August, 2005

Cob Art & Earth Architecture

Abey & Smallcombe

Oh, this is exciting! Never have I seen such wonderful earthen sculpture. Cob art, ecological buildings, colorful earthen floor tiles, educational programs. This dynamic team of artists in Drewsteignton, UK will knock your socks off. Jacki Abey and Jill Smallcombe teamed up in 2000. Jackie has trained at Taunton Art School and is a painter, while Jill has a degree in sculpture from Bath Academy and works as a interior designer, teacher and sculptor.

Visit their site, »
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Making Cob Video

Making Cob

Watch the Making Cob video:

Quicktime version
View on Youtube »

Cob = clay-rich soil, sand, straw, water + human energy!

People often forget to mention the human energy when speaking of the ingredients of cob! It’s either human energy or some other mechanical method of mixing. Electric mixer cob, tracker cob, tiller cob, cattle trodden etc. I mixed it up on a poly-propylene tarp. What’s nice about using a tarp is you can toss the material around, pulling the edges towards you while you mix. A basic mix might be 70% sand and %30 clay, with straw to ‘taste’. The ratios change from site to site as different sites have different soil content. In this video I was using a 2 clay-rich soil to 1 sand. I probably could have used more sand, but the batch worked fine for me. Continue Reading…

Flickr: Cob photos

I was browsing flickr for Cob and found this:

Gamelyn’s Cob Workshop Photos»
Cob workshop, Cobville, Oregon, July 2005… I think this is a Cob Cottage workshop.

Mayne Island Cob House photos »
“User’s ” Earthen Architecture photos »

Update: There is a Natural Building Group on flickr too:

The Cobber’s Thumb

magical-cob-tuning-cobbers thumb

What’s a cobbers thumb?
It’s an ancient thumb passed down from master to apprentice.
An object with special powers to metaphysically tune the mystical material – cob. An electronic device that samples the ratio of water, clay, sand and straw. Then chimes when the mix is suitable for building.

…or NOT.

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St. Olaf, Making Green Strides

dreaming of clean energy with two 1.65 megawatt turbines

Riding the Wind

On the horizon of Northfield, Minnesota is a 1.65-megawatt turbine, turning its lonely arms in the sky. Generating about 20 % of Carleton College’s energy needs. Yes 20%!
Soon that lonely turbine wont be so lonely anymore! St. Olaf has started planting the roots for yet another 1.65-megawatt wind turbine among the soybeans and corn. This power will be used directly by St. Olaf. Providing an estimated 30% of the colleges total energy needs.
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