Friday, January 3, 2014

Mud Dauber School of Natural Building!

I am excited to announce the posting of the first workshop opportunity at the Mud Dauber School of Natural Building! At this point, the school is still very much in-the-works, and the first workshops will be geared towards creating infrastructure for future workshops/apprenticeships/events/visitors.

I have had the desire to have a school of natural building ever since apprenticing at the Cob Cottage Company in 2008. It was a very empowering and inspiring experience, and led me into a path that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Now I have a family to share this experience with. Danielle took one of my workshops, then ran her own, and designed and built her own hand-sculpted cob cottage. Leo is our little two-year-old boy who loves to be outdoors, and has a wonderful understanding of natural building for someone so little.

If you look back through some of the more recent posts, you will find images of the house that I am building for our family, which will share the same land as the building school. It will soon be time to start stacking strawbales against the wooden framework! It is a permitted building, and will include cob, natural plasters, some earthen floors, and rough-sawn siding from the local mill, in addition to the strawbale walls. Our aim is to offer hands-on workshops about permitted natural building in addition to our standard cob workshops. Once we develop our infrastructure further, we are excited to begin brainstorming about wonderful workshop offerings designed specifically for children and families, too.

I am very inspired by the DIY-spirit of people I meet through natural building, whether it is building a home, a tool, a piece of art, or something else. I look forward to finishing our strawbale home, moving fully to our peaceful country spot, and beginning to really focus on hosting workshops and helping spread natural building to the east coast.

It took us quite a while to arrive at a school name that we both felt really good about. After much searching, I looked to the work of my companion natural builders, the organ-pipe mud dauber wasps of this area. They have collaborated on all of my cob projects with me (when I'm not around, typically), leaving the most beautiful clay nests in various places. The wasps are not aggressive towards humans at all. They use all different colors of clay, and combine them in really beautiful combinations; the shapes, siting, and layering of the nests is just incredible! I hope to have their old nests in all of our buildings.