It has been a busy spring and summer of natural building and I feel fortunate to have so much to share! I’ve been trying to come up with an inspirational narrative for this post, but it’s been months and I finally realized that waiting for inspiration has clearly turned to procrastination. So lets get on with the update:

Greg Allen and I instructed a series of natural building workshops again. The season began with a natural plaster course at Pickard’s Mountain Eco-Institute in Chapel Hill. It’s always a joy to return to Meg and Tim’s beautiful sustainability learning center where we built our first cob building years ago.

It was exciting to host the inaugural run of courses at Greg’s Mud Dauber School of Natural Building with a 7-day cob immersion and a 9-day straw bale and plaster course. The workshops were both very successful in regards of the building accomplished, friendships formed, and learning/teaching happening in all directions. I learn so much from each workshop group, and always leave a workshop so inspired by the energy, ideas, and diverse personalities of the group.


The Oak Tree Collective had another great year building in Planet Roo at the Bonnaroo music festival. Our priority was improving pieces we’ve built over the years, including finishing the straw bale post office with a natural lime plaster. Lime plaster offers a dramatic visual change from the red clay finish that festival attendees have come to know and love, but will provide superior weather resistance in the sometimes stormy, open festival grounds. We left the lime a natural white color, but will likely tint the building with a pigmented lime wash in the future.

Here is the Oak Tree Collective looking good and happy on one of our last tasks before the festival opening, refreshing the oak shade pergola with new green bamboo.


I’m excited to share more of what I’ve been up to, including a round timber and straw clay cabin/greenhouse that I built in rural North Carolina. Also my current activity of lime plastering an owner-built strawbale house in upstate NY. Check back soon, it won’t be so long again!