I am so utterly proud of my 15 students who together brought into existence the most beautiful bathhouse I have yet seen. With a blank and flattened slate of 25m2 atop a steep hill hidden in the woods to begin with, we spent the first few days before the course began emerging a unique triple circle design based on sacred geometry
that would enclose the compost toilet in the southern circle, the shower in the northern circle and an attractive walkway between them with niches, arched shelves, a sink and ultimately a flower of life design in the center of the structure\’s earthen floor lit up by the oculus at the center of the hexagonal roof structure, made from local eucalyptus roundwood branches and small trunks.
We began to dig the trench on Day 1 for the next 3-4 days and then used the large local rockpile from a torn down old house to build the foundation with hydraulic lime and sand mortar. The rocks were walked up a steep path one at a time by our burly rock crew Viva, Sylvain, Normunds and Greg. Sylvain from Fuerteventura led the rock wall building which took the next 4 days to complete.
When the lunch gong rang, relief filled our well-worn bodies, ready for some luscious vegetarian fare cooked up by the Molino staff and work trade crew, a variety of home-grown veggie specialties to titillate our taste buds day after day.
As we relaxed around the shaded wooden communal eating area, filling our tummies to happiness and recollecting the morning hours…the siesta hour called us to the hammocks, chill spots, tents and beds, giving great gratitude for the long-standing southern Spanish cult of downtime for the next 2-3 hours, which grew smaller as the month advanced and the ends of the wall called harder.
Afternoons were also beach time, yoga time, massage time, music time and building time. Perfect weather spoiled us the whole month and the ocean temperatures concurred at 60-65 degrees F. Excitement set in when it was finally time to start building niches and bottle and arched windows, sculpting and when Jamal arrived to lead us in the Tadelakt process to seal the bathroom and walkway walls. Finally a pause from the cob day in and day out, though big rocks helped advance the wall a bit faster. Now the artsy part, the beauty, the aesthetics for which cob walls and houses are so renowned. Everyone picked a spot to work on and, as always, I saw the artist in everyone begin to blossom and fire up. Sam and Sari went to town on the beautiful tall tree sculptures that grace the east entrance, merging the surrounding forest with the earthen bathhouse, to the point of embedding some real olive branches directly into the cob as the continuation of the cob trees. Goretti created her own version of tree on the northside, while the westside entrance welcomes you with bottles and the Molino logo \”Head, Hands and Heart\” encrusted into the cob with special local brain-like rocks, a handprint, and a heart rock.
The last few days brought us happily to experiencing the wonderful pleasurable earthen plaster made with local horse and cow poop, the green onsite clay, fine sand, and fine straw. A totally different feel than the tadelakt lime-based plaster which, with the specialized thick cedar trowels and plastic trowel, results in a waterproof and breathable ultra-smooth finish that you want to rub your face on. The special Tadelakt finish is smoothed with a very polished green mottled granite rock. Students got to experience both, each one having their preferences.
While we never got to put the roof on, everything was ready for the eucalyptus rafters and hexagons that would come on next. Our days were full for sure, full of work, full of laughter, full of learning, growing, loving, deep experiences in the sweat lodge, around the fire circle, during mealtimes and in the final checkout straw pile.
Thank You El Molino for hosting us and Thank You to Samantha, Sari, Greg, Roberto, Eduardo, Fran, Sylvain, Normunds, David, Mano, Goretti, Laurie, Samuel, Viva, Johnny, and Jamal…best COB CREW ever! Good luck with all your endeavours and may you spread the COB wherever you go! You are always welcome to come assist or take another workshop! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! See all the photos on Cruzincobglobal\’s Facebook page.