Sunday, July 16, 2006

Natural Building Workshop

Our Dancing TreePeople Orchard and Garden hosted its first workshop this past week: Natural Building. Massey Burke was the instructor and did a terrific job teaching as well as keeping the group on task. I was pleased that most of those taking the course were from Lake County. Within the first day, we were working well together and formed a cohesive group for the duration of the class.

The materials are all from Lake County or nearby (we decided to get the rice straw from the central valley). With the exception of the roof and a few supports--we are avoiding the use of wood in the structure. The walls are either strawbale or cob. NO not CORN cob--but rather clay adobe build in place. Cob is from an old english word meaning loaf or lump. It is a mixture of clay, sand and straw--and is suprisingly strong, resiliant and maleable. In England, the cob homes exposed to the weather lose one inch a century. This small structure will have the added benefit of a natural plaster protection as well.

The clay cob is surprisingly easy to work with--and a lot of fun, too.

At this writing--our class structure is half complete. In August (8-12) , we will have another class: Natural Plasters where we will finishh many of the walls.

I will post a few photos soon thereafter