“That sounds like a hell of a lot more fun. Let’s start laughing, drawing blueprints, gathering our talented friends…You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy. Mix them, mix them!” -Hafiz
Mix them, happy cobbers! My path to natural building and specifically cob construction has been a happy mix–blending my background as a project manager in high end residential construction in New York City to dancing in the mud across continents! While working in my family company, J.F. Roesemann Builders Inc., I began extracurricular studies in natural building techniques–superadobe, earthships, and cob–to increase my knowledge in my field and explore practices that closer matched my personal lifestyle. These building traditions seemed to make a lot of sense to me, blending ancient techniques with new technologies. I soon realized when you find yourself reading textbooks on construction methodology and practice–it’s time to get into the mix! Connecting with Claudine I was fortunate to join her on a month long build with cob, learning, laughing, and building with a group of talented (international) friends.
Working in a traditional construction setting, as both the only woman and also the youngest on site, was a personal challenge to find a balance between my masculine and feminine sides. The masculine dominant workplace fed my macho side, challenging me to be tough, deject emotions, and be firm. After work hours I could sway, decorate, create instead of build, dance and soften. In New York City living, the duality of our personalities are often separated by time tables–‘at work’ or ‘at play.’ It is clear to me that this separation is not what I want, need, or desire from my work but to created a unity between work and play, masculine and feminine, concept and creation.
This balance I seek was clearly displayed to me while cobbing with Cruzin Cob Global. The masculine side of heavy construction, solid walls, firm foundations blended with the feminine side of the malleability of the material, spontaneity and sculptability in design. While gathering with friends of all ages, sizes, backgrounds, and sexes we all have equal play and poise in the creation of a beautiful earthen building–unifying a community and unifying ourselves.
VIVA HANSEN, CruzinCobGlobal Instructor
I’ve always loved playing in the mud, but never found a way to help anyone or make money doing it. Until I met my mother. At a young age she was constantly and suspiciously using all the mud I played with to build her house. Her cob house. That’s when I put two and two together.Ever since then I’ve danced with my love of dirt. When I’m not putting it on my face, I’m usually building a wall or a bench with it, helping Claudine shmangle together another unique dwelling space. Every person building with cob becomes an artist, as anyone lucky enough to live between natural walls enjoys a peaceful union with the earth. Every house I can help grow prepares me for the lucky day I get to build my own home with friends and family. I hope I live to see cob building become the norm.
Mudd Bums, Santa Cruz, CA
“There is something both spiritual and carnal in the act of creation. Whether it be a physical task brought forth by want or need, an artistic endeavor, or even the ultimate action of creation; that of life itself. To me cob embodies each of these. It was through a seven day cob intensive that my appreciation and knowledge of this ancient technique of creation began. With Claudine as our teacher and guide, our group came together as strangers.
During the week we worked together to help create a young family’s new home. Their needs providing our group with the opportunity to learn and co-create. As we worked we shared our lives, and as beautiful walls of
earth were raised around us, strangers became friends. The properties of cob lent itself to personal, artistic expression. Slowly pieces of broken tile began to form a dragon mosaic, and vines and flowers began to appear along the walls. It was as if the space was alive, and in fact it was. By sharing our desires and learning of each others’ adversities, I began to realize the implications of how we surround ourselves as a society. The toxicity of a conventionally built home is staggering for all of us, and for those countless individuals with severe allergies and health issues finding a home that they can be comfortable in is nearly impossible. Mortgages and costs of building are beyond extravagant, and culturally we have taken the homeowner completely out of the creation process… with exception to their checkbooks of course. I see the creation of natural living spaces is a reevaluation of our priorities as a society and giving power back to people. It is both healthy for us and for the Earth on which we are so privileged to live. And for ANYONE to be an integral part of creating their own healthy, natural, and conscientious space… that to me is the power of cob. It is what keeps me wanting to facilitate this magnificent technique to anyone willing to learn and grow.”