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Natural Building Part 1: Straw Bales, Cob and Earthen Floors

August 16, 2019 - October 22, 2019

$650 – $1300

This is one of a series of comprehensive workshops in which we will be constructing a hybrid natural building using many site-sourced materials and permaculture principles. This workshop will focus on clay and straw, two of the most versatile natural building materials. In the first part of the workshop, you will learn to:

• Build a highly insulating and fire-resistant straw bale wall

• Mix clay soil, sand and straw into cob

• Sculpt cob into beautiful, durable walls

• Sustainably harvest and test clay soils

• Determine the best cob mix for your soil

• Understand the difference between insulation and thermal mass and how to use them together to make an efficient passive solar home

The extended practicum will focus on faster ways to mix and build with cob using machines, sculpting cob details, and how to install an earthen floor.

Each workshop is organized into two parts, the weekend Intensive (Friday through Sunday) will include the bulk of theoretical and practical training, followed by a 4-day Practicum (Monday through Thursday) focused on hands-on building experience. Participants are encouraged to attend both the workshop and practicum for the full experience, which is incentivized by a reduced workshop tuition. Workshops fees include an all-organic lunch and dinner as well as camping/housing options and an early morning yoga class.

For friends interested in going deep we are inviting 6 people to do an immersion through the Natural Building series. This immersion allows participants to attend workshops for free and have all meals provided in exchange for weekly work hours, primarily toward building, but also other supportive tasks for workshop prep and facility maintenance. ​

Lead instructor Michael G. Smith is one of the world’s authorities on building with earth and straw with over 25 years of teaching experience. In 1993, Michael co-founded the Cob Cottage Company, which reintroduced cob building to the United States. He is the author or co-author of many articles and books, including “The Art of Natural Building” and “The Hand-Sculpted House.” Michael has designed and/or built over 60 natural structures, specializing in space- and energy-efficient hybrid designs. Learn more at http://strawclaywood.com


August 16, 2019
October 22, 2019
$650 – $1300
Event Category:


Abuela Gardens
4649 Bear Canyon Rd.
Willits, CA 95490 United States
707 272-2929


Blair Phillips
707 272-2929
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