Monday, August 11, 2008

Natural Building Colloquium New York State 2008

This is my second year attending the colloquium. I will continue going each year until there's no more oil to get me there. And then maybe I'll ride a horse. Or something.

I followed Laura Bartels around like a little puppy while she shared her vast plastering knowledge with us. Working mostly on the guest cabin, I earthen plastered over lathe, did second coat plaster over first coat, and did a very strawy exterior plaster over which cladding will be installed. I also paid close attention while Joshua Klyber led us through the basics of clay- and lime-based paints. I think I'm ready to get plastering at my own house, if I can find a proper source of sand here in the big city.

Highlights of the trip included:
  • Blowing a tire on the trailer and learning how to replace it with my new friend Kylie
  • The lighting of the sacred fire that burned for the week
  • Sunrise ceremonies and drumming circles
  • The strawbale/sod surround muffling the noise of the generator (thank you, Frank)
  • Spending lots of time making and applying plaster, and watching how it changed the look and feel of the guest cabin
  • Ed Raduazo's bamboo basket playhouse for kids
  • Watching Sarah Highland gently and expertly guide participants into the heretofore rarified world of timberframing
  • Checking out the ceremonial building and watching it get a new green roof
  • Walking around the Peaceweaver farm, marvelling at the land and the things growing on it
  • How the dragon oven was replaced, first with a boob, and then with a sea turtle, through the whimsical talents of Sunray Kelly
  • The creation of a strawbale spiral structure, meant to house a solar shower
  • Singing with Deanne Bednar, whose excellent harmonies belie her expertise as thatcher, cobber and illustrator
  • Watching Joe Jenkins and his son Orion lead attendees in transforming the roof of the oven into a slate masterpiece
  • Meeting and working with people of such generosity and curiosity, spending time with friends new and old
  • Singing with Frank, especially contributing harmonies to his signature tune "I like to pee outside"
  • Knitting, dancing, wrestling, eating, exploring hug technology, swimming in the pond, singing singing singing
  • Playing guitar while Janice played banjo and Kevin played more guitar
  • Participating in the timberframe raising
  • A double-ended hug circle; innovation!
I consider this event to be an essential part of my year, in how it enhances my knowledge and experience, how it nurtures my optimism, and how it reliably connects me to people of like mind and understanding. And how it allows me to not cook for an entire week.

1 comment:

Chelle Girl said...

Wow, amazing, sorry I missed it. How did the plastering over Lathe go? What did you use?