You could be a student at or you could be a host of one of our natural building workshops or apprenticeships.
Expect quality hands-on and “classroom” style learning. We give you the explanations you need to understand not only what you are physically working on, but also to grasp a wider perspective on how to build as a whole, with (obviously) an emphasis on natural building and green design, including passive solar. We have years of experience designing and building with straw bale, cob, earthbag, straw-clay and natural plasters, not to mention the ins and outs of carpentry, foundations, roofs, etc. Depending on the length and scope of the workshop, you will come away with a good introduction to the basics, an in-depth experience of one or two methods, or a broader, deeper experience that will give you the confidence to go build something yourself or work for a contractor. Our instructors have taught many workshops and form a team where your learning style is respected, your questions get answered, and you have a good time learning effective ways of building energy- and material-efficient, beautiful, connected-feeling shelters!
Our main types of workshop hosts are owner-builders and organizations of some kind—usually non-profits or schools. To host a hands-on workshop focusing on your project can be a wonderful thing for all involved. You wil be providing a space where the students, under our direction, can learn by doing, while you get a significant helping of work done in a short time period, and move closer to completion. Many straw bale houses have been “put up” and begun to be plastered in a weekend workshop.
That said, a lot of preparation must happen prior to a workshop for things to go smoothly and everyone to have a good experience. Whether you are an owner-builder or represent an organization, we will go through an extensive list of what must be accomplished before the workshop as far as design and building, food/lodging, etc. for particpants, and promotions. As workshop instructors, we are very interested in the educational experience of the particpants—that is what they have come for. While we plan for lots of high-quality work getting done, these are workshop participants, not paid construction workers—and we treat them as such.