Walls of Earth: Natural Building
2023 Canelo Workshop
Walls of Earth:
"Buildings, too are children of Earth and Sun."
— Frank Lloyd Wright
Walls of Earth Workshop
Come and learn a range of natural-building techniques with us. This is a great introduction to earthen-wall building with tons of hand-on experience. It is perfect for beginners or people with some experience wanting to expand their skills.
We plan to use natural building techniques to build a new passive solar greenhouse and pizza oven. Please note these structures may not be fully completed in this workshop.
It will cover a broad understanding of the world of natural building, giving you the confidence to start something on your own, be it a small backyard project or basic earthen walls for your house.
We will be covering a range of different techniques for earthen wall building including:
- Adobe and straw-clay bricks
- Wattle-and-daub walls
- Rammed earth
- Stone foundations
- Earthen finishes
We will take a close look at these materials and how you might source them in your local area. A large element of this workshop will include processing and refining materials to give you an understanding of the mixes. It will be very hands-on so be ready to get muddy!
Sign up for our mailing list to get notified when registrations open.
- Dates: This course begins with orientation and dinner Thursday evening and ends Tuesday 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.
Read more on our General Workshop Info.
- Arrival previous evening, Oct 19, 7pm introduction and dinner
- Oct 20- Introduction to mud building
- Making adobes and mix cob
- Building cob for pizza oven
- Looking at stone foundations
- Introduction to earthen walls and mortar
- Continue cob
- Mixing adobe mortar
- Adobe laying
- Introduction to wattle and daub
- Making bamboo wattle and mixing daub
- Canelo Site tour
- Applying daub to walls
- Introduction to plastering and finishes
- Base coat plastering
- Course ends at 5pm – dinner provided that evening and breakfast the following morning
Instructors: Benito and Arjuna Steen
Brothers, Benito and Arjuna (Oso) were born and raised in southeastern Arizona where their parents teach natural building. They come from a long lineage of artists and makers and grew up surrounded by people from around the world coming in with new skills and crafts every day.
Homeschooled, they both gravitated early on as teenagers towards the trades and arts such as: plastering, blacksmithing and woodworking.
Benito is a builder and artist, who strives to find the connection between space and beauty, shelter and nature, the hand and materials. He has taught natural building throughout Latin American and Southeast Asia. Always learning and experimenting he mixes old techniques with the new, to create beautifully sustainable and healthy houses.
Arjuna (Oso) is a master carpenter and woodworker. He has built several strawbale houses with natural plasters. He enjoys bringing innovative solutions to the all creative work he does.