Women’s Natural Building Intensive Workshop

Be empowered and learn the skills to build your own home.
Be empowered and learn the skills to build your own home.

Date: June 12 – 22
Location: Full Bloom community land near Little Applegate Valley, 30 minutes outside of Jacksonville, Southern Oregon. Set amidst the beautiful forested Siskiyou mountains with snowy Dutchman’s Peak in the distance and Yale Creek passing through.

In this 10 day natural building workshop we will construct a straw bale/straw clay hybrid studio from the ground up. Participants with learn the fundamentals of straw bale building, straw clay construction, cob and earthen plastering and floors. Hands on learning will also include carpentry from walls to roof systems. This workshop is ideal for anyone interested in gaining the skills to build their own home or small structure. No experience necessary!

Food: Three amazing, delicious organic vegetarian meals per day are included. Greens and most of the fresh produce is grown on the land.

Amenities include: Glorious straw bale common building with bakery, phone and wifi. A straw clay bath house with community showers, sauna, tub and pond. On site camping available.

Instructors: Lydia Doleman and Carey Lien will be holding the workshop together, ensuring individual attention for all attendees.

Cost: $1500. Inquire about group discounts. Last chance to register!

Contact Ryan Ginn to register: soilgrower@gmail.com

11 thoughts on “Women’s Natural Building Intensive Workshop”

  1. Owen, I do plan to do what you have recommended. We have a nice place up the hill here where I thought it would be nice to put in a bench. Will make it with a corner for the simple experience and will also put in 2′ gravel base and bags, we have clay here and when the snow melts it gets quite wet. Maybe this is also my opportunity to try out some earthen plasters. All the good info in your book and another one, plus this blog, I think we can do this fairly easily. But a house is a more complex thing to build, I have concerns about just much time the County will take to actually accept the engineered plans, they seem open to the prospect, but I suspect it may be longer than I am currently prepared for. I need to make some phone calls, and the building site is 450 miles away, so organization is what I am working upon and coordination. And YES, this is in CA, Merced County, which says they are open to alternative building, but have only experienced straw bale and maybe adobe. How much do I need to educate my local inspector? (He’s a nice guy and I’ve offered to loan him materials so he has a clue on this topic). I really am concerned about not knowing enough about the earthen plasters. Need to play with it a bit.

    • Print this for the building officials: https://naturalbuildingblog.siterubix.com/reinforced-earthbag-specifications/

      You’ll notice the method above is much stronger than normal earthbag walls. All the extra rebar and concrete is required to meet code. The extra materials, labor and engineering fees will skyrocket costs. The simple low cost methods I prefer are not accepted by code. You’d have to move to an area with few or no codes to use the low tech methods.

      An engineering firm such as Structure1.com will ensure acceptance by code officials. No problems (if you can afford it).

  2. I think this is worth the money, and is not far from me. However, since I must have an engineered plan, I need to save my $$ for that expense. Note that this is specifically geared toward women who do not have the same levels of physical strength as men, thus I assume they can show students some clever ways that they can use levers or ingenuity to do the heavy things required that are harder for most ladies than for men. I have written them asking if they have a volunteer request board, I am happy to help someone and learn at the same time, I am also thinking that a weekend would be a better time-frame (i.e. more affordable). Biggest drawback for me besides the money is that I want to learn about earthbag, not strawbale.

  3. Workshop instructors are entitled to be paid. They have costs, give of their time, fly in from somewhere and have prepared lessons. They make a living teaching and should be paid. The workshop site prepared for the event, housing, food, showers, power, making you as comfortable as possible… It all adds up. Nothing is free. Free labor, by unskilled labor is no bargain.

    • Obviously, good teachers can enhance the learning process. For those who can’t afford it, free barn-raising type workshops are very common. Show up to help and usually you’ll be provided a free lunch.

  4. The best way to beat the high cost of building and mortgages is to hold seminars and webcasts and slap together a shoddy shed as a paid lesson in how they can beat the high cost of building and mortgages.

    The very young and the very old and the very impressionable are being sucked into this scam, the same as they are sucked into other scams.

    The “retreat” or “empowerment” emphasis of these seminars also is designed to make the individual feel a part of something larger and greater than what it actually is.

    • There are different types of learners. Some can just read a book. Some prefer videos. Some prefer classroom setting. Some learn best hands-on. Different strokes for different folks.

      I encourage people to build a small, simple structure such as a storage shed. Use it as a learning opportunity to practice new techniques. Often times there’s a mental block that can be overcome by just jumping into a small project like this. Or similarly, you could build a demonstration corner with earthbags or bales. That wouldn’t cost anything extra if you reuse the materials on your house.

  5. I appreciate having a class like this BUT, I seem to always have a problem with the cost of them. My thought on such training would be to build your home/studio/etc. and use the students to do it. It would accomplish two objectives. They would learn how to do it while you’ll have the free labor. Maybe I’m expecting too much but, it seems plausible to me. Am I wrong for thinking this?

    • Some people still do old fashioned ‘barn raisings’ as you describe. Some people might prefer having skilled trainers and more structured training with whiteboard lessons, slideshows, etc.


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