Past Workshops

 ”How amazing to build a cottage in 2 weeks! I learned more than I ever could have anticipated and really enjoyed spending time with so many wonderful people. Thank you for making this happen!”

Laura, USA

Natural Building Essentials: Building With Cob

May 11th – 16th, 2013

Woodbury, TN

hands on cob

This workshop is a comprehensive introduction to all the basic skills involved in constructing any cob building. In this workshop we will build a stone foundation for a cob building, mix cob both by foot and with equipment, build cob walls, install window and door frames, learn about roofs for cob buildings and much more. This is an excellent course to take if you want to get started in natural building and it will prepare you to build your own basic cob projects. Many people have successfully built their own small cottages after taking this class. For a more in depth experience with all of these techniques and more, you can stay an additional 8 days for the complete owner builder training course (listed below).

Topics covered in this class include:

Masonry foundations for cob walls

Choosing the right materials

Mixing cob

Building cob walls

Trimming cob walls

Building and installing windows and door frames

Passive solar design

Roofing (demonstration and classroom section only)

R

Who are the instructors?

Our instructors each have a decade or more of experience in teaching and building and we work hard to present information in a way that is useful and easy to understand regardless of how much or how little you have built before.

Christina Ott - Modern earthen (cob) building and natural finishes
Barefoot Builder http://www.barefootbuilder.com

Deanne Bednar – Straw bale building, earthen sculpture and design, reed thatch roofs
Strawbale Studio http://www.strawbalestudio.org

Chris McClellan – Natural building author and organizer, rocket stove pyromaniac, workshop coordinator
Industrial Rustic http://www.industrialrustic.com/nb/

Where can I see more pictures of the instructors’ work and past workshops?

Check out our Photo Gallery!   You can also see pictures and learn more about each of our instructors at their individual websites. There are also some pictures of our past NCP workshop here https://www.facebook.com/groups/StrawbaleProject.2012/
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“Thank you!   I was allowed to learn as I do; that is a sign of good teaching.”

– Kelly, Fort Wayne, IN

Building the Complete Cob and Timber Cottage

May 11th-24th, 2013

Woodbury, Tennessee

TN cob cottageThis fourteen-day building intensive will offer a complete introduction to all the skills you’ll need to complete a cob cottage from the foundation to the roof. This workshop offers a unique blend of construction experience in the fundamentals of building cob walls as well as equally important but frequently overlooked details such as plasters, floors, living roofs, and electrical.

You will also learn all the fundamentals of building load bearing cob walls, including designing and building a foundation, choosing materials, mixing cob by foot and with equipment, building walls, design and structural principals. The instructors will also guide us through the practical and theoretical aspects of building a round timber roof for our cob cottage. Timber will be harvested on site, peeled, cut and assembled into a roof during this workshop.

Roughly half of our time will be spent on new construction while the other half will focus on important (and often overlooked) finish work for natural buildings, including clay and lime plasters, earth floors, windows, earthen wall sculpture, artistic embellishments, and more. We will also include extended classroom sessions covering critical topics like building codes, electrical and plumbing installation, construction budget and schedule planning, etc.

 

Who should take this workshop?

This workshop is an excellent introduction to natural building for those with lots of interest and little or no experience. However, because of the additional time devoted to details and advanced classroom topics this course will also be of significant value to graduates of our previous introductory workshops and to experienced builders.

How is this class different from other natural building courses we offer?

This workshop is unique among our offerings this year because of its roughly equal focus on hands on rough construction, fine detail, and classroom learning time. Many workshops focus on constructing a single building as far as it can go in the allotted time, usually just the exterior shell. This course will make use of an established natural building site to allow us to work on several building at various stages of completion so that we can give a more in depth focus on important details, like roofing, finishing the interior, and abstract information on topics like working with the building department and making a realistic budget.

