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

Straw Bale Workshop, East Sussex, UK.

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

A  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:
12th – 16th May. cost: £325

followed by
A 5 day In-depth clay plastering and carving, the artistry of clay workshop.
18-23 May 2018.
cost:295 (discounts are available if the workshops are combined.)

Taught by architect and author Paulina Wojciechowska.

This workshop is a wonderful opportunity to gain hands-on experience of constructing and plastering a straw bale building.

The straw bale workshop will be held in a lovely farming field set in rolling english countryside on the otskirts of the village of Forest Row, 30 minutes drive from London Gatwick airport.

What You Will Learn

Setting out of the building, making foundations and walls and plastering. 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)

  • Setting out and foundations
  • 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 small building which will be used for storage. Theory lessons on some days will back up the practical skills learned and provide the opportunity for more detailed questions to be answered.

In-Depth Clay Plastering and carving, the artistry of clay Workshop (5 days)

There is an opportunity to stay on for a further six days, working on an existing straw bale structure to gain a more in depth, hands on experience of a wide range of clay plastering techniques, including:

  • Sculpting with the second straw clay based plaster layer,
  • making your own wooden trowels
  • Preparation and application of the final smooth layer of plaster.
  • Types of smooth plasters, including those that are prepared with and without lime.
  • Application of plaster with a natural plant based stabiliser such as wheat paste.
  • Experimenting with and undestanding how to mix different plasters and stabilisers.
  • 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.
  • Mostly hands on but some theory lessons.

Book Your Place

The workshop prices are:

Five day Straw Bale Workshop UK:
£325 per person..

Six day In-Depth plastering carving Clay Plastering Workshop:
£295 per person.

Discounts are available if the workshops are combined.

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: earthhands@gmail.com or
call Paulina on (+44) 7787918184.

About your Workshop Leader

The workshop will be lead by Earth, Hands and Houses founder Paulina Wojciechowska, a qualified architect who has over 18 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/Vegan food will be available at an additional cost of £10/day, 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 Weir Wood, Forest Row , which is a 30 minute drive south of London Gatwick airport. You may camp at the farm for £5/day.

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

Workshop Timing

The Straw Bale workshop will run between 9.30am-5.30pm Each day.  The plastering workshop will start at 12noon on the first day and finishing after lunch on the last day.

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: