Cob Building has the potential to help heal the cultural wounds that has distanced us from the most important of our human needs; Shelter Building. Cob Therapy helps connect people with their creative nature, helps people see how interwoven their well being is with the physical spaces we inhabit, creating community with muddy hands, developing building skills we believe are innate, all while connecting to the story of each material used in a project, and unleashing our inner child to tap into the wisdom of our wild human ancestry.
What is "cob"?
"Cob" is a Welsh word that translates to "lump of mud", and is made up of well-mixed clay (or clay sub-soil), sand, straw and water. Traditionally cob was used to build thick-walled earthen structures, the straw in each lump of mud "woven" by hand into the mud lump beneath it. Adobe, a building style that uses cured clay bricks, differs from cob, in that a cob wall is one solid mass containing no joints. Cob Therapy uses cob for a variety of purposes--homes and buildings, ovens, north facing greenhouse walls, floors, interior pony walls...the list goes on. With proper protection from the elements, as well as occasional maintenance, cob structures have stood the test of time across the globe.
And in case you were still wondering: No. The type of cob we are talking about has no relation whatsoever to corn.
Natural materials like earth, stone and wood are not only non-toxic, they are Life Enhancing. They promote comfort and psychological well being in our living spaces; they help to lessen our environmental impact, improve the durability of our homes, and empower homeowners and builders to be self-reliant.
Earth has been used as a building material on every continent, in nearly every part of human history because of its versatility, availability and functionality. There is a very therapeutic aspect to touching earth with our bare skin. As many of us are so far removed from this element in our modern lives; in a workshop setting or any build project, we repeatedly witness the "therapy" that cob offers builders-earth is energizing, detoxifying, strengthening, and an excellent community builder.
Stone is one of our favorite building materials available in the "supernatural market". These are million-year-aged nature-made bricks! Incredibly strong, and if pieced together properly, stone can be the most solid and attractive foundation there is. Stone is our favorite material to use when building a stem wall-- when we are creating the transition between the ground and the cob, in order to protect the cob's "feet". As SunRay Kelley says, "With a good hat and good boots, cob will last forever."
Stone works >
We strive to use wind fallen wood or trees that we consciously cut to improve the health of a forest. Rough cut, wild edged, non-industrialized wood is beautiful and has a smaller carbon footprint. Our vision is rooted in sensibility as well, using recycled or discarded lumber when appropriate. In the above photo, pictured are natural curved branches, which are infinitely stronger than straight dimensional lumber found at the store, not to mention the whimsical curves they create visually.
Wood works >