After the 8th CruzinCobGlobal international cob workshop and our 4th one in Senegal, I am starting to see some trends that make me happy about the work I am doing. One is the family feeling, friendships and love that develops when a group of people bound by an interest in doing the right thing for the Planet and the People come together to learn and build a Soulful structure. Even more so when that group consists of individuals of various cultural origins who may not even share a common verbal language. It is a real “high” to be a part of and to watch. Something about touching and working with the Earth dissolves barriers and inhibitions. We come from CLAY, ARCILLA, BAN, L’ARGILE, ARGILHA and water and, like clay, we breathe and absorb and release water through our pores. As we age our skin gets drier and we develop more wrinkles like cracks in clay.
Secondly, one of my favorite times during cob workshops is when the sculpting begins. Some people get very excited and anxious to see their creations come to life on the walls, and others become scared and insecure about their sculpting skills. In the end all kinds of beautiful surprises arise and often the ones who affirmed that they were not artists and would not be able to contribute anything worthwhile, produce the most amazing wall beauty. There is a yummy feeling in the sensual act of sculpting clay. A total freedom to express ourselves simply and easily. Our inner artist and inner child come out to play and there are no rules. Even myself, I am proud of the bas-relief art I adorned my walls with in Santa Cruz. I love to see how entranced the students become as they spend endless hours detailing and refining their work.
Thirdly I love the interaction of passers-by and their growing interest and appreciation with each day of work. They become part of the family as they are our fan base, noticing and applauding the growing building.
Fourth, when the plaster goes on and the building’s finished look begins appearing and the end is in sight….EVERYONE smiles! The physical relief of having finished the grunt work of the walls and transitioning to the lightness of the trowelling and detail work, especially using the plastic trowels, is one of the well-earned just desserts Over and over again these phases repeat themselves from workshop to workshop, country to country, people to people.
Cob building is hard physical work that everyone has in them to carry out, no matter the degree. Seeing the daily progress at the end of the day and the next morning keeps us going to the top, little by little. But truly, the most special part of this type of construction is its feeling of health, simplicity, honesty, community and pride. The large delicious lunches, the music on the site, the laughter and conversation, the mutual support and the universal access by all everywhere are what make this building art so attractive and keep our cob workshops happening. Can’t wait for the new experiences and new friends awaiting us in Cabo Verde in May and August….