A Complete Cob Bungalow in southern Tennessee (Pulaski, TN, USA)

Date/Time
Date(s) - Sunday, August 27, 2023 - Sunday, October 1, 2023
9:00 am - 5:30 pm


 

 

OUR HOSTESS

 

Arrrriella trimming the wall in Casais, September 2022


nurse carpenter, go girl!

Welcome fellow cob enthusiasts! My name is Ariella (the Ar is pronounced like a pirate would say Rrrr 🙂 I’ve always had a dream to help people. I became a nurse at a young age and have had some amazing opportunities to work all over the U.S. in nursing. I love music, festivals, dancing, traveling, yoga, friends and family, fires, all things nature, and naps. As my passion for alternative modalities for health have grown, so has my vision for creating a space for healing, personal growth, and authentic sharing. In 2020 my best friend (Pearl) and I bought 28 acres in a small town in Tennessee called Pulaski. My dream has been to build a few small and comforting spaces for people to stay while they reconnect with nature along with their inner truth, eventually expanding the dream into hosting retreats and workshops. When I learned about earthen homes, I knew they were just the perfect spaces I had envisioned. Many adventures have ensued with learning about Cob, the last one being a 35-day workshop in Portugal with CruzinCobGlobal. I learned so much and I absolutely loved the aesthetic and natural feel of cob, it really called to me.

La casa

This will be the first cob house built on the property. There is already a brick home on the property a little further from the building site that Pearl and I live in. While you are in Pulaski, you will have access to my kitchen, bathroom (shower), and living room with plenty of spots to set up a tent outside. There is some flat room at the top of the driveway to bring RV’s and camper vans. Mostly what surrounds us is neighbors with small homes and similar or more acreage.

There are deer and cows that love to roam about. Although I have never seen them on the property, this part of the U.S. does have snakes, spiders, mosquitos, and coyotes. The weather in September is in the process of changing between summer and winter temperatures. Early September will be between high 70’s and low 80’s farenheit and decrease as the month goes on. While it’s rare, nights could get down into the high 40’s to low 50’s, so warm clothes are recommended.

 

LOCATION

 

The workshop site will be on my and Pearl’s land we call Fairy Forest! The town of Pulaski is about 15 minutes away.  A gas station, two restaurants, and a motel are 3 miles away and take about 5 minutes to get to from the property by car.  In the town are some cute shops, restaurants, and a small grocery store. There is a Walmart and home Depot 20 minutes from the building site (5 more minutes down the road from the town.)

Pulaski is exactly in the middle of Nashville, TN and Huntsville, AL. The most cost effective airport is BNA in Nashville. Nashville is one hour north of Pulaski and is known as music city. Nashville has many museums, bars, restaurants, shows, and attractions. I grew up in Huntsville which is an hour south of Pulaski (also has an airport but usually more expensive). Huntsville was voted the best place to live in 2022 by the US News & World Report. Some of that can be attributed to the Marshall Space center, a vibrant growing art scene, and Monte Sano (lots of hiking and biking there).

There is Tim’s Ford which has some camping, hiking, and swimming about an hour away in a different direction from the property. I would love to explore some places in the area that I haven’t seen yet and could arrange some day trips. If you are looking to help build the first cob house on this property, I know it will be nothing short of an exciting adventure with the satisfaction of seeing a project to completion. I am very excited to welcome each and everyone of you to my home and looking forward to all of the experiences and growing that only cob can bring. See you soon!

 

 

THE PROJECT

 

Students will be building a 10-15m2 cob cottage (size depends on number of students) for Ariella as a guest space/studio on her land.

The cottage will be built from foundation to reciprocal green roof including floor, sculpting and plaster, as well as electrical outlets, switches and housing and plumbing connection. Students will receive an Advanced Cobber Certification for the 5-week training workshop.

 

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

 

Sifting for plaster mix

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 Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 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 the Instructors Krystal Alexander and Merle Jahn.

Our host Ariella (on the right) at her first cob workshop in Portugal!

