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Build a Complete Cob Cottage near the Yuba River (Nevada City, California)

August 18, 2019 ∞ 4:00 pm - September 22, 2019 ∞ 2:00 pm

$2500 – $2600


 Yubarrio was formed by a group of friends in 2015 with the intention to create a diverse little village devoted to enjoying and caring for the land. With a motto of “slow and steady,” the folks on the land are carefully building bike trails to the Yuba River, reducing overcrowding and fuel loads in the far-ranging woods, milling bug-killed trees into timbers for carbon-negative buildings, growing a bounty of herbs for medicine and food for feasting and allowing the vision for the project to unfold in its own sweet time.
Claire, born and raised in Marseille, France and Kipchoge, an Oregon native, met in Europe when he and his friends were on a pedal-powered music concert tour.  A few years later they started looking for their new “home” and eventually settled on this gorgeous hilltop piece of land about 4 years ago, putting their nomad life on hold.  This beautiful Nevada County mostly forested land is close to the Yuba River and is the source of their wood (they mill it themselves) and includes a large vegetable and herb garden.  Claire is a photographer and herbal medicine maker and food lover/crafstwoman. Her energy for this lifestyle is overbounding and full of ideas and projects to live cleanly and abundantly with the land.  Her photography work (including mountain lions and bears) is visible on her website and instagram (https://www.clairepotin.com/instagram.com/potin.potions). Kipchoge is a bike touring musician (YouTube: Ginger Ninjas/Pleasant Revolution) and activist working on software for mass popular movement building (cancelprime.com). He co-founded and led Xtracycle for years, pioneering the modern cargo bike movement and enabling a new generation of car-free and car-light lifestyles. The couple have a very energetic 5-year old son Zephyr who represents his name well.
The land is shared with several other community members who specialize in different areas to bring their skills to the blend.  One of them who has lived here for a year is Brandon “Nutmeg” Jonutz, a Romanian descendant born in Fremont who lives car free, loves ferments, favors bare feet, blows didgeridoos and wouldn’t be caught dead with a website. We will be building Brandon’s new cottage in the shade of the madrones and black oaks on a soft, fluffy forest floor. We will also be meeting other landmates like Camille the crafter, Jesse the traveler/builder/bassist, Paul the inventor, and Shannon the cellist.

Nevada City

Nevada City, California is a unique and charming little town in the Sierra Nevada Foothills area. The entire downtown district is a national historic landmark where folks enjoy high quality restaurants and a variety of fine shops , galleries, and great cafes. There is a vibrant artsy feel to the town with lots of opportunity to dance to world class DJ’s that come through town, yoga studios, as well as Ecstatic Dance every Tuesday hosted in the historic Miner’s Foundry. Bordering the Tahoe National Forest and located just minutes from many lakes and rivers, Nevada City is ringed by deep green pine-covered hills.

One of the main attractions of the town, especially in the summertime, is the magical Yuba river with miles of beautiful emerald green swimming holes! Swimming in the river is a staple summer activity. Temperatures can get pretty hot, up to 100 degrees in August/Sept, but more generally in the high

Yuba River

80s to mid 90s in town. Our land is a bit higher (2600ft) from the town center (and a 10 minute drive) and so it can be up to 10 degrees cooler here. By September the evenings and early mornings have the potential to be a bit chilly, so good to bring something warm. There are plenty of beautiful places to explore around the area on your weekends off – famous Lake Tahoe (largest alpine lake and second deepest lake in United States) is only about an hour away, Reno is 1.5 hrs, San Francisco is 2.5hrs and the ocean is a 4.5 hr drive to the magical coast town of Mendocino. There are also great hot springs – Sierra Hot Springs – an hour and a half away, for our weekend adventures when we take a break from Cob!!!



