Hello all! In mid-October, we had another awesome workshop experience. We revisited the site of our April workshop and worked on a bit of earthbag building and a whole lot of plastering. We were joined by another group of amazing human beings. As I always say, one of the most magical things about these events is to bring diverse, intelligent folks together and watch the fermentation happen!
After the bagging portion of the workshop, we primarily focused on two different methods to make earth plaster, a.k.a. cob. The first method was to use the dirt from on site that had a nearly perfect ratio of clay and sand right out of the ground. We chopped and added straw to our outside mix and when working on the inside of the building, we added some blown cellulose to make a smoother mix that was lighter on organic matter. One reason to use less organic matter inside a structure in our moist area is to inhibit mold growth. To this end, we also add borax (an alkaline salt) to our mixes.
The other method we used for the exterior plaster was to make very wet clay slip (you’re looking for a thick pumpkin soup consistency) and to add straw as the stabilizer. I learned this method from my good ‘ole buddy, Uncle Mud a.k.a. Chris McClellan. It makes a strong cob that can take a hit because it’s mostly made of straw fibers and pure clay. We mixed it in a wheel barrow, we did the tarp method, rocking it back and forth until it was mixed, and we made a mud pit upon which happy little feet could stomp, integrating the clay and straw.
We are already planning several workshops for 2022. In April we are going to lead an earthbag tiny house and hogan build on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico. We will be travelling far West, possibly all the way to California, so let us know if you’d like to host a workshop. We’re also planning an Endless Creativity Retreat (and Decompression Session) sometime in the spring. Details to be announced.
Thanks for reading. Radiant blessings! Mo.