Welcome to the Village Building Convergence, a true gem about Portland and one of my personal favorite things about the city.
Each year, an organization called City Repair puts on a ten-day festival of community building and place-making, often using natural construction to do so. It's wonderful, 25 sites all across the city welcomed community members to join in playing in the mud while creating beautiful meaningful relationships and simple projects along the way. I was honored to be one of their guest instructors this year and participate in many of the activities throughout the week.
A cob bench from a previous year, being wholesomely enjoyed
An intersection painting, brings neighbors together in the street and helps slow down traffic with it's thoughtful design. There are many of these throughout Portland, how many have you seen?
A cat palace, built last year and led by my dear friend Eva Miller,
and this year she's building a Chicken Palace.
What lucky animals in the urban place!
She also led the renovation of the City's first legal Light Clay-Straw Retrofit.
And it came out great!
Here's a detail picture of the wall section for all you builder nerds
My awesome new friend Fezzo who was my housemate for the week.
and his bright red kilt that we dyed together mid-week.
This project was my favorite--an outdoor classroom at Madison High School. The timberframe and main cob walls had been built the previous year. Now we are adding strawbale ampitheater style seating and some bamboo and sculptural cob.
I have never seen as enthusiastic cobbers as here!
What a huge batch!
Rachel gets into it
Beautiful lime finishes from the prior year
Wetting down the top of the wall so that we can add to it this year. An amazing attribute of natural construction, that it is forever mendable and able to be rehydrated and continued.
Sebastian works on a bamboo detail.
Casey lays out the bale seats.
Then the seats are cover with slip and cobbed together, making it very strong.
We sculpt a sun at the center point of the top
Many, many people are involved with making it happen
Across town, at another project site, I lead a plaster workshop.
We are applying the final coat of plaster on a cob bench built the previous year.
Ellen has a great time finishing the project, she has put a lot of energy into the transformation of her backyard into a food forest sanctuary and community garden. She can't wait to enjoy using the bench!
So excited for next year, please check out www.cityrepair.org for more info, and see you there!