Learn to build a Cob Oven
Location: Healdsburg, CA
Join House Alive for this exciting oven building workshop in the beautiful wine country just north of San Francisco. We are collaborating with The Bishop’s Ranch, an Episcopal retreat center in Healdsburg, CA, in the heart of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. During this workshop we will build a wood-fired earthen bread and pizza oven from start to ﬁnish. Students will gain the conﬁdence to make one in their own back yard or community.
This style of oven can be built at very low cost and are a joy to use: they make for great pizza parties and produce delicous bread. They also work for roasts or any other oven dishes, and, as they slowly cool off, can even be used for making yogurt and drying fruit.
Earthen ovens are beautiful show pieces, build ecological mindfulness and community, and give us a sense of self reliance.
Learning how to build an oven will introduce students to some of the basic natural building techniques used for building complete natural homes:
• Cob, used for structural walls, garden walls, ﬁre places, and sculpture
• Earthen plasters, used for ﬁnishes on cob, straw bale, and for natural renovations
• Light-straw clay, for inﬁll walls in timber- and stud frame construction
Students will learn how to identify and harvest the right materials, how to mix them properly, and how to use them in different parts of the construction process.
The workshop is very hands-on; expect to get your hands in the mud and work with these materials for most of each day.
In the evenings there will be slide-presentations on natural building, showcasing some of our previous projects as well as addressing various topics such as natural design, passive solar heating and cooling, straw bale construction, natural renovations, and more. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and answers.
During breaks in the afternoon, participants can explore nearby hiking trails on the Russian River, or visit some of the local wineries (within walking distance)