The 35-day Advanced Cob Building Workshop consists of 25 days of theoretical instruction (lectures with graphics) and construction for 4 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon. Students arrive on Sunday and settle in. International students can check with Host about arriving earlier to adjust to time difference, etc. Weekends (Saturday and Sunday) are days off for resting, exploring the area, studying and, if desired, continuing to build at your own pace. The last Saturday morning may include some finishing up work and cleanup. Morning (4 hours) and afternoon (3 hours) sessions each have a 15-minute snack break. Lunch break lasts 1.5 hours after which the afternoon session begins at 2:30pm.  On MWF we have a one-hour lecture on whatever we are working on that day and/or the next day, followed by construction for 2 hours. On TTh we begin the practical work at 2:30pm.  After class there is a 90-minute break before dinner, which includes an optional yoga or other body relaxation session. There will also be one evening a week after dinner for showing slides, videos and having Course-related discussions. Other evenings are free and/or organized by group for extracurricular activities as desired.

The 35-day Course will offer practical learning by building a 150ft2 (size may be a bit bigger or smaller depending on number of students) curvilinear building. The Course starts with the Foundation during Week 1 followed by the Cob Walls during Weeks 2-4, which include a door, opening and fixed windows, shelves, artistic inserts like bottles, driftwood, branches, etc., electrical and plumbing infrastructure, sculpting and the roof connection elements. We will also pour the first 2 layers of floor over the gravel underlayment and apply one coat of earthen plaster on the interior and exterior wall.

In Week 5 we will build a roof structure and cover it with wood and a green roof.  We will aim to complete the roof by the end of Week 5 and also simultaneously build the “Sara” Masonry Heater (see below) which takes about 1-1/2 days total.  The roof is a big task and requires different tools and skills and may not be able to keep everyone busy at once so we offer the Heater/Stove as another project at the same time.  The completion of the roof is always the goal but also depends on the flow of other external circumstances including student abilities and space.  All the relevant information will be covered in lectures as always.

Those who complete this 35-day Workshop will receive the Advanced Cobber Certification of Completion for Foundation and Cob Walls (which includes Door, Windows, Shelves, Art, Electrical & Plumbing), Floor, Plaster & Roof.



In Week 5 the workshop will take a turn and learn all about the highly-efficient, low-cost earthen adobe block stove & heater developed at the University of Argentina for low-income rural households that goes by the name “Sara”.  For more details on the “Estufa Sara” check out this link.  Like the rocket stove it uses minimal fuel in the form of branches and small wood pieces and is a double-combustion stove with horizontal and vertical channels built into the upper box, allowing for maximal use of fuel energy for heating the thermal mass of the stove and anything else it passes through, ie a bench, floor, or wall.  The “Sara” stove is used for heating as well as cooking on and can also  include an oven on the side  (not included in this workshop).

The workshop will continue with the same schedule as in the prior 4 weeks, with lecture three times a week, slides and/or video on Wednesday night and hands-on construction the rest of the time.



The 35-day Intermediate Cob Building plus Masonry Heater Workshop begins on Sunday evening, August 18th with Dinner and ends on the last Sunday, September 22 (5 weeks later), with Lunch.

Mondays through Fridays we will build and Saturdays/Sundays we will have time off. The last Saturday morning will be used to wrap things up and clean up, and the rest of the day will be used for a final group activity before our celebration dinner, graduation ceremony and fire circle. The Workshop will end with the Closing Circle and Lunch on Sunday.

The daily schedule will be:

6:30-7:30 Yoga & Meditation/Dance

7:30-8:30 Breakfast

8:45-1:00 Class

1:00-2:30 Lunch

2:30-5:30 Class

5:30-7:00 Rest/Yoga/Dance

7:00-8:00 Dinner

8:00-9:00 Slides/Videos/Discussion (once a week)

Other nights will have optional activities like Salsa Dancing, Fire Circles, Music, and skinny-dipping in the Yuba by the Full Moon!


Students will learn every phase of building a cob building from foundation through the roof in lectures/theory. In addition to the lectures, slideshows and videos will be shown to support and enhance their understanding of cob materials, cob building, design, geography , budgeting, business options and legal issues.

