Ceremonial Cob Roundhouse at “To The Trees Retreat” in Northern California (Pescadero)

Date(s) - Sunday, July 21, 2024 - Sunday, August 25, 2024


and see their story in detail because they will also be hosting their own cob workshop in Texas in September!


My Name is Nicole and my husband John and I have been tending this beautiful forested land in Pescadero for the last 12 years. Our forest is primarily a mix of oak and fir, but there are many other species as well. Our goal is to co-create a magical and restful spot in collaboration with Mother Nature that we can share in numerous ways with the community. I have no experience with cob but have been captivated by the idea of creating spaces directly from the land, so I’m very excited about this project. We live in a relatively small home on the property but have been developing a bathhouse from an old garage which will be finished on time for the workshop, so there will be a great spot to relax and rejuvenate after a long physical day. It has a large outdoor hot tub as well as a cold plunge, an outdoor shower and fire pit, and inside is a good sized infrared sauna and a great lounge.

Pescadero is a dream spot to explore with many wonderful hikes all within a few miles, and the beach is a 10 minute drive from the property. We are also fortunate to live in a community with many organic farms and ranches raising their animals in the best possible ways. There are several venues within a short drive that host live music every weekend, as well as elephant seals at Año Nuevo, redwoods at Butano State Park, and so much more to explore, so there will be no shortage of great weekend adventures!

One of my greatest passions is food and preparing food for friends, so I’m really looking forward to nourishing the cob team daily! If anyone is interested, I’ll always happily go down the rabbit hole about food and nutrition. I generally follow the tenants of Weston Price and ancestral foods. We own a natural foods store in town called The Sunshine. The website is thesunshinepescadero.love if you want to see what we’re about!

Lastly, John and I are both musicians, and have many musical friends, so we’re looking forward to many evenings of music, dance, and laughter. The structure we’re building will be used for medicinal musical gatherings primarily, with some other fun ceremonial gatherings sprinkled in. Looking forward to what I know will be a very magical time with our new cob family!




Playhouse workshop in Chattanooga, TN in July 2023

We will be building a 14m2/150ft2 cob ceremonial roundhouse for the farm where elders and other community members will perform rituals and spiritual work for healing and repairing the wounds and trauma sustained by individuals, communities, animals, vegetation and the Earth.  We especially invite non-White students who are curious or already interested and passionate about earthen construction to come learn the art and technique of cob building with CCG this summer.  We want a workshop that feels comfortable for non-white students, and in which white students are not the majority. CCG has taught in many countries of the world and our mission is to create access to everyone interested.  So please come and join the adventure.

The reciprocal roof we build in all of our workshops is the strongest roof there is due to its interlocking spiral structure. In addition it represents the horizontal social structure favored in indigenous societies for council circles and other gatherings.

Students in this Advanced Cobber Certification training will, as always, learn all the steps to building a complete cob building from scratch: digging the trench and building a stone foundation and pouring the floor in week 1, building the monolithic cob wall with all its detailed insertions in weeks 2 & 3, sculpting the wall in week 3, plastering in week 4, building the completed roof in weeks 4 & 5 and finishing the wall and the second floor coat at the end of week 5.




Finishing up Week 1 in the Azores workshop: Foundation & Floor!

The 35-day Advanced Cob Building Workshop consists of 25 days (Monday through Friday) of learning & construction for 4 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon with theoretical instruction (lectures with graphics) on most Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons to complement the hands-on experience.

Students arrive on Sunday between noon and 2pm and settle in. The workshop begins at 4pm with the Opening Circle followed by a Host Site Orientation and Introduction to the Project. Dinner is served at 6pm, and will be followed by an Introduction to the 5-week Workshop by Instructors Branden Denham and Daniel Wonsower.  Monday morning we begin digging the trench for our Cob Building!!!!