 

 

Monday morning we begin digging the trench for our Cob Building!!!!
Following Breakfast from 7:30-8:15am, the morning learning/building session begins at 8:45 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 after the rest time.  After class in the afternoon there is a 90-minute break before dinner, in which students are encouraged to stretch, do some type of relaxation/movement practice, go swimming if possible, and just relax. 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 free and sometimes students offer informal courses in their specialties and passions. Mondays are reserved for our weekly Council Circle.Weekends students are free to explore the area, rest onsite, and even continue building, with Instructor approval.

The 35-day Course will offer practical learning by building a complete 10m2-15m2 (depending on number of students) 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 & Plumbing installation), Floor, Plaster & Roof.

 

DAILY SCHEDULE

 

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.

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

8:00-8:45 Breakfast
9:00-1:00 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!

 

COURSE CONTENTS

 

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 wiring and plumbing in walls
sculpting
preparing and applying earthen plasters (1 coat)
pouring an earthen floor (2 layers)
preparing walls for roof connection
building roof frame
putting on sheathing and other elements
building green roof

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

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

 

REQUIREMENTS & IMPORTANT INFORMATION

 

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
Tape Measure
Box Cutter
Carving Knife
Wood Hand Saw (cheap)
Hammer
Rounded triangular trowel
Level
Ear Plugs (roof week)
Wood Chisel
4”-6” Diameter Round Plastic Container Lids (for plastering)
Good Moisturizer
Hat
Sunglasses
Safety Glasses
Water Bottle
Notebook/Pen/Camera
Sample of Your Soil (Optional)

 

***VERY IMPORTANT***

 

Closing the reciprocal roof, Casais 2022

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.

 

Casais, Portugal 2022 “ahhh, plaster bliss”

Teacher Lea leading the plaster mix instruction

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 and third weeks 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. The
fourth week finally slows down and the body can rest as students tap into their creative source and design and sculpt the walls and around niches, shelves, windows, etc. 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. In the fifth week, the roof is the beginning of a change of pace from the
earthen building work to carpentry skills, power tools, drilliing, hammering, screwing, trimming, etc. But now the workshop is in its final stretch and there is a boost of energy to wrap up the green roof and the second floor coat and closing of the wall, the grand finale on the last day.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.

Students are required to read “The Hand-Sculpted House” before the workshop begins and any other books they find, as well as watching our “International Cob Workshop”
videos on Claudine’s YouTube channel, 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).

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 then help the building part in less physically demanding ways, ie cutting straw, sifting for plaster, hammering nails into frames or shelves, sculpting, plastering, cutting bottles. There is alot to do besides making and building with cob!!!!

Always a masterpiece!

Finally, please bring a watch or use your phone to be prompt and ready for each part of the Course
including meals. Please share your dietary restrictions/allergies with CCG as soon as you register.  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 may 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 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!

 

INSTRUCTORS

 

Krystal Alexander (Cob Instructor)

Krystal always joyful when she’s cobbin’!

The desire to incorporate healthier practices into modern day living has led Krystal to a life of natural building. After years of growing her practice as a Massage and Sound Therapist she was ready to take the next step on her journey of creative and self-sufficient living. As an artist clay has always been her medium of choice, so once her feet hit the mud she was hooked. From that first workshop with CruzinCobGlobal in 2017, she has dedicated her time to traveling and learning with others (making lifelong friends around the globe). She has assisted, instructed and helped to build 6 earthen structures as well as 5 cob pizza ovens! 

Krystal is fueled by the passion to spread awareness that living consciously and comfortably is an attainable (and sustainable) reality. She believes that through this hands-on work, we can unlock our creative potential to share our truth with the world around. When she is not cobbin’ she is running her practice back home in St. Louis, MO. One day she plans on settling down with her little family on a plot of land and building earthen structures galore. Krystal is eager to share the healing and empowering benefits of cob and community with all!
MERLE JAHN (Cob Assistant)

Merle & Cob: Love at first sight!

