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Living and Building in Community - 7 day class

Page history last edited by Deanne Bednar 9 years, 4 months ago

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 Re-Skill . . . Renew . . .Reconnect with Nature. 


               August 13 - 18, 2011  Attend Part or all of this event

                       Located in a beautiful rural setting of woodlands, meadows & gardens

                 on the Strawbale Studio land outside Oxford, Michigan, one hour north of Detroit.

     Learn natural living skills, in harmony with the earth.  Special Meal: Pizza in the Earth Oven !


From 2010 Strawbale Studio & Sustainable Skills

Friday       August 12, 2011       Arrive for socializing and settling in . . .      3 pm on....

Saturday  August 13, 2011       Permaculture, Plants & Plasters Class        11 - 5pm

                                                     Full Moon Potluck & Bonfire                        6 - 10+pm

Sunday     August 14, 2011       Re-skilling Day held at Upland Hills Farm  1-5pm 

Mon-Thur August 18 - 22         Hands-on Training in natural building & sustainable living skills

                                     See Details on these events below !


Join us for an immersive, integrated seven day experience that will include elements from across the spectrum of Natural Building and Living. We’ll be working on everything from Natural Building to Community Building,  Permaculture and more. Living and Building in Community promises to be a rich and rewarding gathering. If you have been considering coming to one of our events but have never gotten around to making the trip, this is a rare chance to attend multiple events and workshops that are usually offered separately.


Participate in current projects and receive instruction in a variety of skills and educational opportunities each day.  Learn hands-on natural building & sustainable living skills, while enjoying nature & the company of each other. This is an opportunity to be in direct relationship with local natural materials, co-creating within a community that supports each other.


Teachers: Deanne Bednar,  Gregg Brazel,  Sam Wagner,  Jared Bogdonov-Hanna, Ruth Hoyt other invited instructors.       Location: Wooded rural setting 1 hr. north of Detroit, outside Oxford, MI



         Schedule Details, Fees, Accommodations & Reservations:




Friday, August 12, 2011            Gathering.  3 pm on.  Arrange to come earlier if you want to help out.

                                                        Find your place to sleep, settle in, have some supper, relax and enjoy reading or                                                           a bonfire in the evening. 


Saturday – August 13, 2011     Permaculture, Plants & Plasters    11a - 6 pm'ish

                                                        Full Moon Potluck & Bonfire           6p - 10p+  (see below)

Permaculture & Natural Building – Earth connection for a regenerative life.

Understand more about the qualities of ground we walk upon as we explore soil in relation to permaculture & gardening as well as natural building.  Includes hands-on activities you can use in your garden or home.   Stay on if you can for the Full Moon potluck/bonfire, a free community event (below). 

 Integrating the perspectives of a permaculturist and natural builder, we will walk the land with a focus on how people & nature can be re-woven in restorative harmony.  This class, taught by 2 instructors, will explore different ecosystems at the Strawbale Studio land -- gardens, lawns, field & forest and the built environment through the complementary perspectives of Permaculture, Foraging & Natural Building.  There will be a focus on soil . . .  creating soil for gardening and living roofs and discovering how to find and mix subsoil for plastering and sculpting.  Included is a tour of the thatched roof natural buildings & other aspects of sustainable living: greenhouse, foraging & plant uses, composting systems, earth ovens, rocket stove, gardens.  There will be some useful hands-on activities which will connect and deepen our relationship with the earth, with soil. 


We will be looking at the land as an abundant source that nurtures us, as we can also nurture it.  As we look at sources for food, building, and living needs, we will also be learning about the "why" of these things.  Where do we find certain resources and why?  How do edges create a more diverse ecosystem? How do things interact and support each other?


This information can be applied to creating a more resilient and connected life where ever you live !


If you are taking this class only pre-register now.  RSVP / registration

$45 prepaid by August 1 or  $60 after that.



Jared Bogdonov-Hanna is the garden manager at the Oakland University Student Garden,  gives presentations and does design work in permaculture, and has a wonderful garden.  www.abundantsuccession.com


Deanne Bednar has been doing natural building since 1996, coordinator of the Strawbale Studio Natural Buildng & Sustainable Living Skills program, illustrator of 3 books on natural building, Masters in Social Ecology and background as an art & sustainability teacher.  www.strawbale.pbworks.om



Saturday – August 13, 2011      Full Moon Potluck & Bonfire.       6 – 10 pm                                             (Overnight accommodations available)

We gather together each month to enjoy nature and each other's company. Each month we have a bonfire outdoors, fire up the woodstove in the Strawbale Studio and share a potluck meal. By this simple process, we reconnect with the elemental beauty of creation and human community. This is a great time for folks who haven't been to the Strawbale Studio to visit, tour, and meet others. There are "regulars" - neighbors and friends - who frequently attend, and generally quite a few children.  No fee – bring a dish!  Donations welcomed !


