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2016 Natural Building  Weekend Workshop
– Workshop Complete! Sign Up for 2017 Schedule –

 The 2016 Natural Building Essentials Workshop is complete. Please sign up for our 2017 Workshop schedule! 

If you’ve been curious about natural building and have been looking for a jump start, this is the course for you. Join us this fall for an introductory Natural Building Weekend Workshop at our new homestead site just 15 minutes outside of Berea, Kentucky. This is an abbreviated version of our 5 day Essentials Workshop, perfect for folks who have limited time to take off from work or get away from home.

In this course, you’ll get hands-on experience playing with cob, building light clay straw walls, and mixing and applying various natural plasters. Additionally, you’ll get to see how you can incorporate natural building elements into an existing conventional home. All meals and camping on-site are included!

building-a-cob-benchWorkshop Information at a Glance:

  • Workshop Date: October 1-2, 2016
  • Location: Clear Creek, Kentucky (map)
  • Cost and Discounts:
    $225 Early Registration Discount (register 5+ days in advance – $25 off savings!)
    $250 Regular Registration (register less than 5 days in advance)
    $200 per person if you live in Madison, Rockcastle, Estille, Garrard, or Jackson County, Kentucky!
  • All-inclusive: Workshop includes camping accommodations, and 3 home-cooked meals a day
  • Led by Brian “Ziggy” Liloia, builder with 9 years of experience including cob, straw bale, timber framing, & natural plasters

I’m Ready to Register!

Get Your Hands Muddy and Your Mind Enlivened

Light Clay Straw WallThis course will present you an excellent opportunity to work with various natural materials and discover the versatility of clay, sand, straw, and wood. We’ll explore applications of cob, light clay straw, clay plaster, clay paint as we build a small cob bench and construct a light clay straw wall.

We’ll also touch upon natural home design elements beyond the basics, including passive solar, tips for home orientation, wood heat, building according to your needs, etc. Part of our conversations will include how you can incorporate natural building elements into an already existing conventional home.

Some of the activities you can look forward to include:

  • Preparing and insulating a stud wall with light clay straw
  • Mixing and applying clay plaster made from local materials
  • Building a small bench with cob
  • Working with different clay plaster finishes
  • Mixing clay paint and trying it on a variety of surfaces

This could be your chance to finally get your hands dirty and dive into the beautiful world of natural building! Here’s what some participants from our 5 day Natural Building Essentials Workshop had to say about their experience:

What a great and, dare I say, life changing experience. I miss you guys and hope to make another workshop next spring or summer.Bill E.
Clear Creek is a beautiful and eclectic community.  There couldn’t be a better place to learn the techniques of natural building, and Ziggy did a wonderful job leading the class.  I loved tamping down the straw for the light clay straw walls of the outhouse.  What a great way to relieve stress!  It was also great learning how to mix and apply several different types of plasters, since it can be intimidating with so many options out there.  Thanks Ziggy for your patience with us newbies and thanks April for providing such amazing meals every day!Liz. H.

How to Register for the Course

Please reserve your spot by completing the workshop registration. Remember, spaces are limited! Don’t forget to apply early to earn your registration discount.

Register for Workshop Now

Payments can be made via check or Dwolla.com (a Paypal alternative) once your registration is complete. Further details will be provided once we review your registration. Thanks for joining!

Please contact Ziggy with any questions you may have.

About the Workshop Schedule

We are hoping to be flexible to accommodate people’s work schedules and travel needs. Students are welcome and encouraged to arrive the evening prior to Saturday, October 1. For folks that can make it on Friday evening, we’ll start with a leisurely dinner and introductions. Similarly, if people would like to camp Sunday night and leave Monday morning (October 3), we are open to that as well.

Travel directions will be provided once students complete their registration.

Food and Dining

Dinner Time

Unlike other similar natural building workshops, we provide all meals during our workshops. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be lovingly prepared with fresh, local, and organic ingredients. The meals will largely consist of hearty organic vegetarian dishes. You will not go hungry with us! (In fact, you might have a hard time leaving the table after each meal.) We will do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions and food allergies. Make sure to indicate any restrictions/allergies in your application.

Lodging and Accommodations During Your Stay

We provide student accommodations including camping space, access to composting toilets and outdoor & indoor shower facilities. These accommodations are already included in the price of the Workshop. Please note: cell phone reception is very poor, and landline telephone use will be made available on a limited basis. There is internet access on the property, but we ask that individuals try to use it only for necessities.

Travel directions and a packing list will be provided to workshop participants.

About the Workshop Location

South Slope Farm

The 2016 Natural Building Essentials Workshop is located 15 minutes outside of Berea, Kentucky (map) at South Slope Farm, our homestead in the gorgeous Clear Creek valley. We’re 30 minutes from Richmond, KY, and 1 hour south of Lexington.

Located on 28 acres of hillside pasture and woods, our homestead sits in the middle of a thriving community with many folks dedicated to art, music, community building, sustainable food, and healing & personal/cultural transformation. We are pleased to be surrounded by all manner of motivated folks who want to live meaningful, heartfelt lives.

Berea is a small town in central Kentucky, home to a thriving population of craftspeople, artists, woodworkers, musicians, social activists, and homesteaders. Berea has a longstanding tradition of diversity, social justice, environmental responsibility, and community service. The historic Berea College is the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, and its influence on the town remains to this day.

Testimonials From Previous Workshops

Playing with Mud“We have talked nonstop about the workshop. It was GREAT! We learned a lot and are really inspired. I think that anytime I want to learn something I will start with a workshop… I am recommending your workshop to everyone.” – Callie C., Cob Oven Workshop 2013 participant

“In reality, you present so much more than building techniques, although those are important. The weekend afforded me the chance to connect with folks who think alike… getting back in concrete touch with my philosophical roots dating back to times before you all were born. I was truly heartened to be around such a dynamic and motivated and capable group of young folks. It’s easy to get pessimistic when looking at this mess of a world before us.  You all breathe hope! Keep up the great work, and many thanks for a great experience.” – Angelo S., Cob Building Workshop 2014 participant

“I loved learning things I never knew before, working with other folks, accomplishing things together that we could not do alone, [and] seeing something big come together before our eyes. Ziggy and April were wonderful organizers and hosts. Lots of thought and preparation!” – Margaret W., Timber Framing Workshop 2013 participant

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