Construction Natural Finishes

Shiny Clay Wall Finishing

I enjoyed this video very much – it made me want to get back to clay:

  • It gave me confidence that my experiments in the earthbag cellar were in the right direction – and that with additional refinement, wonderful results can be achieved with earth!
  • It confirmed how important the material mix is in achieveing a good finish (though in our experiments I tried to lean as much as possible on the natural clay-soil we had on site – and in retrospect it needed even more sand than I put in).
  • It made me a bit jealous of people who have access to refined materials … though I am glad to explore with the stuff underneath my feet 🙂
  • It made me reconsider how thin the finishing layers (after base layer) can be – which means much less material to mix, carry and apply! Maybe that also makes it more accessible to bring on-site more specialized materials (I am used to working with tractor loader quantities)?
  • It made me even more curious about experiencing first-hand good tools (like Japanese trowels), I only had the basic DIY concrete-oriented stuff typically available here in Romania.
  • It confirmed my impression that the clay in the mix dominates in terms of color. We experimented with some coloring additives (metal oxides, also readily available in Romania). But it was unpredictable because of the dominant color of the clay. It seems that clay color is key to good, full bodied color!?

Some useful links from the maker of the video:

Does anyone know of a source for Japanese trowels in the EU?


[Webinar] Building with Earthbags: our experience with the cellar

Dear friends,

In the last 2 years we built our cellar from earth bags. It was mostly the two of us… helped along the way a bit by volunteers and friends.

We learned a lot, people started to ask questions. This is how Iulia started the Romania: EarthBags Building / Constructii din saci umpluti cu pamant group on Facebook. The group grew, now around 450 people.

Many of you continued to ask questions, talked to Iulia in private about details.

From all your inquiries we want to make one more step now to share our experience with those who are really interested in earth bags building. Now, as winter is upon us and we are more inside, we invite you to sit next to the fireplace and join us in an open conversation – a webinar on earth bag bulding – questions and answers from our experience.

So, put the fire on (we will be next to one of our own rocket stoves that we also built), grab a cup of hot tea and join us!

When? Tuesday, 15th of January, 19:00. We estimate to spend around 1,5 hours together, depending on your interest and group dynamics.

What? We will build our conversation based on how participant’s interests are related to our experience. Ronen already wrote a summary of our journey with the cellar (again, please read all the posts he wrote along the two years here) an we are interested to converse with those who have specific questions. We learnt and lot and still learning. 🙂 We do not pretend to hold the absolute truth, yet we realize – from your questions, from all the conversations and debates Iulia is following on the natural building and off grid groups on Facebook – that you want to know more and we have things to share.

We will not lecture you on earth bags building, you can read a lot on the internet.

Where? Online, we will give the connection details for those who want to join. We will use Zoom.
The webinar will be held in English – Ronen, the facilitator of the webinar, does not speak good Romanian. Translation can be offered by one of the participants (volunteering). Iulia will be moderating the conversation.

How to join? Please fill the form below to let us know that you want to be in the conversation.

Exchange. We suggest a starting donation of 50 lei (15 Euros for people outside Romania, by paypal) / participant, for this meeting, paid upfront. In the spirit of gift economy, we also encourage our to adjust (to increase or decrease) your contribution, based on the experienced value, at the end of the webinar. The details for offering donations will be provided for those who want to join.

Looking forward to meet and talk to you all! :

Iulia & Ronen

PS: after the form below you see a selection of pictures along the way of bulding our earthbag cellar 🙂