Thursday, October 21, 2010

Finishing what was started

**As a disclaimer, I'm not sure why my photos are not able to be clicked and enlarged. I'll look into it. I'm also not sure why some of my text is loading in black, when it should all be white...**

On days when I am not working on the shed, I have been over at the Eno Commons Co-Housing community finishing up the cob healing room that I started earlier this year. It had a sizzling hot, dry summer during which to dry, and is looking great!

Last week I got back into some foot-mixing to fill in some gaps that I ran out of time to fill in June. I also hung a bright green door at the entrance. On Saturday, we hosted a plaster party, to which a number of adults and kids from the community attended. Our team got a great start on coating the interior with earthen plaster, and then I spent the following two nights troweling on a finish coat. I wanted to work at night so that I could spend my daylight at the shed. I found working by a lamp, in a cob building, in the woods, at night, with a boom box and some solitude to be very meditative and relaxing. I became acutely aware of how incredible a structure it is.

The plaster is still drying (and lightening in color), but here's what it looks like as of today:

I'm not sure if I like the exposed stone as we did it, but it's definitely interesting. It was supposed to be a big, tall, beautiful stone column, but we ran out of stone a lot faster than we had anticipated. To make it seem more like it makes sense, I think I'm going to clean the stone, go over the mortar with a dark acrylic paint (I've heard that this is a good way to achieve a nice contrast between stone and mortar, which is what we need here), and maybe do some decorative white lime plaster around the outside border of the stones to set it off as it's own element.

(The mudroom still needs to be plastered. I ran out of the one color of clay, and so the mudroom is going to be a darker shade of red, as is the exterior of the building)

This color, in fact:

Just imagine covering the entire exterior of the building with the clay in the barrel. It's going to be quite a beacon in the woods! And a great compliment to the green door.

One thing I love about working in the forest (as opposed to my first cob cottage which was in the middle of an open meadow) is the quality of the light and how it plays on the material. It makes it tough to capture a clear photograph, but I enjoy the complexity of these exterior shots anyhow:

I have to think that I have never stood in the spot before until I took the photograph below, because the house looks so loooooong! Longer than it is. I like ladders.

And to finish, I want to give Elizabeth proper credit for her work in picking apart clumps of horse manure. This processed manure is what we use in the earthen plasters to act as tensile strength (an equivalent to the straw in cob, but much finer and less visible). These are her hands, doing the good work:

1 comment:

  1. This has been very interesting to follow, lots of information and pictures. I will be renovating a very old unfired clay brick house before attempting to build a cob studio near the house. The plaster of the house will have to be removed, someone put cement on it at some stage and it is falling of. I would like to use this plaster you make on the house with the cow manure, I can get plenty of that and clay near by. I need to know the amounts of each to make up a good plaster. Thanks for your blog it is really helpful.