Instructor Paula Carneiro lectures on plaster mixes in North Carolina

Following Breakfast from 7:30-8:15am, the morning learning/building session begins at 8:30 am and lasts until 1pm with a 20-minute snack pause at 11am. Lunch break is from 1pm to 2:30pm, which includes a rest time before the 3-hour afternoon session begins. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there is a 60-minute lecture, followed by construction time. Tuesdays and Thursdays students begin building again right after the rest time. After class in the afternoon there is a 90-minute break before dinner (served from 7pm to 8pm), in which students are encouraged to stretch, do some type of relaxation/movement practice, go swimming, walking and just relax

Post-Lunch Lecture & Chill Time

There is sometimes a work trade student officially or informally leading yoga and movement practice in the mornings or afternoons (depending on student preference). There will also be 3-4 evenings (once a week) after dinner for showing slides,videos and having Course-related discussions. Other evenings are mostly free and sometimes students offer informal courses in their specialties and passions. Mondays are reserved for our weekly Council Circle, where we do a deeper sharing and listening to attend to the inner worlds of our students and staff during this intense experience.

Proud Graduates in the Azores!

On weekends students are free to explore the area, rest onsite, and even continue building, with Instructor approval.  All weekend meals are provided by students who can use the kitchen.  Host and other students can carpool into town for weekend food provisions.

The 35-day Course will offer practical learning by building a complete 15m2  curvilinear building from foundation to roof, as 
described in the “Project” section. Those who complete the 35-day Workshop will receive an Advanced Cobber Certificate of Completion for Foundation, Cob Walls (which includes Door, Windows, Shelves, Art, Electrical Housing & Plumbing preparation), Floor, Plaster & Roof.




The Advanced Cob Building Workshop begins on a Sunday at 4pm and ends on a Sunday, 5 weeks later, after the morning Closing Circle & Brunch. Students can arrive a day or two before to acclimate and settle in (please let us know) but will need to cover their own food
 needs unless a work trade is approved by Host (to be decided closer to the date).

The daily schedule (subject to slight modifications due to climate/time of year) will be:

7:30-8:15 Breakfast

8:30-1:00 Class

1:00-2:30 Lunch

2:30-5:30 Class (Lecture on MWF’s)

5:30-7:00 Rest/Yoga

7:00-8:00 Dinner

8:00-9:00 Slides/Videos/Discussion (once a week)

Students are expected to be on time and participate in all sessions and required activities as the goal of building a full construction depends on the whole group working together!





Students will learn every phase of building a cob building from foundation through the reciprocal roof in hands-on building and lectures/theory. In addition to the lectures,
slideshows and videos will be shown to support and enhance their understanding of cob materials, cob building, design, geography, budgeting, business options and legal issues.

Our hands-on practice will include:

digging foundation trench
pouring gravel and inserting drainage pipe (if applicable)
building foundation stemwall
analyzing soils and materials
making test bricks
deciding on correct mixture
deciding on best location
making cob w/ partner and solo
building with cob
preparing and inserting the door
preparing and inserting fixed and opening windows
preparing and inserting shelves
inserting bottle windows, glass and other objects
inserting electrical housing and outlet/switch boxes (when applicable)*
insert PVC pipe for plumbing in walls (when applicable)*
preparing and applying earthen plaster (1 coat)
pouring an earthen floor (2 coats)
preparing walls for roof connection
building reciprocal roof frame
putting on roof sheathing and other elements
installing green roof
making small-scale cob designs of future projects, time permitting

In addition to Cob Building practices, the Course material
also includes:

legal cob construction practices & the international cob code (Appendix AU in the IRC)
cost analysis
creating a cob business (building/teaching)
assisting, interning and teaching with CruzinCobGlobal

*While the insertion of electrical housing and one or more outlet/switch boxes and PVC pipes to hold plumbing are always included in the workshops, the simplicity or complexity depends on the host’s design and preferences. There will be no electrical wiring or plumbing pipes installed during workshop. That is beyond the focus of this course and requires professional experience and certification/licensing.





Students will need to come prepared for demanding physical work from Day 1.

This includes bringing:

Work clothes appropriate for the country and climate we are in
Work boots or other closed-toe shoes (for foundation and roof)
Flip-flops (for cobbing/plaster days)
Rubber dishwashing gloves (for lime mortar)
Work Gloves (for stone work)
Tape Measure
Box Cutter
Wood Hand Saw (cheap)*
Level (2ft)*
Japanese plastering trowel(s) (email:goldhillclayplaster@gmail.com)
Ear Plugs (roof week)
Wood Chisel*
4”-6” Diameter Round Plastic Container Lids (for plastering)
Good Moisturizer
Water Bottle
Safety Glasses
Carpenter Pencil & Sharpener
Sample of your Soil (optional)

Any other power tools like skilsaw, grinder wth metal blade, cordless drill, chop saw…will be very welcome if you are driving in.