Sunday    August 14, 2011       Re-skilling Day held at Upland Hills Farm  1-5pm 

Visit one of our neighbors, the Upland Hills Farm, 5 miles down the road from the Strawbale Studio

on Lake George & Indian Lake Rd. Oxford, MI.  This is a chance to see the animals, take a hayride, and experience a range of skills for local and sustainable living:  making goat cheese, creating from recycled materials, bee keeping & spinning,  


Thursday  August 18 -22, 2011       Hands-on Training in natural building & sustainable living skills

Learn elemental skills for living in harmony with our local place in relation to the larger cosmos.  Earth, Air, Fire and Water combine to become food, shelter and a host of other things.  We will explore earth through making natural plasters and sculpting mixes, and several types of composting to create soil.  Air is present in insulation - as we connect with ways to trap heat in order to keep our houses warm ... and cook food with solar ovens and hay boxes. We can also connect with air through walking, stretching, meditating, singing. Fire is present in the rocket stove, earth oven...and the fire of fermentation which makes food like sourdough more nourishing.  Water, a necessity for plants and animals will be explored through rain-catchment systems.  Other hands-on options are available according to interest and time: thatching, green living roof, pocket rocket stoves, round pole framing & lashing... and more.


We will having a closing party - Pizza in the Earth Oven on Wednesday night....and bid each other goodbye mid day on Thursday.


During this 7-day skill shop you will also experience:

  • The Strawbale Studio - a thatched roof strawbale structure featured in books & magazines!
  • The Smiling Sun Earth Oven
  • A Rocket Stove Heated Bench
  • A small greenhouse ~ provides food all year round with no added heat
  • Some permaculture gardening examples.
  • Several Strawbale & Wattle & Daub Structures with thatched roofs. 
  • Seasonal foraging on the land  and fermentation of foods.
  • A wonderful media library on natural building, plants & sustainable living skills. 
  • Evening events include bonfires, videos on natural building & pizza in the earth oven !


The schedule is dependent on weather and other factors, but there will be teaching experiences & opportunities to learn each day.


FEES:         Come to the whole 7 day course, or sign up by day.

$500 for the 7 day course with registration & $50 non-refundable deposit.  Includes all activities, food (bring some food supplies if you can, and help with some meals & cleanup) and lodging (camping or some indoor beds)


$375 Early Bird Special ~ if prepaid in full by Aug 1, 2011  Includes the above.

                   *Scholarships available. 


Fees for Individual Days / Activities :

Aug 13, 2011           11a - 5p      Permaculture, Plants & Plasters Class only  $45 prepaid or $60                                                                                        with pre-registration.    Bring your own lunch.

                                   6p - 10p+   Full Moon Potluck & Bonfire - free (donations warmly accepted)

August 14, 2011       1p - 5p       Re-skilling Day at Upland Hills Farm  Admission to Farm $7 per person.


Other individual workshop days:  $70 / Day  Pre-register.


RSVP and Registration



There is group camping reserved at a beautiful campground nearby.  At the building site in the main house there are 3 bathrooms with showers, full indoor kitchen and washing machine.  $20 feel per night per campsite.  Ask about other overnight accommodations.



Teachers: Deanne Bednar  Bio, teaches natural building an natural living skills.  Her background is as an art and sustainability teacher, and illustrator of several books on natural building including the Hand-Sculpted House.

Sam Wagner, interned for 7 months in Ireland, learning natural building skills: timber framing, stone masonry, rumford fireplace and living roofs.  He is also working on an organic orchard and doing many skills including pruning. 

Jared Bogdonov-Hanna is the farm manager of the Oakland University Student Garden, and a teacher and designer of permaculture gardening.  He has his own beautiful garden in Troy, Michigan and is a founding member of the Michigan Young Farmers Coalition. 

Gregg Brazel has a background in design, construction and woodworking.  He is teaching about round pole framing and heading up the living roof on the wood shelter and sauna.  Also a great cook!

Ruth Hoyt raises goats and lives a life that includes many living skills such as making maple syrup, goats cheese,  mittens, purses & more -- from natural recyled materials.  She is a mother of 4 children who live on the land.

& other invited instructors.

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