Our hands-on practice will include:

building foundation                                                                                                                      analyzing soils and materials
making test bricks
deciding on correct mixture
deciding on best location
making cob solo and with partner
building with cob
preparing and inserting the door
preparing and inserting fixed and opening windows
preparing and inserting shelves
inserting bottle windows and other objects
inserting electrical wiring and plumbing in walls
preparing and applying earthen plaster (1 coat)
pouring an earthen floor (2 layers)
preparing walls for roof connection
building a roof structure
building a green roof covering
building an earthen masonry heater/stove

In addition to Cob Building practices, the Course material also includes:

legal issues about cob
cost analysis
creating a cob business (building/teaching)
assisting, interning and teaching with CruzinCobGlobal
making small-scale designs of cob structures, time permitting



CruzinCobGlobal’s Cob Building workshops are an intense and demanding building experience. The goal of our month-long Complete Cob Workshop is to complete a whole structure including the roof covering by the last Friday of the workshop. This is quite an accomplishment and when completed, give students alot of pride and confidence in building on their own after the workshop.

The Monday through Friday schedule is rigorous and meant to train students in experiencing what it takes to build a cob building in a reasonable amount of time. We also have a great time bonding, playing music, doing Yoga, sitting around the fire and relaxing after class time. Students can use weekends to rest, recuperate and enjoy getting to know the location. We accept all levels and abilities and students are never required to go beyond what they feel comfortable with. There are always other activities besides mixing and building which are needed to build the house (getting materials, trimming, screening material, cutting straw, sculpting, plaster, etc) and students learn alot by watching.

Students will need to come prepared for physical labor from Day 1.

This includes:

Work clothes appropriate for the country and climate we are in (long pants for Muslim countries)
Slip-on flip-flops
Work Boots or Closed Shoes for Foundation and Roof, if applicable
Lightweight rubber gloves (not gardening gloves)
Good moisturizer (clay is drying and dehydrating!)
Water Bottle
A 2 ft level and sharp-toothed wood saw (optional but recommended)

Students are required to read “The Hand-Sculpted House” before the workshop begins and any other book they find, as well as watching videos on YouTube, especially the ones posted on CruzinCobGlobal’s website under Gallery to get an idea of what is expected. Please bring your book(s).

Students must tend to their own personal needs, drink alot of water, rest when needed and exert themselves at a steady pace. Students who cannot do the strenuous physical work should let us know before the workshop begins so we can adjust appropriately. It is totally OK to come for the lecture/theory part, and then help the building part in less physically demanding ways, ie cutting straw, sifting for plaster, hammering nails into frames or shelves, sculpting, plastering, cutting bottles. There is alot to do besides making and building with cob!!!!

Finally, please bring a watch or use your phone to be prompt and ready for each part of the Course including meals. Feel free to share your dietary needs with CCG or the Host and bring your essential snacks and foods, pillow and whatever you NEED to be comfortable and happy. Feel free to also bring slides, videos, movies and books to share, as well as a sample of your soil to test.



This workshop accommodations will be camping in your own tents or indoors in the barn for free along with some other paid indoor options.  There is a very sweet tiny home on wheels that is all decked out for one person or a couple that will be available.  There may be a few other fun options in buses that are outfitted for living in.  People can also choose to stay in town or rent a room nearby but would need to provide their own transportation to the site each day.  There will be outdoor and indoor showers and toilets and an indoor kitchen.  All the indoor facilities will be in the big red barn as will be the communal area for slideshows and lectures.  Days can be very hot (90ºF) and nights can be chilly in the mountains.  Please bring warm clothes for nighttime and make sure you have a warm sleeping bag  Bring bathing suit, towels, work clothes, weekend clothes, etc.

Brazilian Food Goddesses!!!!

