Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Suscol Strawbale Project - Part 1

Now on to a slightly larger project. I have joined forces with Bay Area Architect, Bob Theis, to finish a strawbale building for an inter-tribal Native American sacred land. The project was started last summer by another person, but they were unable to complete it as started. It is interesting coming into a project that you didn't begin, but so far we are making the best of it. It has an octagonal framework with strawbale infill, cobbed windows, skylight & living roof.

The first week on the project we were assisted by an Americorps Crew, Hoopa Tribal Community Civilian Corps (TCCC). It was interesting getting muddy with these young natives, whom for the most part were delighted with the change of tasks--building with alternative materials instead of maintaining trails.

Earthbag foundation

Octagonal roof framing

Setting up the plaster prep area, glorious shade!

Bob demonstrated how to tie a custom bale

Gravel bag course work for the foundation

Yoshi, fills voids with a clay-straw mix

Processing local soil, from pile to plaster

Tracy Thieriot (Tactile Interiors) and her assistant Yoshi work on filling the structure

Americorps crew members make fill mix, essentially straw-clay that is really heavy on the clay

Covering the bales with slip

Tracy and Ceasar keep on slipping!

Curving slpits of bamboo over an open fire.
These will be used to support the arches over the cobbed window openings.

Sculpting the window openings

making 'paned' glass windows

a special project for a special place... stay tuned!

Balifornia Bamboo - Pagodas at the Harmony Festival

The Lotus Pagoda
I contributed with an amazing eco-environment created by some of my bamboo friends for the Harmony Music Festival in Santa Rosa, California.
The design and construction was by Balifornia Bamboo,
and led by Brian Hanumon Scharf.
The Star Pagoda
Star Pagoda interior
with view of the floating bed
Hanu contemplates the final touches just before the festival opens.
Yummy bamboo joinery!

Beloved Yuba Devi (all things made possible by the hard-working, supportive and ceaselessy creative girlfriend) and her mother work to the last minute stuffing handmade pillows with strips of burlap reclaimed from local beaneries.
Gorgeous details!
Beveled bamboo flower holders tie-in with willow arches along each bamboo post

Amit burlaps every flower pot like a pro!

The finished Lotus Pagoda
Dark Bamboo structure follows six-pointed star geometries and flushed out with willow arches and tule reed, among many other locally harvested plant-based fibers and living plants. The base of each post has a balinese inspired altar, willow seat back and several handmade pillows.

The space is used for workshops and small presentations during the festival as well as a shady spot for people to rest and rejuvenate between scheduled activities.

The focal point of the Lotus Pagoda is an incredible bamboo chandelier designed and built by Chris Remmers of Eden Building and Design.

Star of David geometry looking upward

Even more awesome when illuminated at night

A spirit circle was also created with bamboo and living materials to honor the support of all the natural systems in the creation of this environment.
a nest at the top filled with offerings from the group reaches towards the sky

For more information, please visit Balifornia's website


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Earthen Sculpture on the Ithaca Commons

As past of the 'Art in the Heart of the City' program this year, I was selected to create a sculpture on the Downtown Ithaca Commons. I created a sculptural bench that doubles as a play structure for kids. I constructed it during the annual Ithaca Festival and hundreds of people got to witness the building process.
"Yes, this thing is made from clay, sand and straw"
the site before

Bringing adobe bricks I made the week before

A special pass to drive on the pedestrian mall!

The foundation stones set

The arches formed

Adding sculptural cob to tie the arches together

Reinforcing butresses

Kids love it already!

Making cob
with my mom!

More kids get involved

underside of the arches before plastering

Starting the reclaimed tile mosaic

purple plaster!

Andrew, my faithful Ithacan building partner, enjoying the bench

Yes, arches are strong, even when made of mud!

the finished piece