What does it cost?
Full price for this 2-week workshop: $1,450
Early Bird Discounts: $975  if paid in full by February 1 – that’s 35% off!
$1,150 if paid in full by February 15 – that’s 20% off
$1,230 if paid in full by March 15 – that’s 15% off
Bring a friend and pay $975 each!
Alumni pay $870 if registered by February 15
Kids come for $20/day

Register:

Who are the instructors?

Our instructors each have a decade or more of experience in teaching and building and we work hard to present information in a way that is useful and easy to understand regardless of how much or how little you have built before.

Christina Ott - Modern earthen (cob) building and natural finishes
Barefoot Builder http://www.barefootbuilder.com

Deanne Bednar – Earthen sculpture and design, reed thatch roofs
Strawbale Studio http://www.strawbalestudio.org

Chris McClellan – Rocket stoves and mass heaters, natural building author, workshop coordinator
Industrial Rustic http://www.industrialrustic.com/nb/

Where can I see more pictures of the instructors’ work and past workshops?

Check out our Photo Gallery!   You can also see pictures and learn more about each of our instructors at their individual websites. There are also some pictures of our past NCP workshop here https://www.facebook.com/groups/StrawbaleProject.2012/
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“The instructors were awesome! They demonstrate skills, they share knowledge, and give ample opportunities for willing students to learn.”

– Bill, Yorktown, VA

 

Posted on 

Mud, Straw, Timber, and Reed:

A Start-to-Finish Natural Building Workshop

July 14-28, 2012

The Straw Bale Studio
Oxford, Michigan

Whether you are an aspiring artisan, a prospective owner-builder, or enthusiastic hobbyist, this two week course is a rare opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the many different natural building skills necessary to create a snug, beautiful cottage from local natural materials. Take the whole course, or come for a week. Week I will emphasize foundation, framing, and wall-building, while Week II will focus on finish plaster, floor, and roof.

Team-taught by four expert instructors from diverse backgrounds, this class will include:

Rubble-Trench/Stone/urbanite foundations
Square timber and round wood framing
Load bearing cob walls (mixing by foot and with heavy machinery)
Straw bale walls
Earthen floors
Cob sculpting
Earthen plasters
Natural paints and alis
Thatched roofing
Incorporating salvaged materials
Special detailing for cold climates

As we will be building a complete cottage, we will get the opportunity to cover related topics that are vital to building your own home or outbuilding but not always covered in shorter workshops:

Building layout
Materials collection & storage
Scrounging
Passive solar and Pattern Language design
Insulation and thermal mass
Budgeting and scheduling
Dealing with the Building Department
Working with volunteers/groups
Site safety
Window and door framing
Plumbing and electricity rough-ins

Hands-on experiences will be augmented by afternoon lectures under the shady tree, evening slide presentations, group Q&A and individual design consultations on your own plans, and an extensive Natural Building library/bookstore for your browsing pleasure.

Our staff will include:

Deanne Bednar of Strawbale Studio
Sarah Highland of Highland Artisan
Christina Ott of Barefoot Builder
Chris Mcclellan of IndustrialRustic

This is an excellent workshop to take if you are considering building your own home, cottage or shed.

Cost:
Full Price (after June 14) $1,200.00 USD
Early Bird Rate (before June 14, 2012) $900.00 SAVE $300!
Early Bird Group Rate (per person, before June 14, 2012) $850.00
Bring your friends and each of you will save $350!
Half Workshop (Full Price after June 14) $750
Half Workshop, Early Bird Rate (before June 14, 2012) $575.00
Half Workshop, Early Bird Group Rate (before June 14, 2012) $550
Daily Rate $110

Children may attend with their parent(s) for $10 per day to cover food

Workshop fee includes all meals (vegan friendly) and camping with some indoor spaces/beds available. Indoor showers are available and there is room for you to park your RV if you want to bring one. We offer some discounts for couples, families and groups. The Straw Bale Studio is a very family friendly place so plan on bringing the kids. Some Work-Trade positions are available. Please contact us at info@naturalcottageproject.com or 440-682-0502 for more details.

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