An Artist's Quest

Getting Dirty and Loving It!

Earthen Oven made with a group at a workshop this week at Camp Galilee on Lake Tahoe

Earthen Oven made with a group at a workshop this week at Camp Galilee on Lake Tahoe

This past week my husband Jack and I went to a workshop on natural earth building techniques.  The workshop was held at Camp Galilee on beautiful Lake Tahoe. My husband and I went on a trip last fall to Chicago and decided it would be a great annual event to do something together just the two of us every year so this was the adventure we chose.  We learned all kinds of natural building techniques and with the other six participants and instructor built this amazing oven in just four days! I can’t tell you how exhilarated I am from the experience.  It was so fun to get in the mud and mix and make.  This is not easy work, it is hard physical labor but that is part of the whole sense of accomplishment, a tired body but an energized mind.  This four days was filled with so many wonderful elements that are key to rich life: learning something new, using the physical self, exciting the creative self, working in community to make something for someone else.  I am startled by how excited I am.  It reminds me that learning is a part of staying alive.  I think that sometimes as we get older and have complicated lives of family and work, we don’t make space for learning.  We say things like I always wanted to learn to knit or ballroom dance or (you fill in the blank) and often we don’t make time for it.  But I want to encourage you to do it, stretch and flex your cognitive, spiritual, physical muscles.  This workshop has me excited about experimenting and exploring in a way I haven’t felt in awhile, opening up new energy and vigor.  I also want to say how fun it was to take this workshop with my husband; it was a wonderful bonding experience, something we now share something we learned together.  Last year we went on a trip together to Chicago and had a great time, we explored and walked and talked in ways we just don’t do in regular life but I have to say that the experience of learning together, building together, working in community together was an even better than a travel vacation.  Don’t get me wrong I like both kinds of experiences but I encourage you to grab someone your love and go learn something together, you won’t regret it!

Here is a link to House Alive, the fabulous instructor Coenraad Rogmans, website.  There is so much more to say about the week but I’ll take a little time to process what I learned, I’m sure you will hear more.  But here is a little photo time line of the week and the oven we built, my only regret was we didn’t get to make pizza in the oven it needs to dry a bit more before a really hot fire is built but I’ll make sure to make my way back there again sometime.

Day One

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

One response

  1. Hi Lisa, loved your blog. Do you think you’ll make an clay oven at home now. I’m curious to know what its like when you bake in such an oven. Lucy from Englad

    October 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

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