The last three weeks I have had the honor of being a work trader for the Natural Cottage Project that took place at the Straw Bale Studio in Oxford, Michigan. Being a work trader meant that I got a discount for the workshop by coming a week before the course began to help with setup. And it meant that I got to more intimately see what it takes to put on a natural building workshop as well as getting to know the instructors and my fellow work traders quite well.
Personally, these last three weeks have been life changing and have cemented (with cob, of course) my own desire and passion to do everything I can to keep my hands in this stuff and continue to pursue natural building as a career. You might ask, what will that look like? And the truth is I don’t yet know, and there are a lot of possibilities in this still emerging field. But I know I want to do it.
The day that really made it all come together for me was the day that the timber frame literally came together and my hands were in it from the first bent that went up to the very last rafter. The whole experience put me on a natural high and I just knew inside that I had to keep doing this. It was around this point in the workshop that I started getting people saying things to me like, “So are you going to keep building? Because you’re good at it and you should,” and “I want to build with you again,” and “How long have you been doing this?”
After two months in Boston feeling like a fish out of water I finally felt back in my element; I was learning, I was teaching, I was creating and inventing, and I was sleeping under the stars. This is the way I am meant to live my life.
And I was so immersed in it and reluctant to pull myself away from the action that I neglected to write any blog posts while there! Not to mention that my camera broke so I will be using the pictures of other very generous people to retroactively try and share my experience with you all.
For now, here are some pictures from the first week as a teaser. I will do my best to give you more details on the project and my experience in the next couple of weeks!
I will leave you with that for now, but promise to post more pictures soon!