when you are mowing you don't cross a line you shouldn't and so that you know where to turn.
5. follow the path from the entrance and always mow against the outer edge of the circles. go slowly and carefully especially at a turn. if in doubt stop and look at the diagram to check it is correct.
6. having mowed the whole path go over it once more.
7. that's it - a beautiful labyrinth - it took me and jen 2 hours to create it from start to finish. it cost nothing.
we ran it at grace with a focus on pentecost. in the centre we had some oil so that you could pray for the next person to arrive to be filled with the spirit of god by anointing them with oil. we gave some simple guidelines for walking. i think walking intenitonally and prayerfully takes a bit of getting used to. the first time you walk a labyrinth can be a bit weird. and it's good to make the most of the centre as a space for prayer/being still or whatever.
there are lots of photos in the gracelondon flickr group (or will be). mark has a lovely one from the top of the tower with people walking on it. i have created a set - one man went to mow
New Urban Peasant!
Looks great... How about borrowing your bro's sit-on and doing something really big?!
Posted by: Kester | June 11, 2006 at 01:39 PM
i guess that if the lawn was a tad too short one could spray the entire lawn with a colour and then mow on top, the cut lawn would go back to green...
Posted by: darren | June 11, 2006 at 03:55 PM
That's really great Jonny. Now can you mow my lawn?
Posted by: Paul Roberts | June 11, 2006 at 04:12 PM
Looks great... you are now officially the Percy Thrower of Alt.Worship... Allotments? Pah!!!
Posted by: Mark Berry | June 11, 2006 at 05:18 PM
This is SO COOL!!!! I invite you to my home in Richmond, VA to mow one on my lawn! You can stay at my house and have a lovely holiday! LOL!!!!
Posted by: Existential Punk | June 11, 2006 at 07:35 PM
fantastic idea - thanks for sharing it : )
Posted by: Andrew Dowsett | June 11, 2006 at 09:01 PM
Very cool idea you have had there. I'd love to put one of those in my back yard. This reminds me of when I used to mow bocce courts into my yard. It isn't quite as impressive as the labyrinth, but it was still a great deal of fun. Can't wait to try your idea whenever I move out of my flat.
Posted by: Brad | June 11, 2006 at 10:18 PM
this looks awesome. the place where I serve as art director did a labyrinth this year....but the mowing idea into the grass may be awesome for this summer. thanks for the worship trick
Posted by: chad Brooks | June 12, 2006 at 03:02 AM
Posted by: Lorna | June 12, 2006 at 10:13 PM
Are you kidding? This is your version of worship? Worship pours out of a life of service to Christ, not out of mowing grass. Get a grip. emissaryx.blogspot.com
Posted by: Owen | June 13, 2006 at 04:35 AM
Jonny, this looks wicked cool. Thanks for posting it. I will definitely rip this idea off sometime.
Posted by: Pernell | June 13, 2006 at 09:20 PM
Some great looking photo's here. No wonder you're so high in 'Google' ranking for the keyword 'Labyrinth'.
I reckon I might have to do something similar on my blog.
(Only just started it though, getting some good ideas here).
Posted by: Pete Moring | January 05, 2007 at 04:28 PM
Thank-you for the nice photos and method descriptions. I found your blog when looking for ideas on how to mow in a labyrinth. The Racine Dominicans (Racine, Wisconsin, USA) have one on their property and I always thought it would be lovely to have one. After reading your blog, I successfully mowed one into my garden, which I can see as I look out the window of my home office. I have re-mowed it once already, which is a bit tricky, but now I am able to enjoy the labyrinth in some way every day. A friend called in today, and she and I walked it together. I am thinking of a summer labyrinth prayer cookout for next month...well, there is just something about a labyrinth - an excellent way to worship indeed!
Posted by: Lisa-Marie Duffield | May 08, 2007 at 10:03 PM
Does this labyrinth still exist? I would like to bring the Westminster cathedral inerfaith group to walk it. John Woodhouse
Posted by: John Woodhouse | April 12, 2011 at 10:11 AM
Does this labyrinth still exist?
Posted by: John Woodhouse | April 12, 2011 at 10:12 AM
we just mow it in the summer. it's not there at the moment. i am actually not sure if we are going to but if we do it is likely to be for grace in july - so keep an eye on www.freshworship.org
Posted by: jonny | April 12, 2011 at 10:16 PM