Natural Building 2017

Mud Magic: Building in Harmony with the Earth

June 14th – June 18th, 2017 | $300-700, includes camping and all meals, work-trade available
Western Sonoma County, CA
Instructors: Starhawk and Charles Williams

Register now

Building with simple, natural materials is a profoundly meditative act that can help awaken our creativity on every level. In this workshop, we will learn a range of natural building methods: cob—clay, sand and straw; browncoat—a finer cob that is perfect for sculpting; lime and earthen plaster, and creative re-use of many recycled materials. We’ll build a greenhouse, plaster a cob oven and a light-straw-clay barn, and sculpt shrines to ancient earth Goddesses, while deepening our connection to the land, the trees, and the communities around us.

We’ll start every day with ritual, and build in a ceremonial way. Evenings we’ll have slide shows, films, share music and stories. And we’ll have fun—for building with the earth’s own materials is a high form of play.

If you want to broaden your skills in natural building, become more familiar and comfortable with carpentry and tools, or just relax by doing something different in beautiful surroundings, this may be just what you need!

Location: We are located in the Cazadero Hills, on a beautiful permaculture ranch with medicinal food forests, chickens, sheep, olives and lavender. Our 40-acre ranch is only a few miles from the ocean, tucked into the coastal hills about 45 minutes drive from Guerneville.

   Southeast view from our hilltop ranch

Accommodations and meals: Camping in our madrone grove or hilltop (please bring tents and camping gear) and fresh, delicious, vegetarian-friendly meals served three times a day in our community yurt. Hot teas and coffees, spring water, and snacks available throughout the day. Catering will begin with lunch on the 14th and end with lunch on the 18th.

Costs: We use sliding-scale pricing to make our courses available to as many people as possible while still meeting our costs.

  • Standard cost of attendance: $600
  • Abundance (help us make the difference): $700
  • Scraping by (I truly can’t afford more): $500
  • Work-trade: (must submit a letter, be accepted, and be onsite in advance): $300

Work-trade information: We have just a few work-trade spots available for this course- apply early! This course will require work-traders who are ready and able to work hard and cheerfully to assemble materials and tools, prep work sites, help in the kitchen with prep and clean-up, maintain clean bathroom facilities during the course, and help with clean-up at the end. We need folks who can arrive up to two days before the course begins and stay until everything is cleaned up at the end. Folks who are willing to run to town for last-minute supplies or to help with carpools are also needed. To apply, please email us a letter telling us about yourself, your relevant skills, your work ethic, and your availability. Email your letter to:

Light-straw-clay infill in our barn

Making cob together on the hilltop








Mud Magic: Building in Harmony with the Earth

June 14th – 18th, 2017

Cazadero, CA United States
Cost: $300 – $700 sliding scale, includes fabulous food and camping.

To register for this course, please fill out our registration form here, then make your payment below.

Cost: $300-$700 sliding scale