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Natural Plaster Intensive Workshop


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Dirt Craft Natural Building will be teaching a 3 day (plus an additional optional 4th day – details below) hands on workshop dedicated to plaster systems for natural buildings from Friday June 3rd to Sunday June 5th 2016 + optional bonus day, Monday June 6th, just outside Edmonton in Sherwood Park, AB. These will be full days, so come prepared to have fun, learn, and get your hands dirty! Lunch and refreshments included.

Purpose: to understand the steps necessary to finish any natural wall system, including your straw bale home. It is one thing to learn how to stack straw bales or stomp cob, but it is critically important to understand how to finish a building, as it will determine the longevity of your home or building. A good plaster system will mean the difference between success and failure.

Thinking of starting your own project? This workshop will position you well to make good decisions in the design phase, so that you can plan for success.

The workshop will nicely balanced between hands-on experienced, and design & theory.

Here is some of what to expect:

  • Using plasters to create an air tight wall system = super energy efficient, comfortable homes, use Passive House design methodology
  • Wall preparation for various natural building techniques, including clay fiber, cob and straw bales
  • Sourcing local materials
  • Learn to identify clay, and process this inexpensive local material
  • Recipes for exterior renders and interior plasters
  • Rain screens (siding for straw bale homes): an alternative to plaster for exteriors
  • Learn to mix & apply interior plasters that can be applied to a variety of wall surfaces
  • Discussions comparing different plaster systems, pros and cons of earthen plasters, concrete stucco, especially focused on the areas of durability and vapour permeability
  • Plaster as it pertains to the long term health of a building with natural walls
  • Tool selection
  • Application techniques for base coats and finish plasters, including proper trowel techniques
  • Building design for earthen plasters
  • Different treatments for durability and weather resistance

Optional 4th Day:

Stick with us for Monday June 6th and learn the art of finish clay plasters and paints. These are the colours and textures that you’ll experience everyday in your home, so it is worth learning . Spend the day learning our refined recipes, how to work with pigment, and how to create a durable finishes. Best of all, you can introduce natural materials to any home, and these recipes can go easily over drywall! For more information about this bonus day, visit the finish clay plaster and paint workshop page.

Want more visuals? Click here to view our project gallery.

We will be working on the straw bale Temple that we started last year through a work party. The Temple itself is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the lands in Alberta and the people who strive to protect them. This space is to be available for people of all faiths, spiritual beliefs and religions, as a global healing temple for all. offering a great opportunity to all students to get to know more about the designing and approval process for a natural building.


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