Three meals/day will be served Monday through Friday. Meals will be vegetarian, organic and local and delicious as always.  If you are a carnivore please bring jerky, canned fish and snacks but we will also make the effort to have some meat/fish options 1-2 times a week, depending on student needs.  Also bring your extra sweets and snacks that you like because we will be 12 miles from the nearest store.

Weekends are free to leave and go to the river, hot springs or hiking or camping elsewhere.  If you stay at the site, please be prepared to provide your own meals and cook in the communal kitchen.



The largest nearest city to fly into is San Francisco or Oakland. Sacramento and Reno airports are smaller but closer.  From there you can rent a car with other students and drive the 2.5-hour drive to Nevada City and keep the car for the month so you are independent to go where you want on weekends and even run into town during the weekday nights.  There are also Greyhound buses from SF and Oakland or Craigslist Rideshare and BlaBlaCar are great options that are cheap and efficient for getting a ride with people already driving in that direction.  Nicole and Jared are happy to get people from town when they arrive.  Check out Kiwi.com and Rome2Rio.com for the best info on getting from your origin to destination points anywhere in the world.  We will also offer up a rideshare list of givers and takers as the time draws near.

We will be sending you all the workshop details by email a month before the workshop and help you with all the transport info so you will have a smooth  time getting here! No worries!


The 5-week workshop includes tuition, 3 meals/day and indoor/outdoor camping facilities as well as transport from and to Nevada City when you arrive and leave.  Workshop will happen Monday through Friday and weekends are free to explore and travel or stay at the site. Weekdays food will be prepared by experienced cooks and meals will be mostly vegetarian with a few meat options per week depending on student needs. On weekends students will prepare their own meals and/or go out to eat if they remain in town.

5-week Advanced Cob Building+Masonry Heater/Stove Wkshp, Camping, Food: (8/18-9/22)

$2500, by May 18, 2019

$2600, after May 18, 2019

To register and make your payment, please contact claudine@cruzincobglobal.org.

Payment can be made by Venmo, Paypal, Zelle, free Bank Transfer to US or European Bank account or Transferwise.  Please contact Claudine to assist you with cheapest transaction option.  You can also contact her at +1831212-7225 by phone, SMS or Whatsapp.



There are 4 work trade positions open for the full 5-week workshop each for 1.25 hours per day in either the kitchen or onsite. Each position gives a $250 discount off of the full workshop payment, which depends on when you decide to complete the payment. To hold your spot there is a 50% deposit due immediately and then you have the choice of paying by May 18 ($2500), or after May 18, 2019 ($2600). No experience is needed and they will not interfere with your class hours.

The kitchen work trade positions will most likely be in charge of preparing and putting out breakfast from 6:30-7:30am and cleaning up from 8:15-8:30am.  The onsite work trade positions will also be early morning shifts prepping the work site from 7:00-8:00am before breakfast and then staying from 5:30-5:45pm for extra clean-up or prep work at the end of the day.

Please inquire for applications asap as these are the first spots to go.



Claudine Désirée, founder and director of CCG, learned how to cob with Michael Smith in 2003 in northern CA and has been building and teaching ever since completing her first project, her legal 200 ft2 studio, in her backyard. In 2014, she was one of the first people to legalize a cob building on the west coast of the US, where the building code laws are the most stringent due to high earthquake risk.

In 2008, she created SunflowerCobBuilding which became CruzinCob and then, in April 2015, evolved into CruzinCobGlobal, the international cob workshop business she runs from wherever she happens to be on the Planet. To date she has taught close to 100 workshops, 25 of which have been part of CCG’s exciting international circuit since the Spring of 2015 in the following countries: Spain, the Canaries (Spain), Senegal, Cabo Verde, France, Morocco, Portugal, the Azores (Portugal), Colombia, Brazil, Chile and the US.



August 18, 2019 ∞ 4:00 pm
September 22, 2019 ∞ 2:00 pm
$2500 – $2600
Event Category:


Yubarrio Village
New Rome Road
Nevada City, CA 95959


Whatsapp +1 831 212-7225
View Organizer Website