When someone says “I/we built this house” these days, they generally mean “I/we hired the contractor who hired other people that did all of the actual work.” In some cases, the owners may have gotten their hands dirty with some relatively unskilled tasks. But literally building their own house? And doing so from materials that they went out and harvested? Nobody does that anymore… right?
Well, maybe not. While most of us don’t believe we have the time or energy to build a house by hand, there is a growing community of people dedicated to the art of crafting a house: that is, harvesting materials and fashioning them with hand tools into the elements of a building. And Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Northeastern Missouri (where – disclosure – I’m a member of the board of directors) is quickly becoming a hub for all things natural building related. Last Summer, DR member ziggy (who also used to write for us) and his partner April put together a two-week timber frame workshop with expert Tom Cundiff. It proved so popular that they’re doing it again this Summer… and early registration (which will save you some money) is now open.
What will you learn at this year’s event? According to the description,
Students will spend 10 full days at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage learning the historic craft of timber frame construction using mortise and tenon joinery. Unique to this course is the opportunity to work with round wood material and layout techniques, with a smaller dose of square (milled) timber as well. We’ll cover how to use a variety of natural timbers in combination with one another, and different layout techniques that accompany each material. Material selection, scribe rule and square rule, assembly, and rigging and raising techniques are just a taste of the material we will cover in this detailed, hands-on course. Not only that, we’ll experience and learn some of the fundamental connections between building structure, design, and sustainable lifestyle alternatives.
You’ll get lots of hands-on experience, plus evening lectures. And, of course, you’ll get to experience community at a thriving ecovillage.
Sound like something you might want to do? Get all the details at ziggy’s site… and let us know if you do decide to attend.
Image credit: The Year of Mud