To construct high quality living earth structures, such as cob benches, wood fired ovens, and adobe dome saunas encouraging community involvement through educational workshops and gatherings around the finished project, promoting a healthy, simple and creative lifestyle harmonious with the natural flow of creation.
After spending over ten years of natural building in countries ranging from Argentina, Guatemala, Africa, Thailand and around the US, Miguel Elliott aka “Sir Cobalot” has brought his skills to his hometown of Petaluma, California, a town with a rich history of natural adobe building. Inspired and fascinated at an early age by the earthen ovens at General Vallejo’s old adobe home in Petaluma, Miguel now finds himself specializing in creating various living earth structures such as cob benches, cob ovens, adobe dome saunas and small huts. Miguel spent nearly 4 years at the Isis Oasis Retreat center in Geyserville, where he built the Hobbit Hut, Gingerbread House, and several other cob structures around the property. Using material directly from the earth, being local, non-processed, and healthy, it goes beyond the standards of green building. The walls literally breathe, making them living organisms taking on a character of their own, while being an excellent use of functional art, very pleasing to all senses. The structures are all protected from the weather with a non toxic plaster, and sealer, giving them a long lifetime to be enjoyed by many. Led by Miguel Elliott, Living Earth Structures is a collaboration of experienced teachers and natural builders who all play a role in helping with the various aspects of the venture, Our workshops offer an excellent opportunity to connect with people in your community, while sharing a new skill which can greatly enhance the quality of life for many years to follow. Similar to the barn raising concept, with the guiding of an experienced natural builder, earthen structures can be built with the help of friends and family, making it the ultimate work party medium. Following is a list of the wide array of services offered by Living Earth Structures.
- Lead workshops
- Give school presentations
- Sculpt art on walls
- Teach how to cook in oven
- Lead sweats in Sauna
- Build cob “coops”
- Construct outdoor fireplaces
- Build outdoor bathtubs
- Involve owner and family
- Teach work chants
- Use clay from onsite
- Provide mosaic stepping stones
- Build ponds in backyard
- Build cob fountains
- Make adobe bricks
- Round out windows, arch doorways, round corners
- Earthen clay plaster
- Sculpt trees, candleholders
Following is a list of some of the benefits of using adobe and cob.
If you get the opportunity to experience one of our structures, you are sure to come up with your own list.
40 reasons to build with Cob and Adobe
- Most importantly, it is fun.
- Anybody can help mix and sculpt cob-children, elderly, businessmen…
- Easy to learn in a workshop.
- Very affordable for you use materials right from your land
- Helps build a relationship with the surrounding earth on your property.
- Keeps excavated clay out of landfill, and uses recycled concrete for foundations.
- Inspires creativity and artistic flare
- Its design can be rounded, smooth, soft and sensual.
- Is water resistant if protected properly
- The rounded nature of cob structures makes them earthquake resistant.
- Avoid using wood, saving trees, to give us more healthy air to breath.
- Avoids using cement whose production burns fossil fuels.
- Cob walls breathe, which allows you to live in a living organism.
- Working with cob involves working with community- the ultimate work party.
- Clay in cob can absorb toxins.
- Mixing clay with feet can massage the feet-it feels so good!
- Sculpting the cob strengthens the fingers, and gives the earth a nice massage.
- Is easy to repair, add on, change, or re-plaster.
- It is comfortable, and the design can be an efficient use of space.
- Often the spaces built with cob feels like being inside of a hug.
- Because building a cob house is more affordable, you have more free time.
- Allows you to live more in nature, as cob houses are not yet permitted in the city.
- You can have arched doors, rounded windows, curved walls and a living roof allowing you to live like a hobbit.
- In the process of building and playing in the clay, your inner child comes out.
- Can make ovens, and bake pizzas, bread, casseroles, cookies, etc.
- The ovens allow you to enjoy an outdoor fireplace staying warm in the winter.
- Cob benches allow you to sit, relax, and enjoy life.
- When living in the city, it brings more nature into your life surrounded by cement.
- It is tapping into ancient indigenous building wisdom.
- Allow you to work outside, receiving fresh air and sunlight.
- Gets you into shape, builds muscle, and is good for the skin.
- Can make a good living being hired as a professional cob builder.
- Can travel and work around the world, spreading beautiful functional creations.
- Brings people together- a excellent bonding agent.
- Gives people a sense of accomplishment to build something for themselves.
- Don’t need noisy expensive power tools that burn energy.
- Helps you appreciate Mother Earth, and be more connected to your land.
- You can infuse the cob with your creative essence through chanting & singing.
- With its high thermal mass, Cob absorbs heat during the heat of the day,
and radiates it out during the coolness of the night.
- It is fun (I know that was mentioned already, but it is worth mentioning again!)
Overall, it is the solution for living a more enjoyable, healthy, satisfying life.