On display at the Commonwealth Village

Commonwealth Village

Commonwealth Village is a Mainland located Community themed on the looks and climate of New England. Developed by Derek Boston, it offers residential rentals, village shopping and an expanding arts and music programme.

Built around a central square without outlying rental residences all in a New England style, the communal heart of the community is a tavern-side meadow where live music events are held, together with open mic sessions. Friday July 14th will see Nikita Mortenwold performing on the stage from 14:00 SLT, followed by Ian Bleac at 15:00 SLT.

Commonwealth Village

Also opening at 14:00 SLT on Friday 14th July is a new art exhibition at the Commonwealth Village. An open-air event being held on the paved piazza in front of the village’s imposing pavilion, I’m quite delighted and honoured to say that the display is of work by …. me!

It was a genuine surprise and pleasure to receive an invitation from Derek to display images from my Exploring Second Life series of blog posts in these pages, particularly as art is one of the newest additions to the Commonwealth’s event calendar. I was equally delighted to be able to chat with Derek in June in my role as a gallery space curator to discuss art exhibitions in SL.

Commonwealth Village

For the exhibition, I’m offering some 16 images from some of the more recent travels Caitlyn and I have made across the grid, and I hope people will find them pleasing. I’d also like to offer an open invitation to anyone do minded to join us at the Commonwealth Village for the music and the opening from 14:00 SLT on Friday, July 14th.

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Isla Pey: all change

The Maven Eco IV, with mods, and part of the updated island

So, yeah. Last time I wrote about the pet project of Isla Pey, I passed comment that unless it went through a major make-over, it likely would not be changing too much. Well, guess what? We’ve just had a major make-over 😀 . It wasn’t intentional; we happened to visit Cerys’ magnificent Collins Land (see here), which got me reconsidering island designs; then I discovered the Maven Homes Eco IV house (available in either unfurnished or furnished variations), which became a “must have”.

The House particularly caught my eye for a number of reasons. The unfurnished variant offers  very flexible living space (a large open plan front area which can be easily made into two rooms and a separate room to the rear, alongside of a comfortably sized wooden deck) neatly fitted into a 25m by 27m footprint and 99 Land Impact. However, the attraction for me is the soft echo of Frank Lloyd Wright in the design and styling: the cool stone walls, the pseudo cantilever angling of the roofs, the use of glass. All of these made it pretty irresistible. So really, I had no option but the consign the cottage and ruins design to a rezzing system and start over…

The Maven Eco IV with Trompe Loeil Keliana pool (left foreground) and steps down the cliff to the boat moorings

Of the two variants of the Eco IV, I opted for the unfurnished since furniture is something we’re hardly lacking. As noted, the large space to the front of the house offers two open plan room spaces, either side of the front door. I borrowed an idea from Leaf and Birdy Moone, adding some low-level stone “room dividers” to further break up the space, putting a lounge on one side and a study / music / cosy on the other.

There are one or two things about the Eco (as with any house design) which didn’t quite suit our preferences. The Eco’s fireplace, for example came across as a little too modern, while the lighting in part comprises fluorescent style strip lights which frankly aren’t that attractive. The old cottage came to the rescue here, providing me with both a replace fireplace and chimney, and a pair of suspended candle lights. The former did require a retexturing of all of the stone walls in the house to blend the chimney into the design, while the later required a little script tinkering and lighting prim placement to both get the candles to work with the built-in house controls and give a decent lighting effect both above and below, but none of this was in any way onerous work.

The modified day space in the Eco IV: the fireplace, dividing walls, ceiling fan and lighting candles are all additions to the basic house, and the stonework is not the original texturing

The use of several large base sections in the house makes it relatively easy to add to the structure and avoid bumping the LI too much. In this case, I added the fireplace, room dividers, additional lighting, rugs, carpets, wall hangings, paintings, photos, and ornaments totalling 38 LI individually for just an additional 14 LI on the house. Controls for the house a pretty good as well. The main panel includes a security /access system, controls for the lights (which can be set to turn on / off at region dusk / dawn and have a colour options), door controls (including setting them to auto-open) and a window opacity / tinting system.

Of course, a new house required a re-working of the island as a whole, and I opted for the Fantik Lofoten Summer rock kit for this, as it offered the best flexibility for the look I wanted to achieve. There are nine basic rock formations in the kit, all with physics. This can limit resizing opportunities due to increased LI; however, if you have rocks you won’t be walking on directly, use the old trick of flicking the physics over from Prim to Convex Hull (Build / Edit floater > Features tab), and you’ll find they are a lot more friendly to resizing.

Looking down on the new house. The chimney actually came from the “old” cottage, with a retexturing of the stone on it and the house to blend the two together. Some of the wood and cement beams on the house have also been tinted to darken them

Those who have used this kit will know just how flexible it is, and it allowed me to easily design the new island around the house and a new water feature of two rocky pools linked by a series of small falls (courtesy of Alex Bader’s Waterfall kit) stepping their way down the rocks, together with a final fall to the sea (with a sluice to prevent the ducks, geese and fishes from being swept away! Kriss Lehmann’s excellent Botanical Edge Brick Park Path kit came out of retirement to provide the paths and steps winding down the rocks, including down the the new boat moorings below the back of the house.

The southern end of the island has been a little truncated – we really didn’t need all the space – and redesigned using elements from the Fanatik kit. Some of the old castle ruins have been retained here – not about to get rid of them entirely! This provides a nice home for our MSD Dragon Garden and offers a shaded little seating spot, while the Trompe Loeil Outcrop Hut is also retained from the last design, giving us a place to watch the boat races go by.

The view from the front of the house looking south over the pond and water to the old ruins

So, that’s what’s been keeping me occupied for the last couple of days, and one (among several) of the reasons the blogging output has slowed of late. But as we’re both happy with the result, I’d say the effort has been worth it 🙂 .

If you’re interested in seeing Eco IV in-world, you can fint it at Cain Maven’s main store.