We were excited about hosting the ecological construction workshop of this year two weeks ago. Participants arrived from many parts of the world: France, Germany, USA, Hungary, Belgium and the Netherlands. During the two week workshop they had the chance to learn about cob building in a natural environment, close to the Apuseni Natural Park, surrounded by hills, forests and mountains. They learned how to look for natural materials that are renewable and that all around us, we just don’t notice them. While some had experience in ecological construction already, many of them learned a lot of things through a more practical get-your-hands-dirty experience, and for them the workshop was the beginning of a new view on earth, and a chance to do something practical and usable. For many it was just the next step towards a better future and leaning more about a sustainable lifestyle that they want to pursue.
Activities included plastering, building clay walls, isolating them, and all the little tricks and details in between. They enjoyed mixing clay and making adobe bricks, experimenting with colors, natural paints, and various techniques of natural eco construction. Attenders also had the chance to use old colorful bottles we recycled into the earth walls, that look beautiful when the light shines through their green hue.
During this workshop participants had a lot of practical hands on work. This way they could experience the difficulties and the feeling of working with clay, to see how many people it takes to finish a wall and how much time. This was essential to show a realistic approach to cob building.
Making something with your own hands is a special experience, and so it is to live in a house that you have built with your own hands. Such a house can feel very close to you since you give a part of yourself and your dream when you build it. Ecological building is more personal than any other architecture. Living in such a house doesn’t even compare with moving into a place that was made to the likeness of millions or apartments, built without feeling. Many people believe that they cannot do a lot of things on their own, but when they try it they realize the enjoyment it brings, such as the participants of this workshop did.
Those who attended the workshop can now use the techniques learned here in the future as well to build something natural and beautiful of their own, made by their own hands to admire for a lifetime. We need to convince more people around us that you need to try to do more things on our own and instead of buying everything we can become more sustainable. Even when it comes to the smallest things, we can begin somewhere to create and to build our dreams, to make them come alive. Sometimes all we need is just some earth and water.
It was a pleasure to learn this expression in the settings of a beautiful mountains at The Organic Art Ranch.
Olivier and Camille from Bordeaux (France)
Sofie from Gent (Belgium)