So why did I create this blog? Well actually, this blog has evolved out of an earlier SculptingEarth blog that I began because my former partner, Peter Benjamin and I shared a dream. That dream was to live harmoniously and in partnership with the world around us. Not just the human world, but the natural and animal world. That blog was to document, publicize, and network around a dream of ours; to build a cob house (the dream still exists and has grown, and I don’t worry, I will explain what cob is). For better or worse, that blog disappeared when the host site we were using went through some changes. In the meantime, the dream evolved and realities about the enormity of what we want to do also started to set in. I realized there is much I still want to clarify for myself about my own vision and dream and hence there is much I still want to learn and explore before I build my own house. And so this metaphor of sculpting earth grew to mean much more for me then just sculpting my own house. My intention with this new blog, which is broader in it’s scope but able to encompass the goals of the old blog, is to document and share my learnings and explorations and thereby also document the evolution of my dreams and how they change from inception to manifestation.
Although I promise there will be more posts on the subject of cob, for those totally mystified by the word and who are thinking of corn cobs right now, let me briefly tell you what cob is. Cob is a building material that has been used for centuries. It is simply wet adobe, which is nothing more then clay, sand, and straw. This material is used to build houses that can be any shape and size that are, in the end, one solid mass. A mass that is incredibly durable against earthquakes and fires, keeps spaces cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and can be built by almost anybody. There are two things that make cob so attractive to me. First, is so accessible! The materials are cheap and the technique is easy and non technical, allowing almost anybody to build their own house. Second, it allows for incredible freedom of creative expression. It is literally like sculpting clay! You are not limited by rectangular bricks or boards. As an artist myself, this idea of sculpting my own house is incredibly appealing.
Here is a picture of the first cob project I was a part of (picture taken by Kaitlyn O’Connor. Check out her blog here!). This cob bench is only partially done, but if you look closely you see a little niche carved into the back- just a very simple example of a group of beginners playing around with sculpting on this simple form. If you search cob houses on the internet you will see many more and be able to get a feel for the potential beauty of this form!