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Complete Cob and natural building


May 14, 2015 @ 3:00 pm - May 24, 2015 @ 1:00 pm Contact

Welcome to the most comprehensive natural building workshop available today! At the end of the workshop, students will feel confident and skilled in the following techniques:

  • Cob construction: Learn how to build strong, beautiful earthen walls, put in windows and doors, electricity and plumbing, integrate art/niches/arches, construct solid foundation systems and attach roofs, and variations on cob constructions such as making adobe bricks.
  • Light-straw-clay: an infill techniques, combining straw and clay-soil. This is a wonderful way to fill in the walls of conventional stud- or timber-framed buildings. It insulates well and makes for solid, sound absorbing interior and exterior walls.
  • Earthen plasters: simple, inexpensive materials can make beautiful, healthy earthen finishes. Learn how to apply these plasters on cob and light-straw-clay walls as well as how to use them in conventional buildings and apply them to surfaces such as concrete, drywall and plywood.
  • Earthen floors: make durable, soft, dust free floor surfaces from sand, clay-soil, straw and linseed oil. Learn how to build these floors on “compacted gravel” slabs, as well as how to install them in existing conventional floor surfaces such as concrete, plywood or OSB.

Students will be able to construct their own earthen cottage, using simple, natural materials, from floor to ceiling. We will talk extensively about the basic materials, sand, straw and clay-soil: what to look for, how to find them and how to process them for the various techniques. For those who are not yet in a position to build from scratch but still want to give up drywall, latex paint and toxic carpeting, these techniques can be easily, inexpensively, and beautifully integrated into a natural renovation project.

This is a serious building workshop: the more you build, the better builder you will be! For about 6 hours per day we will prepare materials and use them in real construction projects. Throughout the workshop, new skills and knowledge will be layered and practiced, instilling confidence and joy in these ancient practices.

The remainder of the time will be spent on lectures and discussion related to design and appropriate technology. We enjoy empowering people to shape their living situation in a way that serves them as humans, honoring our deep needs for feeling safe, healthy, self sufficient and connected. We will introduce strategies for balancing the challenges of finance, familyand building codes. Evenings will include slideshows on different techniques and previous House Alive projects, from Mexico to the Pine Ridge reservation, to show students the broad palette of possibilities.

Additional clarity and knowledge can be gained through our publication “My House of Earth,” in which all material covered during the workshop is explained in great detail. A copy of the e-book will be sent to students prior to the workshop. Also, please visit the page on this website dedicated to in depth article on earthen construction, design and appropriate technology.

Believe it or not, we will also have some time to nap in the early afternoons, take a dip in the swimming pool and play some music around the fire!

About the location: Camp Stevens is an Episcopal camp and retreat center, nestled in in mountains of Southern California, about a 90 minute drive from San Diego. Located at 4200 feet, it is surrounded by hundreds of acres of pine/oak forests and miles of hiking trails. It serves excellent mostly organic food, supported by their extensive garden/farm program. Students will stay in open A-frame cabins (Provide your own sleeping bag/pillow), with nearby hot showers and bathrooms. Weather this time of the year is usually warm and dry during the day and cool in the evenings. We can assist you in getting transportation from the San Diego airport or bus station.

Space is limited to 14 students. To register for this workshop visit our registration page and fill out the simple form. We will then email you back to confirm that there still is space available and will ask you to send in a $400 deposit in order to secure your spot. You can also visit our “general workshop information” page to find out more about the daily schedule, our teaching style, how to register and about bringing children. And don’t forget to read what makes us different from other natural building teachers!


May 14, 2015 @ 3:00 pm
May 24, 2015 @ 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Camp Stevens
1108 Banner Road, Julian, CA 92036 United States


House Alive!
(541) 899-3751