Timber Frame and Natural Building Work Exchange 2011

by ziggy on January 17, 2011 -- 5 comments -- Follow

The Wabi-sabi kitchen foundation

UPDATE (3/22/2011): This position has been filled – thank you to all applicants!

The Wabi-sabi sub-community (Ziggy, April, Thomas, and Ali) at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage are seeking individuals to help with building our cooperative kitchen and maintaining our organic vegetable gardens for the summer of 2011.

Roundwood Timber Frame and Natural Building Work Exchange Opportunity for 2011

Are you interested in roundwood timber framing?

Do you want to get some hands-on experience building using natural materials?

Would you like to experience community life in an off-the-grid, sustainable ecovillage?

If you answer yes to these questions, then you should be interested in this work exchange opportunity.

Wabi-sabi wants to host excited work exchangers during April to October 2011 to help with the construction of a timber frame, straw bale and cob kitchen.

To apply or for more information, please contact Ziggy (evacindustry @ gmail dot com!)

The beginning of a kitchen

The Kitchen You’ll Help Build:

The Wabi-sabi kitchen is a oval structure composed of a reclaimed urbanite foundation, a local roundwood timber frame, and eventually, a reclaimed metal roof and straw bale/cob walls with an attached greenhouse and outdoor cooking space.

We are seeking builders with timber frame or carpentry experience.

This season, building work will largely consist of helping to design and construct a timber frame from locally harvested roundwood using hand tools. Logs will be cut, split, hewn, mortised, and shaped to build the frame for our kitchen. The ideal candidate would have experience using hand tools to shape logs (saws, adzes, chisels, etc.), but a candidate with more general carpentry experience could be a fine candidate, too. Ultimately, we are seeking an individual excited and enthusiastic to experiment and learn about timber framing techniques and methods!


Thomas carves some tenons

Work exchangers will also have the opportunity to work on other natural building projects, such as finish work on a small cob wood shed structure, constructing a greenhouse, and more.

Your Living Situation At Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage:

Other than gaining valuable natural building experience, you will have the opportunity to experience community life here at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

You’ll be able to live closely with four Dancing Rabbit members as a temporary part of the Wabi-sabi sub-community, a group of friends that value simple rustic living, cooperation, communication, and living the good life. Wabi-sabi has a shared outdoor kitchen, and we use wood heat and solar ovens exclusively for cooking meals. Our sub-community maintains extensive vegetable gardens, and we keep bees and recently started planting a food forest, among other exciting projects besides our new kitchen construction. Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to participate in our other projects.

You’ll be able to partake in wider community events and activities (potlucks, ultimate Frisbee games, dance parties, swimming in the pond, and celebrations), eat seasonal and organic meals (mostly simple vegetarian meals) in the Wabi-sabi food co-op, and enjoy a summer in rural Missouri.

Enjoy food fresh from our gardens!

As a temporary resident of the community, you will also be expected to partake in community responsibilities, such as weekly cook shifts and cleaning. There may also be some opportunity to help with gardening and other tasks.

Your Building Qualifications and Experience:

Prospective work exchangers should have some previous experience in one of the following areas:

  • timber frame construction
  • carpentry
  • general construction

We are particularly looking for people with previous timber frame, carpentry, and/or natural building experience.

If you are responsible, proactive, have a strong work ethic, and are capable of regularly doing very physical work, you will be fit for this role. As a work exchanger, your cost of living here at Dancing Rabbit will be covered in exchange for approximately 4-5 days of labor per week. Non-building labor responsibilities will include cook shifts as part of a food co-op, and occasional cleaning shifts.

Homemade pizza for dinner

Summary of What You’ll Get From Your Work Exchange:

  • Food: All meals provided. You will be part of a largely vegetarian food co-op during your stay.
  • Accommodations: Tenting platform space provided and shared facilities available for use (Common House, outdoor kitchen, showers, composting toilets)
  • Fees: Payment of all residency fees
  • Transportation: No coverage provided
  • Education and skills: Hands-on experience constructing a timber frame building, and a whole lot more!

