Sunday, February 2, 2014

Complete Cob (build your own cottage)

A "9 day" Complete Cob workshop

(Friday eve through a full week to Sunday afternoon of the following weekend) covers cob as a diverse and versatile material for wall systems and the elements of being your own designer for a passive solar building. We cover how to site a structure, passive solar design, design for a "snug" structure, foundations, thorough experience with making cob and quality control of cob and cob construction, and integrating doors and windows. We will cover basic roofing and earthen floors, with some hands-on experience of these determined by the state of the structure being worked on, available time and opportunities on the site. We will work briefly with basic earthen plaster making so that everyone has a feel for earthen plasters and can work with them right away. We follow Cob Cottage Company's Complete Cob Course model closely, a time-tested approach to preparing novice builders to begin and complete a cob building project on their own. Many other topics are integrated into the course including sourcing and choosing natural and salvaged materials, choosing and using hand tools, etc. The textbook for the course (required) is The Hand Sculpted House by Evans, Smith, and Smiley available directly from Cob Cottage Company

Garden Wall

A "4 day" garden wall workshop

(Friday morning to Monday afternoon) includes intensive hands-on experience with cob as a building material, building basic foundations for walls, creating openings in a cob wall for gates and windows, and basic roof attachment to a wall. Intended for people who have smaller-scale projects they are ready to begin, or people primarily interested in cob as a wall-building material and system.

Earthen Oven

Weekend workshop

(Friday Eve through Sunday afternoon) Learn the complete process of building a basic earthen oven, including designing the oven, selecting clay soil for use in your project, mixing and building with oven wall and insulating materials, making a traditional door, and selecting and using brick for the oven floor. Leave ready to make your own oven! Depending on drying conditions, we may get to put an earthen plaster on the oven, and cook pizza in the oven made at the workshop to close out the weekend.

Natural Plasters and Paints

Weekend workshop

(Friday Eve through Sunday afternoon) Learn the basics of how to select and prepare clay soils, sands, and natural fibers to make beautiful, long-lasting earthen plasters. Learn the feel and characteristics of a well-prepared plaster, how to prep an earthen, straw-bale or conventional wall to receive it, and how to apply it. Emphasis will be on providing hands-on experience, and teaching you how to develop your own recipes. We will cover the use of lime in lime-based paints and as a stabilizing additive to an earthen plaster and the use of raw flax seed oil both in plaster mixes and as a finish coat over plaster. We will also cover mixing and applying basic alis, a clay-based fine interior paint.

Custom and One-Off Workshops

Length and Content TBD

We design develop custom workshops to fit particular projects, sites and situations, collaborating with other natural building teachers, builders, designers, and so on. Got a project and a site you believe will be well-served by a workshop, and can in turn provide a rich workshop experience? Contact us and we will discuss the possibilities with you.  

See also our blog for notes and images from past workshops...

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