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Earth Plaster  Sculpting Skillshop

Page history last edited by Deanne Bednar 10 years ago

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             Earth Plaster & Sculpting Skillshop

    This workshop is being rescheduled.  Date to be determined.  Check the website next month.

                         July 16 -18, 2010 

                               Friday 5p - Sunday 4p

.                          Attend one day or all days.  Details below.

Earth plaster is an incredible aesthetic as well as a highly functional and sustainable material.  In this hands-on class learn the essentials to be comfortable using this medium many ways.


Earth is the basic material used in adobe, rammed earth & cob homes.  And earth is the primary ingredient in strawbale wall plasters, earth ovens, earthen floors, benches and sculptures! When simple local ingredients (sand, clay and fiber) are mixed together, a very durable natural material is formed which you can use as a sculpting medium or plaster to "naturalize" your existing dwelling, or use in a future natural structure you will build.


In this workshop you will learn how to

  • Identify and locate the materials needed to make an earthen mix used in natural building
  • Make a batch of earthen plaster
  • Hands-on application of earthen mix as a plaster to existing walls
  • Hands-on construction of sculptural elements such as a bench, tree, niche.
  • Receive materials so you can make a small earthen model at the workshop ~ or at home.

We will also tour the earth-plastered Strawbale Studio and you will see the Rocket Stove Heated Bench, the wattle & daub Spiral Chamber, an Earth Oven and a number of earthen applications in the main (conventional) house: earth plasters over dry wall, sculptures, sconces and an earthen bench. 

The earthen plasters will be applied to current projects.




 Schedule ~ subject to possible modifications 


   Friday  5 - 9 pm    

  • Gather for supper together, Tour the Land,  Slideshow & Discussion: Plastering & Sculpting with Earth.  . 


   Saturday   10 a – 8:30 pm.

  • 8:30 Opening Circle 
  • 9:00 am breakfast 
  • (9:30 tour for new arrivals)
  • 10 am Earth Plasters: how to identify soil, locate, mix, apply.
  • 5:30  pm tour of buildings is desired.  
  • 6:30  pm supper.  
  • Evening bonfire, socializing, music or browse resources.


   Sunday  morning through 4 pm.  

  • 8:30 Opening Circle, then breakfast.         
  • 10 am Make an earthen mix suitable for sculpting
  • Practice on boards, or walls
  • Lunch
  • Apply finishes to seal or color walls or sculptures. 
  • Make a model to take home, or take home the materials to do so.  


Fees & Discounts

$115 prepaid by June 16.  $125 pre-paid by July 5.  $140 at the door.


  • Early Bird Prices  ~  Pre-paid by  June 16, 2010

                                                        Friday  $25,  Saturday $60,  Sunday  $45,    All 3 days:  only $115

                                                Pre-paid by  July 5.                                          

                                                        Friday $28,  Saturday $65,  Sunday $50      All 3 days:           $125

  • After July 5                Pre-register, then pay at the door.

                                                         Friday $30    Saturday $75,  Sunday $60     All 3 days:           $140


  • Bring-a-friend Discount ~ subtract $10 from your fee
  • Some scholarships available. Ask if needed.
  • Meals shared ( bring some food & we will share cooking & cleanup)
  • Free lodging available on site: some indoor beds, cots & outdoor camping space.


Contact  Call Deanne 248 628 1887 or email: ecoartdb@gmail.com




Location: Rural Oxford, MI.  Private residence.  Receive directions when you register.


More information on Earthen materials & natural building:


Presenter: Deanne Bednar has been doing natural building since 1996, was a co-builder of the Strawbale Studio & the Kensington Kid's Cottage and other small structures. She has done construction with a variety of wall techniques: strawbale, wattle & daub, light clay & compressed earth blocks. 

Working with earth has been a focus of her work which includes many sculptural details !  Photos of her earth sculpting work has been featured in the Hand-Sculpted House, Mother Earth News & other publications.


"Direct Connection" & "Re-skilling  are the  themes of her work:  Creating a joyful relationship with the earth, stones, trees & plants of this place to create buildings, soil for growing food ~ and coming together with the community & friends to learn skills and co-create a future that is fair & sustainable. She has a degree in Social Ecology, illustrated the "Hand-Sculpted House" & "The Natural Plaster Book" , authored numerous natural building articles, and taught art and sustainable future at the middle school level for 28 years and sculpts with earth. 


New words: 

  • "Plerk" (Play + work !)      
  • "Skillshop"  (Skills learned in a workshop format...only its fun ~ not work)
  • "Cob" (an old english word meaning "rounded lump or mass" used in natural building to refer to the shaping of clay, sand & straw into a loaf-sized mass that could be thrown to the people making the wall out of it) So cob is a shape, a building material & a wall construction technique. "We mixed cob to make cobs for the cob walls of the cob house." 
  • Thus we can now say we are creating a new "Vocobulary" !  


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