Natural Building Workshop Successful

Hello All. Our natural building workshop this weekend was a great success.

Hassan Hall, our natural-builder friend from Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, taught a great hands-on class this past weekend here at Midwest Permaculture.

Hassan in building flanked by Justin and Will

Everything was ready to start the next phase of construction on the first of 9-small earth shelters we have planned for EarthCamp Village. It was now time to put the rough coat (or base coat) of earthen ‘plaster’ on to the walls of clay-slip-straw that had been packed in last fall.

Water… Check.
Sand… Check.
Clay… An abundance of it here… Check.
Straw… Check.
Water sprayer… to wet down the straw walls so the plaster will stick to it… Check.
Buckets, towels, and tarps… Check
Enthusiastic ready to work group of people… Double check.

How the Plastering Goes

We had an awesome group of 7-8 people here for the weekend workshop.  There is not one set formula for the making of earthen base plasters but from Hassan’s wide experience he taught us to create a mixture of one bucket of wet clay to one bucket of dry sand with a half of a bucket of chopped straw mixed in.

The sand is the actual building material, the clay is the glue and the straw is the rebar that holds it all together.

We were instructed and coached by Hassan as a team and individually to be sure each of us understood what we were doing and had time to become accomplished at mixing, applying and building out the material onto the walls so that it would last for decades.

As the plastering was underway, Hassan installed and trimmed out the windows so that the earthen plaster could be molded up to and around the trim.

The rough coat sealed easily around the artistic colored glass-window-bottles that were inserted into the walls last fall.

The reclaimed redwood siding made a nice addition to the lower walls providing splash protection against the rains. It looks really nice too.

We’ll have plenty of more workshops available as we continue to build Earthcamp Village. Check our workshop schedule.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “Natural Building Workshop Successful”

  1. Impressive work bill. Looks like the cabin might have been one I worked on a few years back. Kathy and I are settled in on our place outside Petersburg Illinois,mostly working on infrastructure but also growing lots of mushrooms. Keep in touch and stop in when you get a chance.
    Mike Egan

    1. Great to hear from you Mike. Yes, it’s the same cabin. Slow and steady has been the path on this first structure. Would enjoy catching up with you. Stop by if/when you are in the area again and I’ll so the same. Cheers… Bill