*These tools will be very helpful to bring if you can, to minimize sharing and waiting, but if you can’t the Host will provide them of course.





The dessert after the hard work of building the wall

These workshops are designed for people that want to learn how to build a complete structure from start to finish in a professional manner and amount of time. They are very intensive and, while we make time for yoga, stretching, dancing, music, relaxing….all students are expected to be present and participating in all building/learning hours unless ill or have some other significant reason. This is because we design the size of the building
 and organize the structure of the workshop in accordance with the number of students and when people are absent it impacts the whole group and the other students have to work harder. In addition Instructors try to set up building work according to students’ preferences and learning needs.

Drawn by Vishnu Vardhan in our Chattanooga wkshp

That being said, the workshop intensity also changes from week 1 to week 5. The first foundation week breaks people in with the work of moving, lifting, rolling and placing rocks and is a new and demanding physical experience for most students. It also includes 
the first layers and coat of cob floor. The second week and part of the third week of cob making and building are similar to the rock foundation week in physical demand but are more flowing and active in movement and cardiovascular exercise. On Thursday & Friday of week 3, the workshop takes a turn and slows down and the body can rest as students tap into their creative source now  and design and sculpt the walls and around niches, shelves, windows, etc.  This is a very special rewarding experience and time of the workshop, decorating the walls with visual beauty and meaning as expressed by each unique student.  Usually there is an overarching theme decided on by Host(s).

Naima enjoying the Japanese plaster trowel work to add the first coat

Plastering follows sculpting and is also an enjoyable more lightweight physical experience that lends itself to talking and sharing at the wall in a meditative rhythm as the students have bonded and shared deeply through a variety of experiences for a month. On day 5 of week 4, the roof begins.  This part is the beginning of a change of pace from the earthen building work to carpentry skills, power tools, drilling, hammering, screwing, trimming, etc. But now the workshop is in its final stretch and there is a boost of energy to wrap up the roof, close the top of the wall, and tend to finishing touches….the grand finale.

For students wanting a more mellow slow-paced cob experience along with time for personal exploration and experimentation, these workshops are not for you. However you can find a more suitable workshop online with other organizations that are usually for a
shorter period building a garden wall, a bench, a compost toilet or some other smaller scale project.

Mock reciprocal roof to prepare for the real thing!

Students are required to read “The Hand-Sculpted House” before the workshop begins and any other books they find or listed on our Resources page, ideally on plastering and reciprocal roof building, as well as watching our “International Cob Workshop” videos on Claudine’s YouTube channel, the new educational YouTube series “Building a Mud Home” by Cooper Green, posted by Natural Buildings and created from our North Carolina workshop footage, and the ones posted on CruzinCobGlobal’s website under Gallery, to get an idea of what is expected. Also it is a great idea to watch as many other videos on cob and reciprocal roofs as you can to come mentally prepared. Please bring your book(s).

Alicia thrilled on Day 1: Foundation, in the Azores

Students must tend to their own personal needs, drink alot of water, rest when needed and exert themselves at a steady pace. Students who cannot do the strenuous physical work should let us know when registering so we can make sure the workshop is a good fit. If approved before the workshop begins, we can adjust appropriately. It is totally OK to come for the lecture/theory part, and sometimes help the building part in less physically
 demanding ways if you have physical limitations, ie cutting straw, sifting for plaster, hammering nails into frames or shelves, sculpting, plastering, cutting bottles. There is alot to do to support making and building with cob!!!!

Finally, please bring a watch or use your phone to be prompt and ready for each part of the Course including meals. Please make sure you share your dietary restrictions/allergies with CCG in your registration form. Note that very demanding dietary needs will not be
 able to be met (vegan & non-gluten ok) and those students may be recommended not to participate unless they are willing to meet their special needs on their own, which will

After-hours admiration!

not include kitchen access on weekdays. Please discuss with Claudine at time of desire to register. Also please bring your essential snacks and foods, pillow and whatever you NEED to be comfortable and happy. Feel free to also bring playlists, speaker, slides, videos,
movies and books to share, as well as a sample of your soil to test.

