Paulina's first straw bale house, built in 2000 by the shore of Lake Hancza, Eastern Poland.

Straw Bale Workshop UK

A similar straw bale structure we made at our Turkey workshop in October.

A similar, but larger straw bale structure we made at our Turkey workshop in October 2013.

Clay plastering the joints between bales...

Clay plastering the joints between bales…

Having fun in the sun...

Having fun in the sun…

The walls take shape... clay plastering the bale walls.

The walls take shape… clay plastering the bale walls.

Earth, Hands and Houses Straw Bale Workshop Leader, Paulina Wojciechowska

Building with earth: Paulina and her passion…

People having fun at a Clay Plastering Workshop run by Earth, Hands and Houses.

Workshops are always lots of fun!

A five day Straw Bale and Clay Plastering Workshop
Tuesday 18th – Saturday 22nd August.

followed by
A 3 day In-depth Clay Plaster Techniques Workshop
Sunday 23rd – Tuesday 25th August 2015.

Taught by architect and author Paulina Wojciechowska, and Antony Dennis.

This workshop is a wonderful opportunity to gain hands-on experience of constructing and plastering a real straw bale building that will be used for visitor accommodation.

The straw bale workshop will be held in a lovely farm set in rolling english countryside 15 minutes drive from London Gatwick airport. Paulina has designed a dream home which will be built from natural materials at the workshop site of Oaklands Farm over the next two years.

What You Will Learn

Hands-on experience of all the stages in straw bale wall construction, and an introduction to the plastering of a real structure:

Straw Bale Workshop UK (5 days)

  • Raising straw bale walls
  • How to tie the straw bale walls together
  • Making a wall plate and compressing a wall
  • Installation of door and window frames
  • Managing the use of bales to maintain wall strength
  • Recognizing the clay found on our land and understanding how to use it for building
  • Preparation and application of the first 2 coats of clay plaster onto the straw bale wall

This straw bale workshop will be mainly hands-on, working on a 5 x 3 metre building which will be used for visitor accommodation at Oaklands Farm. Theory lessons on each day will back up the practical skills learned and provide the opportunity for more detailed questions to be answered.

In-Depth Clay Plastering Workshop (3 days)

There is an opportunity to stay on for a further three days to gain an in depth, hands on experience of a wide range of clay plastering techniques, including:

  • Sculpting with the second straw clay based plaster layer.
  • Preparation and application of the final smooth layer of plaster.
  • Types of smooth plasters, including those that are prepared with and without lime.
  • Experimenting with different types of natural plant based stabilisers, for example wheat paste and cactus.
  • Experimenting with and undestanding how to mix different plasters and stabilisers.
  • Application of smooth finishing plaster onto a conventionally built, concrete or brick wall.
  • The different methods of applying smooth plasters to a wall.
  • An introduction to carving techniques of smooth plasters.
  • Mixing and application of clay paints
  • Use of straw and clay as insulation.
  • An introduction to clay plaster mixes used in cob ovens and earthen floors.

Book Your Place

The workshop prices are:

Five day Straw Bale Workshop UK:
£230 per person, or £195 if booked by 1st July 2015.

Three day In-Depth Clay Plastering Workshop:
£150 per person.

Numbers on the workshop will be limited to ensure a good learning experience, and we are expecting the allocated places to fill up before the workshop begins.

To book your place
email or
call Antony on (+44) 7812 070413.

About your Workshop Leader

The workshop will be lead by Earth, Hands and Houses founder Paulina Wojciechowska, a qualified architect who has over 17 years of experience building with straw bales and  earthbags in communities all around the world. Paulina worked alongside leading straw bale and clay plaster veterans Bill and Athena Steen in 1997-8 and has been involved in running straw bale workshops and designing and building straw bale structures since then. Click here to hear Paulina talk about her experiences.

Food, Location, Accommodation

Vegetarian food will be available at an additional cost, payable upon arrival. The food will comprise a self service breakfast, full cooked lunchtime meal, and a light supper.

The straw bale workshop UK will be held at Oaklands Farm, which is a 15 minute drive south of London Gatwick airport. You may camp at the farm for free.

Click here for more details of the camping facilities, maps, travel information and other accommodation available.

Workshop Timing

The Straw Bale workshop UK will run the following times:

  • 18 Aug: from 10:00 to 18:00. You are welcome to arrive on the afternoon of 17 August to set up camp and settle in before the workshop begins.
  • 19-21 Aug: from 09:00 to 17:00.
  • 22 Aug: from 09:00 to 16:00.

The following clay plastering workshop will run:

  • 23 Aug: from 11:00 to 18:00.
  • 24 Aug: from 09:00 to 17:00.
  • 25 Aug: from 09:00 to 16:00.

But there is more…

This will be more than just a straw bale workshop – it will be a wonderful opportunity to enjoy learning and relaxing amongst like minded people, some who may become your friends for life!

Learn more…

Hear Paulina talk about her experience and vision for Earth, Hands and Houses:


Watch people’s experience of an Earth, Hands and Houses straw bale and clay plastering workshop: