Our first workshop hosted at HeartSong Sanctuary gathered 12 students on the land to learn cob construction as taught by Shawn King and Jamie Manza. Jamie had been working on the building with support from a few others on site since April; hand digging a foundation, filling a rubble trench, and building a stem wall from stones gathered from the land. When students arrived the afternoon of July 24th, the building was ready to receive cob.
The work Site before the course along with a cob model of the wall structure (J.E.)
Shawn and Jamie gave some introductory instructions and set us to work stomping our first batches of cob, mashing clay, sand, straw, and water together into a thick mixture that dries hard and strong.
Stomping cob, the members of this temporary community got to know one another; artist alongside teacher, musician, builder, solar panel installer!
Shawn and Jamie give a talk on-site (J.E.)
Jamie works on the roofing design on his model of the building (L.B.)
Noelle, Camillo, and Leroy stomping cob (L.B.)
A cob ball about to be added to the wall (L.B.)
Our sous chef Oliver takes a break from the kitchen to mix the slip that acts as a glue to secure cob to stone (J.E.)
A tiny cob city is emerges along the bond beam as Kate builds it up (J.E.)
Between construction sessions, we found time to swim in the creek, eat the bounteous meals prepared by Amelia and Oliver, and roast treats over a fire almost every night.
Night time at HeartSong (J.E.)
Cobbers build late into the night as friends serenade us with music on the last night of the course (including a special rendition of Stevie Wonder’s Have a Talk with “Cob” (J.E.)
We ended the workshop with a couple bales staked into the wall, and the majority of a bond beam placed. Participants had an open invitation to come back to help finish building, and some stayed for a few more days for some extra cob stomping, skinny dipping, and general cavorting.
Endless thanks to all who built with us. Those days filled this land to the point of overflowing with the spirit of community, hard work, and great excitement for the many projects and gatherings to come.
Shawn’s daughter Clair gives Pork Pork a sweet farewell at the end of the course (L.B.)
Photos by Lindsay Buckley (L.B.) and John Ellsworth (J.E.)