We look forward to opening you to a whole new world of experience, skill, growth and transformation as you bond with your new COB family for life!





Branden hails from the Big Island of Hawaii where he has enjoyed being a builder for his adult life and in 2022 took his first CCG Advanced Cobber workshop in Portugal followed by a second one in North Carolina.  He landed his first official Cob Job in the Azores building a double cottage with double reciprocal roof for a retreat center.

Branden comes with a decade of conventional building experience in both the residential and commercial industry. In the past six years his focus has been on communal building in various eco-villages and retreat centers around the world. With a long standing passion for Cob, and sustainable living, his mission is to help others build a relationship to their local resources. Ideally, this will bring people closer to their community, themselves and their environment. Empowering others is what drives him to teach and share the knowledge of what he’s gained throughout the years. Branden has a deep appreciation for watching others grow during workshops and comes willing, excited and prepared to guide students on their upcoming Cob journey. Currently, he is the lead builder for an off grid eco-village based on the Big Island of Hawaii, where he plans to hold Cob workshops in the near future.



Greetings, I am Daniel Wonsower. Born and raised in Fayetteville Arkansas, I was raised with a strong appreciation for the Ozark mountains and the bounty of natural resources that grow here. I have 5 years of residential construction/renovation experience, and have just recently begun my journey as a Natural Builder.  I took my first CCG Advanced Cobber Certification in Puerto Rico in 2024.  My recent experiences living and working in intentional community has become one of my best working experiences, and I’m excited for more!

This will be Daniel’s first workshop as Co-Instructor with Branden Denham in California. We are lucky to have him.




Indulging in the goodies at Closer to Fine workshop lunch break!

We will serve three meals a day from Monday through Friday including the Welcome and Celebration Dinners and Farewell Brunch.  Weekends students will be on their own for food and may use the onsite kitchen.  Meals will be vegetarian and locally-based as much as possible, including farm produce and eggs!

We will attend to vegan and gluten-free diets if needed but any other restrictions & allergies that require extensive preparation needs will not be able to be honored. And kitchen will only be accessible on weekends for students.

Camping in your own tent with your own bedding is the only accommodations offered at the workshop.  Other possible local indoor housing like Airbnbs are available and would require a vehicle. Please inquire with Claudine.  Please bring a good tent and warm sleeping bag, pad, pillow and blanket just in case… or camping hammock.





Students can fly in to San Jose Airport (SJC) or San Francisco (SFO) or even Monterey.  Students who drive in may be able to pick the ones who fly in up. Otherwise we will see about organizing a pick up on Saturday and Sunday that will be paid by students.





Very Early Bird Rate: USD$2500, paid in full by February 1st, 2024

Early Bird Rate: USD$2600, paid in full by May 1st, 2024

Standard Rate: USD$2700, paid in full by July 1st, 2024

We are offering 4 work trade positions (3 left) which give you a $250 discount on either food or tuition for working one hour each weekday supporting the site before breakfast or preparing & putting away breakfast. Two persons for each service.  These are the first options to go. Depending on when you pay in full, the discount is taken off the appropriate amount.

Payment can be made using Zelle, Paypal and  Venmo to claudinedesiree@gmail.com. Europeans and other international students can pay in USD using the Wise app/website using same email.

Please contact claudine@cruzincobglobal.org or Whatsapp +1(831) 212-7225 to register and ask any questions.

To hold your spot (there are 12 for new students and 3 for returning students), you can make a 50% deposit.  The balance owed depends on the date of payment in full. Final payment deadline is July 1st, 2024.




Students who have paid and cancel by May 21st, 2024 can get a full refund minus a 5% administrative/inconvenience fee on the amount they have paid.

Students who have paid and cancel by June 21st, 2024 will receive a credit for a future workshop within two years minus a 10% administrative/inconvenience fee.

Students who have paid and cancel after June 21st, 2024 will not receive a refund or credit unless they have proof of an emergency situation or other reason out of their control, in which case they will receive a credit for two years minus the 10% admin fee.



Chattanooga 9-day Full Build created a playhouse for little Lennie! Celebrating the completed wall on day 6!

Location: To The Trees Retreat