Builders & Artisans

The Regenerative Home

Scott Howard of Earthen Hand has been sculpting, building and offering workshops for a decade. All along employing natural building techniques and appropriate technology to yield beautiful resonant spaces.

The new initiative is researching and developing their own flavor of a ecological, low-cost, self-sufficient home, called The Regenerative Home.  Some of the key featured of this design are: passive solar design, PAHS or passive annual heat storage, earthbag building, adobe Nubian vault, low energy appliances and integrated garden space.  All with in a 500 round foot design that will cost 15K in materials.

The idea is to incorporate cutting edge green technologies into a affordable, replicable, and tested design.  This project is being built at The Wirikutu Peace Fellowship, near La Garita, Colorado, which plans to become an eco-village and buddhist retreat center. Besides the building of the prototype, open source plans, test results, and a documentary will be available in the future.

They need your support to make this a reality…
Learn more about The Regenerative Home project and donate »
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Year of Mud, The Book

The Year of Mud. The Book

The Year of Mud is one novice builder’s story of building his first cob house, a home constructed largely of natural, local materials, many literally straight from the earth and surrounding ecosystem.

A documentary story and inspirational guide for other individuals wanting to create more sustainable, simple, human homes, The Year of Mud demonstrates one example of building that is intuitive, inexpensive, earth-friendly, and creative. And muddy, too, of course.

Make sure to see what Ziggy and friends are up to on The Year of Mud ( the web site ).
Also check out the upcoming workshops on Timber Framing and Straw Bale construction.

The Book
Preview it and Buy it.
Use promo code NEWBLURB for 20% off!

Zuker’s Medieval Cottage

This delicious 900 round foot hand-sculpted building is the work of Austin, Texas resident Gary Zuker.  Seems to have come straight out of medieval times. He wasn’t a professional builder when he embarked on creating this master piece, but you wouldn’t know it!  I really admire the craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Gary used timber frame and straw/clay infill technique for his wall system. Straw/Clay A.K.A: Leichtlehmbau ( a German term for light straw-clay ), light-clay or my favorite – slippy-straw.  Light-clay is lighter than traditional cob, about half the weight per cubic foot and has greater insulating properties.  It’s packed into temporary forms and allowed to dry before plastering.  Check out Gary’s  article illustrating the technique [pdf].
Light-clay generally isn’t load bearing, no matter, that’s where the timber frame structure comes in. A scissor-truss system was used for the home’s roof structure made from pine from a sawmill nearby. Local stones were hauled to create the epic entrance and fireplace. To top it off Delores, Gary’s wife, artfully created stained glass windows for the home.

I’m happy to host  the Zuker Cottage photo gallery »




No collection of Making Cob articles would be complete without “BobCob”. That is: Cobcat, Bobcat cob or tractor cob. Although foot mixing cob can be a tactile treat for your feet, after the 100th ton of mud one thinks to themselves: Is there another way to do this? Well, our friends at Clay Sand Straw have demonstrated that there is another way. Here is a video of Kindra mixin-mud in Hunt, Texas –  BobCob style.

Texas Natural Builders Pallet House

David Reed of Texas Natural Builders is in South Dakota.  They are working hard on the beautiful Pine Ridge Reservation to build a home for Walter and Alison YellowHair.  As the fall weather closes in they are looking for help finishing up.  Do contact David if your able to help.
I look forward to hearing more on how the pallet house evolves.