Natural building, I believe, is part of the equation to solving not only a housing crisis that exists but also lowering the impact we have on the environment. It is simple, accessible to all, inexpensive, creates community, and most importantly, empowers individuals instead of making them pawns in the system of expected financial debt.
During the 6 months I spent in California I was lucky enough to have spent time working on quite a few projects. I apprenticed at Emerald Earth, learning to build with cob, straw bale, slip straw, slip and chip, use plasters, natural paints and build an adobe floor. I worked at the Solar Living Institute on project where I helped with plastering a straw bale house and specific bottle and design work.
I also worked in King City, CA on a straw bale Forest Ranger Station. In 6 weeks we put up over 1000 bales!
Upon returning to Phoenix, I began construction on a cob house. I built the foundation, stem wall, door bucks and window frames, and helped with much of the cob wall structure. I then left the property and other volunteers completed the building.
I learned many important lessons during this time, but what stuck with me was how each participant reacted when working with earth. They all seemed to find a lost part of them that wanted to continue building. It’s as if they had uncovered a lost feeling, a part of them that wanted to express itself creatively. It seems that possibly working with earth is quite simply allowing us to get one step closer to finding out who we really are.