Summary of Your Building Responsibilities and Qualifications:

  • Your work load: 4-5 days of labor per week
  • Other: the ideal applicant will have experience with timber framing and/or carpentry, a strong work ethic, a proactive personality, responsibility, attention to detail, desire to learn, enthusiasm, and a good sense of humor. As a temporary resident of the community, you will also partake in community responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning and other chores.

To apply for this work exchange program, please contact Ziggy (evacindustry @ gmail dot com!)


Ziggy and 2010 wexer Snack lay the foundation


Who is Wabi-sabi?

Ziggy Liloia says: Way back when I lived in New Jersey and graduated from The College of New Jersey, I set out to realize my dream job: to be retired.  I’ve been working hard on just that here at Dancing Rabbit.  The question of, “So, what do you do?” comes up pretty frequently and I’m left at a loss trying to come up with a way of saying, “Um, I just live.” I keep plenty busy building with cob, keeping bees, churning butter, making candles, writing, and making cheese to put on pizza…which is maybe one of the things I’m most passionate about in life: good homemade food.

April Morales says: Once, when asked what I wanted to do with my life I answered, “I want to live in a hut and shit in a hole.”  I’ve certainly realized that dream, although you might be surprised how much other stuff I’ve done as well since I tend to be kind of quiet. These days my time is occupied with teaching art for Dancing Rabbit’s Education Co-op, sewing, keeping bees, making candles, managing a lot of Wabi-sabi’s food processing, gardening, running, and counting my gray hairs (I have exactly 12).  Can you tell I like intricate and tedious tasks?

Thomas Kortkamp says: I’m a Wookie, devotee of the plant kingdom and a hand-woodworking aficionado. I’ve been rooting around at Dancing Rabbit for about 8 years and pleased to be digging in with the fine company of Wabi-sabi. For 2011, I’m most excited about diversifying the plantings in the Other Shore Food Forest, getting to work on the cantilevered balcony of the Wabi-sabi kitchen, and doing little dances for the Pumpkin Truck (a.k.a. Ali).

Ali Brown says: I’m a native Carolinian who finally gave into the irresistible rolling hills of northeast Missouri two years ago, after residing at Twin Oaks Community in VA and teaching preschool in West Philly. My activities of choice include growing vegetables, making music, and having adventures with the neighborhood kids.

To apply for this work exchange program, please contact Ziggy (evacindustry @ gmail dot com!)

Send Me More Updates Like This!

  • Oooooo, I wanna go! Unfortunately, I have zero carpentry skilz. But, I have been living and working around/with earth based construction for a couple of years. Maybe when you all start putting in the strawbale and cobbing (and if you’re still asking for work exchange at that point), I’ll be able to make it out there. (fingers crossed)

  • r blais

    I really wish I could participate, as I hope to take advantage of an eco-village internship sometime in the next few years and I have loved watching this particular one grow. You guys always look like you’re having a blast! If it wasn’t for interfering with school I would totally do this.

  • rehan

    Hello, thank you for this opportunity. I have been working here in Honolulu in home construction and remodelling for about 5 years. I have also been dreaming of learning to build with cob and bamboo and straw bale and someday start my own alternative building workshops to teach people and build beautiful buildings with mud!.

    I saw your home on the cover of Yes! and then found your webpage. you help me get there and learn all this stuff and then you should come and see Hawaii and maybe build a nice cob house on the island!

    I am very interested. How can we make it work?

  • Pingback: Learn Organic Gardening, Natural Building at Dancing Rabbit | Sustainablog()

  • Shawn

    I’ve recently learned of Dancing Rabbitt which is exciting in itself. More exciting is that it’s close. I live in St. Louis! Now that my urban pioneer spirit has dwindled and I want nothing more than to go off the grid, I’m looking forward to visiting DRE and learning what I can while giving what I can. I need skills! Hope to see you all soon!

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