Summer Workshop, June 2003

The large June 2003 workshop group was enthusiastic, diverse and insatiable for natural building know-how.

Even though the workshop concentrated on mostly on earthen plasters, with a brief demonstration of earthen flooring, we stopped often for long discussions of topics such as straw-clay walls, mechanization ideas for saving labor, and the integration of natural home techniques.

Tom Hirsch amd Larry Kinney of Harmony Home Construction, an environmentally aware home-building company based near Traverse City, Michigan, brought a half-dozen crew members with great energy. They've got four straw-clay homes under construction this Fall, and are incorporating techniques they learned at this workshop.

The workshop group


The group begins by learning to make clay slip.


Tom Hirsch of Harmony Home Construction.


Douglas Piltingsrud discusses the admixtures -- casein and linseed oil -- that improve earthen plasters' weatherability and breathability.


Johanna & Lou refine the color of the finish plaster mix using iron oxides, the same as potters use for their glazes. Then they duplicate it for more batches.


Wetting down the wall before plastering.


Professional plasterer Doug DeVries, shows Mary Kay & Adam how it's done.


Mixing casein slurry with a bit of lime putty helps it to 'bloom' and disperse more thoroughly into the plaster.

More photos of past hands-on home building workshops:
Autumn '01 | Spring '02 | Summer '02 | Summer '03 | Autumn '03

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