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Introduction to Natural Plasters & Cob Workshop


August 25, 2014 - August 29, 2014 Contact

Dates: August 25 – August 29, 2014

Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee

This workshop is an introduction to natural plasters & finishes and cob building. You will also receive a broad learning overview of natural building techniques throughout the week. Natural plasters, paints, and finishes are a non-toxic and beautiful alternative to conventional finishing products and they can be used on natural surfaces as well as brick, drywall, and wood. The focus of the workshop will be to plaster our 200 square foot cob house with vapor permeable (“breathable”) earthen finishes and paints. You will leave this workshop with a basic skill set in natural finishes and Natural Building.



Hands-On Work Topics:

–          How to make earthen plaster

–          Selecting and refining plaster materials

–          Earthen plaster application on cob

–          Applying Natural Hydraulic Lime plaster

–          Applying plaster around windows, doors, and over wood surfaces

–          Plastering Tools

–          Mixing and applying natural paints

–          Natural pigments

–          Tadelakt basics (Moroccan tadelakt is an amazing waterproof natural finish)

–          How to make cob (by foot and by tractor)

–          Selecting and testing soils for cob (Learn several ways to test your soil composition)

Classroom and Discussion Topics:

–          Earthen/Adobe Floors

–          Natural plasters and finishes (Vapor Permeable / “Breathable” finishes)

–          Tadelakt

–          Overview presentation of Natural Building materials

–          Natural Building videos and slideshow

This workshop will have plenty of hands-on lessons to learn from, and we will also have ample discussion and informal classroom time. The main focus will be on natural plasters and finishes, but you will also receive a broad overview of cob and Natural Building. There will be many live examples of Natural Building methods on site for you to learn from too!

Plus – there will be many hours of discussions about building cob homes and natural building throughout the workshop. Its a great way to get your questions answered and brainstorm your building ideas!

“Alex’s 5-day Cob Garden Wall workshop in May 2014 was my first experience working with Cob and it was very rewarding! He is very knowledgeable and offered alternative solutions during any “cobtastrophes”. With many hours of hands on training opportunity I am confident and well prepared to begin working on my cob home sooner rather than later. Alex’s workshop was much more than I expected and worth every penny!”

– Maria Wilbur, Virginia

The workshop will take place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on a beautiful 48 acre property. There are fields, streams, a horse ranch, outdoor pavilion, and swimming pool! It’s the perfect place for a workshop. You will feel like you’re on vacation at a resort. We can work hard during the day, take a dip in the pool afterwards, and then rest and relax on the property in the evenings.

We will begin each day with breakfast at 7:00 AM, discuss cob and natural building topics, and begin work around 8:30 AM. We will break for lunch at noon and return to our projects at 2:00 PM. We will complete hands-on work around 5:30 PM. We will serve dinner at 7:00, and complete the day with more classroom discussions or natural building presentations. They will be full-packed days! Worth your every penny!

The workshop will be lead by Alex Sumerall, an up-and-coming east coast Natural Builder who has a focus on creating earthen structures that are healthy, aesthetically pleasing, and functional for modern life. He is the owner of the website www.thiscobhouse.com, an educational resource for teaching people about cob and natural building techniques. Alex has a background in business and advertising, and has been practicing Natural Building since 2011. He graduated from the Aprovecho School of Natural Building in 2013 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, and continues to teach, present, consult, and construct.


Camping is available throughout the property. There are plenty of great locations to set up a tent here. If you choose, there are hotels in the nearby area as well.

You will have access to the private outdoor shower and clean indoor toilets.

You may bring your RV or mobile home. There are electrical hookups. No water hookups though.


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served for each day of the workshop and are included in the price of the workshop. You will also get dinner on the arrival day (August 3rd).

To please the largest audience, we will serve a large variety of foods and all meals will have a delicious, healthy Vegan and Vegetarian food option too. We don’t want anybody to be left out due to their dietary preferences. You will feel energized and satiated for our long days. We are taking great care and expense to always feed you well.

Dietary needs can be accommodated for. Please let us know of dietary preferences/needs ahead of time.

Free Extras!

Everyone who comes to the workshop will receive:

  • This Cob House t-shirt in your preferred size.
  • This Cob House Zip Drive
    • Includes my eBook “Build a Cob House: A Step-By-Step Guide”
    • 3D SketchUp designs of our project
    • Photos documenting the building process
    • Workshop outline and notes

This is a $40 value!


Early bird special: $570 if you register and pay before August 18th

Regular Price: $670

If you have further questions regarding the workshop or to receive details about how to pay the course fee to secure your spot in the workshop, contact Alex Sumerall at: alex@thiscobhouse.com or call 404-932-3345. To sign up, email or call me. I will be happy to talk with you! To pay the workshop tuition I can then send you an online invoice via PayPal.


August 25, 2014
August 29, 2014
Event Category:


Cheval Manor Ranch
Murfreesboro, TN 37127 United States
(615) 351-4870


Alex Sumerall