Introduction to Natural Building

2024 Canelo Workshop

Introduction to
Natural Building

Taught by Danielle Felgenhauer and Nicolas Avalos


  • Monday, November 11, 2024
  • Thursday, November 14, 2024
  • 06:00 PM
  • 05:00 PM


  • Canelo Project , ARIZONA


  • $ 450 inc. all meals

Introduction to Natural Building

Taught by Danielle Felgenhauer and Nicolas Avalos

Immerse yourself in the art and science of natural building with our hands-on, three-day workshop. This introductory course is perfect for anyone interested in sustainable construction methods, whether you’re a complete novice or looking to deepen your knowledge.

Over the course of three days, you’ll learn the foundational techniques of natural building:

  • Adobe Making and Laying: Discover the traditional method of creating adobe bricks using a mixture of earth, water, and straw. Learn how to properly form, dry, and lay these sturdy bricks to construct walls that are both environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cob: We will explore the versatile world of cob, a mixture of subsoil, water, some kind of fibrous organic material (typically straw). You’ll practice mixing and sculpting cob by hand to create structures that are durable and have excellent thermal properties.
  • Wattle and Daub: We will dive into this ancient technique that involves weaving a lattice of wooden strips or bamboo (wattle) and covering it with a sticky material (daub) made from soil, clay, sand, and straw. This method provides a fascinating insight into historic building practices and their modern-day applications.

We will also be touching on a basic earthen plaster:

  • Basic Earthen Plaster: Learn the fundamentals of earthen plaster, a beautiful and sustainable finish for natural buildings. We’ll cover the preparation of the mix, application techniques, and how to achieve a smooth, durable surface.

Throughout the workshop, you’ll engage in practical, hands-on activities working on different existing structures we have on site. Gain the confidence and skills to start your own natural building projects, and connect with like-minded individuals passionate about sustainability and craftsmanship.

Register Now to secure your spot in this transformative workshop. Spaces are limited to ensure a personalized experience for each participant. Join us and take the first step towards building a sustainable future with natural materials.

Consider signing up for the two-days Earthen Pizza Oven workshop taking place immediately before this workshop on November 8-10 with Benito Steen.

  • Dates: This course begins with orientation and dinner Monday evening and ends Thursday 5pm, with a dinner and breakfast following morning provided. 
  • Meals: all meals are included in the workshop price.
  • Accommodations: Camping and bunkroom beds are available and included in the workshop price. We have a few private rooms available for an extra cost.

Workshop Syllabus


Nicolas Avalos is a dedicated builder with a background in civil engineering, specializing in natural and alternative building methods. 

Passionate about fostering a deeper connection with our environment, Nico empowers owner-builders to utilize natural, healthy, and locally sourced materials in their construction projects. 

For the last six years he has been dedicating himself to deepening this knowledge in Europe and Central and North America, promoting environmentally conscious building practices that harmonize with the natural world.

Danielle Felgenhauer is an artist and builder with a passion for creating with natural materials. With a background in fine arts and geography, her journey has been an exploration of the relationship between people and their environment.

Art isn’t just about expression; it’s a profound connection to the world around us. Believing that working with local materials is a poetic way to delve into our relationship with the earth, Dani finds joy in the knowledge that every creation crafted from clay will eventually return to its origins.

Over the past five years, Dani has immersed herself in different forms of natural building, deepening her appreciation for sustainable practices and the beauty of using earth-based materials. Now, she is excited to share her knowledge and passion with others.

See a visual overview of Natural Building techniques taught in this class