Cob-building – from start to finish – August 30th to September 4th

Passive Solar Rocks!

Passive Solar Rocks!

Please click here for the latest workshop offerings

From August 30th to September 4th, I’ll be hosting another cob workshop on Lasqueti Island. The cost of $600 covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic vegan/vegetarian meals per day, plus a welcoming dinner and a good-bye breakfast), on-site camping with running water, and hands-on instruction.

Women and families are especially encouraged to apply.  Barters or trades are always possible.

Your workshop facilitator (Dave Olsen) completed a cob workshop in 1996 and has had mud on his hands ever since.  He has also lead workshops on many other topics since 1994.  On Lasqueti Island, he has organized and co-led 3 cob workshops and finished one building; he has been very fortunate to have worked with many of the leading cob builders of our time.

Our chef, Bethany Scott, first came to cob by way of the Mudgirls, hosting a work party and seducing them with her amazing culinary talents.  She has worked her magic at multiple cob workshops, both on and off Lasqueti Island, and hasn’t met a diet that she hasn’t nourished fully and deliciously yet!

What makes these courses special?

  • You will get your hands on every aspect of building: from foundations to roofing, all everything (plastering, windows, doors, plumbing) in between.
  • You’ll also have many opportunities to master making cob itself. You’ll learn the “traditional” technique, known to cobbers throughout our wet coast, and we’ll learn how to modify it so that you can mix up to 4 times faster!
  • You’ll experience building walls the “old fashioned way” as well as a hybrid technique that uses reusable plastic “forms” which will get our walls up at least twice as fast!
  • Not only will you learn how to build naturally and affordably, you’ll learn how to do it efficiently enough to be empowered to build on your own and keep your community of builders interested and inspired to keep building.
The previous project and the base for the next (greenhouse extension)

The previous project and the base for the next (greenhouse extension)

Most evenings, we’ll also have a discussion or mini-workshop on related activities. Topics will include sustainable and ecologically-sensitive transportation for individuals as well as builders (we’ll also have a night of bike repair) and how to build a roof with cedar shakes (we’ll even learn how to make those shakes).

Travel days for the workshop are Saturday, August 29th (with a welcoming, organic and vegan dinner included) and Saturday, September 5th (a farewell breakfast on the 1st is also included).

Every workshop day (Sunday to Friday), we start with an organic, wholesome breakfast, followed by an hour of interactive instructionals, then 3 hours of hands-on learning with a yummy snack break. After a hot organic, vegan lunch, we have 3 more hours of hands-on learning and building, followed by a break to swim and/or wash up for dinner.

Human-powered building is hard work. But since there are no machines or motors on site, it is a safe and quiet place for anyone, younger or older, and interesting conversation and laughter is common. This building site, and the materials for this building, were selected to make it as easy as possible to build an earthen structure. The pace is casual but determined.

For more information and background, please visit:

To receive an application form, please email Dave: eec at resist dot ca or write a comment with your contact info (don’t worry, I won’t publish the contact info).

Here’s hoping you can experience the beauty of cob building soon!

5 Responses

  1. I am curious about where it is permissable to build this type of building. Would any municipality in BC (other than Lasquiti) give you a building permit? Does it meet building code? Just wondering!

    • I’m lucky enough not to have to concern myself with this kind of bureaucracy. I know that the planners for Mayne and SaltSpring have educated themselves enough to be able to issue permits in their jurisdiction but otherwise, I don’t know. Any small building (100 sq ft or less) I think does not need a permit (many cob buildings have been built in East Vancouver in this manner).

      As with any governmental procedure, it’s simply a matter of overcoming the moneyed interests (cement corporations, timber industry, etc) to get the planners to understand that this type of building is exponentially better (safer, more durable, economical, environmentally safe, etc.) than any “conventional” type.

  2. I lucked upon this August-September workshop that falls on my holidaze! I was in Vancouver just for this last year but couldn’t find a workshop I wanted at the right ime.
    I want in. Is it too late? Let me SVP, I have been obsessed with cob for years and want in!

  3. Unfortunately I just learned about this workshop, and I was still on holiday when it started. What I’d like to know is, are you having any more this year? when & where? I’d love to attend one.

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