2012 Cob Building Workshops!

From August 18th to 23rd and August 25th to 30th, I’ll be hosting two independent cob/natural building workshops on Lasqueti Island. The cost of each workshop is $400 which covers all meals (3 hot, fully organic vegan/vegetarian meals for 4 days, 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.

Here’s some of the feedback that we’ve received from previous workshop participants:

I enjoyed how you let us experiment and fail and learn on the fly.” – Luke ’11

It was empowering!  I really feel like in a short week like I can get going on building my own cob house!” – Jodi ’11

Transformative and empowering!” – Kate ’10.

Very instructive and hands-on.” – Matt ’10.

You have no idea how excited I am that I now pretty much know how to build a house out of dirt.” – Kate ’10.

Learning what we needed to know as we put it to practical use rather than spending a lot of time on theory was a useful approach for me.” – Terry ’09.

Your workshop facilitator (Dave Olsen) completed a cob workshop in 1996 and has had mud on his hands ever since.  He has also led workshops on many other topics since 1994.  On Lasqueti Island, he has organized and co-led 6 cob workshops and finished four buildings; he has been very fortunate to have worked with many of the leading cob builders of our time.

Here’s some more feedback from previous participants, this time about the food:

The food was absolutely incredible!  I’ve never been to any event where the food was as healthy, abundant, delicious, frequent.” – Jodi ’11

I was surprised by how much variety there was as my preconditioned idea of a vegan diet was that it would be very plain without much zing.  However it was a treat each meal” – Luke ’11

Exceptional, really top drawer and beautifully prepared.” – Matt ’10

Delicious and superfluous.” – Kate ’10

The food was excellent!  Thank you Bethany. It was my first prolonged experience with Vegan food and I quite enjoyed it.” – Terry ’09

What else makes these courses special?

  • You will see firsthand how humans can build with what nature provides, without destroying the beauty that is offered.
  • 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” to get our walls up twice as fast and “the brick” which gets them up even faster!
  • 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.

What will the focus be for this workshop?

We’ll be creating a guest house/garden shed that starts with very short cob walls on a stone foundation.  We’ll add 10′ logs to cantilever the sleeping space over the garden shed and cob up to a metal roof that will collect rain water.  The floor will be pine, and the roof will be sloped to make the guest house seem like a loft over the garden shed.  The 96 sq ft. structure will be done in less than a month!

We’ll also be plastering with a lovely natural plaster: a cob bench, greenhouse walls, outside and inside.  You’ll find the ratio of materials that work best for applying and lasting, which can be used on any type of construction.

On site, there will be the beginnings of a stone foundation to help you understand an efficient way of creating your own.  Our time is too short to work on it, but the concepts will be on display so you can absorb it all while you learn to mix fast cob and plaster naturally.

Travel days to get to and from the workshop are Saturdays, August 18th or August 25th (we’ll begin with a welcoming, organic dinner that evening) and Thursday, August 23rd or August 30th (a farewell breakfast will fuel your return to the ferry dock).

Every workshop day (Sunday to Wednesday), we start with a short meditative building session, followed by an organic, hot wholesome breakfast.  Two longer hands-on learning sessions sandwich a hot organic, vegan lunch.

Most evenings, after a delicious dinner, we’ll have a discussion or mini-workshop on related activities, from ecologically-sensitive transportation to building a roof with cedar shakes.

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; the more effort you give, the more learning you will take away.  Natural Building is at least 95% experiential learning and you will be expected to self-motivate throughout the various scheduled sessions.

For more information and background, please visit:

https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2009/05/16/2009-cob-building-workshop/ https://humanpowered.wordpress.com/2008/05/10/learn-to-build-naturally-with-cob/

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

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


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