Monday, October 13, 2008

Documenting Strawbale Addition - 6

Plastering has started! Here are a few updated photos of the strawbale progress. It's been a busy long weekend, as the weather was cooperating and we had a good crew of people to help. We finished sewing up the balewalls, being ever reminded how important it is to keep the walls stitched tightly to the mesh. Though tempting to hurry this process, it's valuable to painstakingly stitch the walls so that all the subsequent work of plastering is not lost.

After the stitching, we sprayed on a clay slip (made of locally purchased powdered clay and a small amount of wheat flour paste). It was helpful to have a rental texture sprayer as this made the job much faster, especially reaching up to the second story of the tall wall. Then today the base plastering started - spread on in a satisfying way by hand, and something that reminds us how age-old this building process really is. In fact, as one volunteer reminded us, this is the "normal" way of building when you look at how homes are constructed on a global scale: people using natural materials that are sourced locally, and building by hand. We like to call this "traditional" building rather than "alternative" building for this reason.

One photo above shows an arched "niche" being formed into the wall. This is a common element in strawbale homes, using the wall cavity to form shelves, niches, recessed benches, etc. We will also include a "truth window", a section of raw straw left unplastered to show that there really is straw insulating these walls and remind us of this link to our local farm community where we sourced the straw.

Tomorrow, more plastering...thanks again to all the friends who've been helping out. It's been great to have kids on the site as well, including two babies - it's really another benefit of strawbale or natural building when entire families can be involved in the build!

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