Touching Earth: Natural Building Workshop in Colorado

Date/Time: Sep 19, 2022 - Sep 23, 2022, all day
Location: Earthville Institute, Colorado

Touching Earth

What: Hands-on training workshop

Topic: Earthen building techniques, including adobe, earthen plasters, and more

When: September 19-23, 2022

Where: Windhorse Village (approximately 40 minutes west of Durango, Colorado, USA)

Language: English (with translation to and from other languages if required)

Facilitators: Mark Moore, Daphne Charles, James Simmons, Anya Chang-DePuy

Description: A five-day residential workshop-retreat exploring earthen building techniques and our connection to nature. Touching Earth will provide opportunities to learn and practice some of the foundational skills of earthen building and contemplate living in harmony with nature while enjoying a healthy and sustainable lifestyle in a beautiful part of Colorado.

Hands-on learning projects will include:

  • Applying clay plaster to the interior straw bale walls of our new studio building (see below)
  • Making a traditional earthen floor (using mud and cow dung)
  • Making traditional adobe bricks (sun-dried blocks made of clay and a bit of straw)
  • Creating optimal mud mixes for all of these applications (plasters, floors, bricks and mortar), including DIY soil testing, harvesting, sieving, pugging (mixing), preparing, and testing the mixes.

Other possible hands-on projects if there is interest and time after completing the main work:

  • Exploring the basics of earthen masonry — how to build an adobe wall — including best practices, bond patterns, etc.
  • Doing some of the clay work for a large solar cooker (inspired by the design of the solar cooker at our center in the Himalayas).

The hands-on work will be enriched by discussions, presentations, and other activities to provide greater depth and breadth of knowledge, including discussions of best practices for all of the above activities, and why each of them matters.

  • A presentation on earth as a building material, including both the science of how earth holds together as a building material, and the art of earthen building as explored through a slideshow discussion of earthen architecture around the world (including our eco-campus in the Himalayas).
  • An overview of other earthen building materials and techniques, with a look at the pros and cons of each, and how to evaluate the best materials and methods to use in your own unique situation.
  • Daily morning yoga and meditation practice to ground into our earth body, restore balance and vitality.
  • Discussions exploring our connection with the Earth, and with nature more generally, and how we cultivate a deeper sense of connectedness with nature in a cultural context that has lost most of that wisdom.
  • Meditative nature walks and other opportunities to observe the earth in the context of the site and discuss what we observe.

All of the above activities together will provide a well-balanced integration of theory and practice, will empower participants with basic skills and important sensitivities, and will provide a good foundation for further explorations (whether those might be with us or elsewhere).


For details and registration, see this page.