The Natural Building Colloquium is an annual gathering for natural builders to share their work and experiences, and to create a stronger network between builders. The 2009 event at the beautiful Camp Latgawa in Oregon was my first one, and I was very happy to have the chance to attend.
I came away from the week feeling that the natural building community is very strong – and I stress the word community, in this case. I felt very in tune with the other attendees. There seemed to be a strong shared spirit and values, and many connections among the group.
The event was very well-organized, with work projects taking up most of the morning (this year’s projects included building an outdoor Rumford fireplace [more on that in the future], fixing up a cob bench and kid’s play area, building a bamboo roof structure, and redesigning the entryway to Camp Latgawa), and presentations filling up the afternoon into the night. There was a huge number of presentations, which were all created and pitched early in the week, so that everyone who wanted to present had an opportunity to do so later.
It was great to meet other builders and to be able to hear their stories, and to be able to share my own work. (There were a few people present who had already seen my house on this website.) I received a lot of great feedback after my presentation, which I was really thankful for. People seemed to be impressed by my house. It was also great to be able to meet some of people whose work I’ve seen from afar (in books or online), or even those who have inspired me to do what I’m doing (like Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley). What a great feeling!
If there were any negatives, it was the perhaps the wealth of presentations involving building codes. I’ve got to say that I’m quite spoiled, since I don’t have to deal with code at all here in northeastern Missouri, so these discussions held almost no appeal for me. There also seemed to be a pretty big urban building presence, which I am little interested in. My interest is definitely more skewed towards the owner-built home (in a rural setting).
Ultimately, it was a great week, and I hope to be able to attend future Colloquiums. I’ve got some new ideas to explore as a result of that week of intense building discussion… It’s been a nice motivational boost!
(For more photos of the lovely Camp Latgawa, check out my Natural Building Colloquium 2009 photos here.)