Teaching natural building week @ Aprovecho

the crew!

I just finished teaching ‘Natural Building Week’ for this Spring’s ‘Sustainable Living Skills’ program @ Aprovecho.

I had such a blast, teaching light straw clay, earthen plaster and cob.

Thanks to everyone who came and learned, everyone was so into the building it was such a joy!

Light Straw Clay

We mixed up straw and clay slip, then tamped the mix into forms. This creates a strong insulative wall system, that once dry, can be plastered without any preparation.

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The Playhouse

Project led by: Chris Foraker
Location: Aprovecho, Cottage Grove, OR
Date: August 2011 – July 2012

This project was the main build in Aprovecho’s ‘Sustainable Shelter Series’.
The playhouse is 150 square feet, small enough to avoid costly permits in Oregon. It features a variety of different natural building materials and techniques to both educate and be a model of what is possible.

I had the pleasure of working on this structure for the best part of a year. Spending time at Aprovecho is always a joy, being surrounded by so many varied but inspired people.

The structure, stove, most walls and base floor pour of this build were completed on the seven week Shelter Series. Subsequent plastering and finishing were completed over the fall & spring practicum and times in between where I was work trading.

The upstairs loft – You can see the split tone alised walls. Gonzo create the ultimate plaster mix for the final coat, leaving the smoothest earthen walls I have ever touched.

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Sunshine Door

Collaborative project with Jim Harding
Location: Aprovecho, Cottage Grove, OR
Date: November 2011

Working with the great carpenter, Jim, we made this sunshine door to go on the playhouse.

The door is mortise and tenon cedar around a piece of ply.
To create the pattern and finish surface we used cedar from an old wooden hot tub (giant wooden barrel).
After squaring up all the pieces, we ripped them in half, giving us a weathered side and a fresh cut side to create the sunshine rays.

Mortise and tenon cedar around ply

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