A beautiful meditation space created by Earthen Hand.
Earthen Hand, Thailand Workshop, 2004
Sculptural cob bench by Earthen Hand.
Scott Cobbing back in 2000.
The architecture of Hassan Fathi.
Taos Pueblo, New Mexico.
Kids making cob at an Earthen Hand event.
Ancient Trulli vaults in Southern Italy.
About Earthen Hand
"Building the earth movement"
Earthen Hand Natural Building was founded in 2002 with the goals to create amazing natural buildings and empower people by training them in these methods. We offer educational courses in earthen building, as well as consulting in natural building design, planning, and construction. Because of our work, and many others doing similar things, more and more people are grasping the incredible importance of resource and eco consciousness.
We provide natural building workshops in the U.S. and several other countries. Each day of a workshop includes hands-on training, discussion, and lecture. Hundreds of people have learned how to build more ecologically through one of our workshops. Our students are of all ages, and everyone learns a lot. Kids love playing with mud. Adults see the socio-political empowerment and utility of our techniques. Our international workshops sometimes assist local communities by establishing a useful public structure. Participants of these workshops get to learn about a different culture while doing something significant for them.
Clients can commission anything from sculptural architecture, to earthen paints or plasters, to earth ovens or artworks. People who commission works from us understand that they are contributing to a larger ecological movement. Many clients choose to participate and learn in the building process. Every earthen building completed contributes to the greater body of knowledge about these methods. Natural Building gains presence every time someone completes a stunning example. We encourage experimentation because it is the origin of design improvement. It is our goal to create solid, artful structures that will inspire people to want to learn about them.
Earthen building has become increasingly well-known, even in locations where local building codes practically disallow it. Earthen Hand Natural Building is proud to be on the forefront of this movement. Many others work tirelessly along side us toward the same goals.
It takes subtle sensitivity to build poetic human spaces that embody that "quality without a name"(Christopher Alexander). I aim to create sacred spaces that inspire reverence for nature. The curvilinear, and soft feeling of earthen materials encourages health and well-being. Nature itself shows us all the patterns that we might ever need to make harmonious dwellings in any climate. Natural Building is the realignment of our spaces and consciousness with mother nature. Our ancestors refined constructed human landscapes that never depart from the harmony of the earth. And so we have to ask, 'Was the ancient builder more advanced than the contemporary?'
Governments and big businesses have systematically limited so many owner-builders from creating their own dwellings. Who do you think stands to profit? Who stands to lose? Let's reclaim our right to build our own houses. Free us from the 30-year mortgage trap, toxic building materials and methods, and the vanity of over-sized houses. Also, let's all reduce wasteful resource flows because so much work needs to be done to do right by the needy. Everyone can take responsibility for the earth by making the most ecological choices possible in each situation. The earth today is obviously facing an ecological crisis, but the choices we make now can have a huge impact on our own futures - in our own lifetimes! It is up to us.
Just imagine all the kids that are learning to build naturally these days. What gems will these students bring forward as they come into adulthood? There is no doubt that the strong presence of natural building education in schools can spark further development of the movement in the near future.
And we have do more than tell the youth about the future. We have to bring examples to life. Educating young people with natural building in schools is a great idea. As the youth see participatory, ecological architecture rise from the ground itself, we hope it will leave a great impression.
Who can say what the future of human dwellings will hold? Nader Khalili called for thoughtful use of fired earthen architecture. Ceramic structures could last thousands of years, and so are worth the cost of firing them. In old world Southern Italy, dome-shaped houses called trulli were built perhaps thousands of years ago using only stones, earth, and lime. They still stand. These are great examples that we should strive to follow. These structures withstand the centuries because of the pure harmony and skill employed by their builders, not because the materials are high-tech. At the same time, innovative new building materials made from things we already "threw away" are being invented that may be very significant in the immediate future.
Organizations that can profit from work that helps people and the earth will clearly outlive all others. Many potentially profitable opportunities exist all over the world for successful eco-projects. Let's all cooperate on these; almost everyone and everything is begging us to. We think what the earth needs most from us humans is more cooperation, not more corporations. We are open to teaming up with the right people and organizations to create natural buildings that push the envelope technically and stylistically. If you are kind and willing to help the earth, get in touch. If not, move out of the way.