June 18, 2009

Five Oaks Farm Oven

Andre, Jeremy, Asher and Skylar Peven First bake fireFirst pizza bites with CarolGarden harvestView from the gardenBarry rolls out the dough with his sonsOculus!

* * * * *
Five Oaks Farm is a small family farm located on the Henry Wilhelm Estate that was built in 1865 and is a historic landmark. The farm is located just off the Oregon Trail and was originally 160 acres with a house, chicken coop, sheep barn, stable, and black smith. The original outhouse is still hidden in the blackberries. The apple orchard, walnut tree and grape vines continue to fruit like gifts from the pioneers who settled here over 150 years ago.

Carol and Barry knew at first sight that the wonderful and historic Victorian house with a homestead apple orchard, original barns and five towering oak trees was where they wanted to live, grow their pesto business and raise their four boys.

I lead a workshop on how to build a wood fired earthen oven, and designed an outdoor kitchen/gathering place near their vegetable garden. Thanks so much to all of the neighbors and friends that helped!
* * * * *
Some photos of the process:Choosing the siteBuilding the baseSifting clay
Building the domeOpening the oven
Ready for plaster
A tiny celebratory fire

Martha Grace tunes up for orchestra practice as we plaster and finish the roof

The Peven boys make the pizzasThe roof structure is stout!

June 16, 2009


Pedro and Adriana's Cob Temascal Sweat Lodge is one of the wonderful natural buildings near Share-It Square. I had the pleasure of applying an earthen finish plaster and installing a sculpted face within the walls of the building.

The face, sculpted by Lynn, had previously been a part of a Share-It Square Bench. The bench had been deconstructed and re-built. The face, being so beautiful, had been saved...waiting patiently for a new home. I sawed and chiseled off the remaining bulk of the bench and then carved away a place in the sauna's interior to place her.

The experience of angel paring and wall deconstruction furthered my awareness and belief in the strength of cob! So strong and heavy! I am looking forward to a sweat later this week. :)

Above is the sauna. The yellow building in the background is Portland's first code approved straw bale addition. It is so lovely and it is 300 sq ft

I taught paint and plaster classes during the VBC. We made and applied different colored aliz around the windows before the finish plaster was applied.
We also installed an angel face.Two Angel faces! Adriana and Santiago.Annette and Adriana place thoughtful blessings in the wall.

June 6, 2009

VBC- Solar Powered Cat Palace

Drawing and design concept by Mark Lakeman
I am currently in Portland, Oregon at The Village Building Convergence. This year I am teaching cob building and we are building a Cat Palace. It is quite a beautiful structure that is emerging!

When Mark called me a few months ago and said "Would you help me build a 24 solar powered cat palace?" Well, of course I said "Yes!"

Yes, it is true. Full of creativity and kitty amenities. There will be a fan roof at the top and it will be a radial photovoltaic structure for powering the palace's lighting and waterfall systems. There will also be passive solar gain for the "Willie The Cat Memorial Catnip Lounge", as well as numerous other feline amenities such as a skyscape viewing platform and a cave-like cat porch, yet to be named.

The Cat Palace is right around the corner from the
Share-It Square Angel Bench and The 24 Tea Station.
What a wonderful neighborhood!
The above photo is of seedum on the living roof of the neighbor's
cob sauna which I will plaster while I am here.
At this moment....still to be completed- final form removed, finish plaster and details, roofing and more shingles on patio roofs, pv system installed, fishtank, etc.