Balecob ATV Shed in Colorado

By making a building mostly solo, I hope to demonstrate that most anyone can make shelter in a way that fulfills their soul, makes their body strong, exists in harmony with nature, and does not require mortgage payments for decades of their life.

Growing up on the beaches in Southern California my deepest sense of spirituality became tied to the natural world, and for years I also attended Mission San Luis Rey with its six foot thick adobe walls, frescos, massive timber rafters, paintings and statues. Later, as a young art student, I explored rituals as a means of rebuilding our collective psyches’ connection to the land.

As an artist I also have what I call “the design brain” which enjoys analyzing problems, in this case the synergy of locale, space, materials and the human body in order to create useful and practical solutions for living.

Our world is in need of alternatives to the use of products that are over-harvested, transported long distances, processed with chemicals and purchased by contractors who construct buildings sold to people who then spend their lifetime repaying debt for shelter that oftentimes is unrelated to sunshine or the land on which it sits–buildings which are becoming more toxic. My passion is creating solutions invested with spirit, understanding, synchronicity, joy, beauty and simple functionality so that we humans can learn to live in harmony with nature.

Winter 2018: The week before Christmas a friend and student Jennifer Derge helped me one day clean up the site. It’s started to look like a real place. The porch roof needs fascia, the stucco needs to be completed and I’m pretty sure I’ll cob about 1/3 of the way up the pillars. But it’s looking pretty good…”she said after eight years on task”….but remember if several people worked consistently and didn’t have to stop to teach school, it could easily be done within a year’s time.

Cob Building with Maya
Scroll down and/or click the links on the left side of her page to see the entire building process.
With respect (love the website, her writing, and her can-do attitude), many/most readers will not want to spend that much time building their home. Here’s a much faster option for those with minimal building skills and tools. 1. Hire a natural builder to build the pole frame and roof. At the same time you could pay the builder to set a door frame and construct some window bucks. 2. When that’s complete, build a gravel bag foundation. (This would take about 1-2 days with a helper.) 3. Stack straw bales on top of the gravel bags. (This would take one day with a helper since it’s a tiny house.) 4. Have some friends over for a mud plaster party. Get a dump truck load of good plastering soil delivered near the building. You could do an interior and exterior coat over a weekend. Add additional coats after drying. Total building time: several weeks instead of several years.

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