I stumbled upon cob unintentionally in 2020 when I did a work exchange in Nicaragua building cob casitas. It was unintentional because I only wanted to work there because it was on the beach and I wanted to surf and didn’t want to pay for a hostel. I quickly realized that being covered in clay all day and connecting with the earth with my hands and my feet was awesome and I ended up staying there for three months until covid forced everyone to leave. Since then I’ve done CCG’s Advanced Cob Workshop and even dabbled with conventional construction building homes, but nothing compares to the simplicity and freedom of building with your hands and feet. The 5 weeks during the Advanced Cob Workshop were truly some of the happiest times of my life and I can’t wait to do it again as an assistant teacher this time.

 

MEALS & ACCOMMODATIONS

 

Students will have 3 delicious, hearty vegetarian meals a day Monday through Friday.  There will also be a Welcome Dinner on the first Sunday night, a Celebration Dinner on the last Saturday night, and a Goodbye Brunch on Sunday morning after the Closing Circle.

On weekends students are on their own for food, and can travel and explore the area, go camping or stay onsite. They will have access to the kitchen and any leftovers from the week. Otherwise they will need to get their own food for the weekend and can collaborate to get rides to the food stores in town.

All students will be camping onsite for this workshop.  Students who don’t want to camp can find other local accommodations (ask Host for suggestions) but will need to be able to get to the site on time every weekday.  They can also carcamp obviously.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Students driving in will receive directions to the workshop site in the Welcome Letter sent a month before the start date.  Nearest airports are Huntsville, Alabama and Nashville, TN. More information will be sent regarding transportation from the airports to the site, unless students share rental cars. There will be one shuttle on Saturday and one on Sunday from Nashville/Huntsville to site, depending on where students are arriving.

 

REGISTRATION

 

Thrifty Bird Rate :$2500, pay in full by February 26th, 2023

Chill Bird Rate: $2600, pay in full by May 28th, 2023

Super Chill Bird Rate: $2700, pay in full by July 30th, 2023

Payment includes tuition, camping and weekday meals plus first and last dinners and last brunch.

To register, please email claudinedesiree@gmail.com or send standard text or Whatsapp text to (831) 212-7225 with your email address to receive the two registration forms.  Payment can be made by Zelle, Venmo and Paypal using claudinedesiree@gmail.com. With Paypal, please check the “Send to Family and Friends” box or add 3% for the fee. If you are using a credit card with Venmo or Paypal please add 3% for the transaction fee. Venmo ID is @claudine-desiree.

Europeans and others who want to pay in Euros can make a bank transfer to a European account or use Wise to convert into Euros.

It is preferable that you pay in full when you pay however 50% deposit is required to hold your place with the rest due by July 30th at the latest.

We always offer four work trade discounts of $250 each for an hour of work each class day.  There are two kitchen work traders who prepare breakfast from 6:30-7:30am and two work traders that do site prep from 6:30 to 7:30am.  In this workshop we are offering two more kitchen work trade positions for dinner help. If you want a work trade, please email or text Claudine (contact info above). These are first come first serve.  Full payment or 50% deposit to hold your spot with final balance due by July 30th.  Note that the work trade discount is applied to the amount that is being paid off in full.  So if you are making your payment in full by the Thirfty Bird date, it will be deducted form that rate. If you pay in full after the Chill Bird deadline, then it will be deducted from the Super Chill Bird rate. Please see work trader cancellation policy below.

 

CANCELLATION POLICY

 

Students who cancel before June 25th, 2023 will receive a full refund minus a 5% administration fee or a credit for another workshop within 2 years.

Students who cancel after June 25th, 2023 and before July 30th, 2023 will receive a full refund minus 10% admin fee or a credit for another workshop within 2 years.

Students who cancel after July 30th will not receive a refund or a credit unless they have proof of  an emergency situation beyond their control, in which case they will receive a credit to be used within 2 years, minus 10% fee.

*Work traders who cancel after June 25th will receive a full refund of what they have paid minus $250.

 

EXCITED TO COB WITH YOU IN 2023!!!

Location: Fairy Forest

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