Connecting people, culture and nature

Walls of Earth: Natural Building Workshop« back to WORKSHOPS

September 27 – October 2, 2021

$880 (includes all meals)

A five-day introduction to earthen-wall techniques at the Canelo Project.

Come and learn a range of natural-building techniques with us as we fill in the walls of our new timber-framed shop. This is a great introduction to earthen-wall building with tons of hand-on experience. It is perfect for beginners or people with some experience wanting to expand their skills.

You will leave with a broad understanding of the world of earthen building, giving you the confidence to start something on your own, be it a small backyard project or basic earthen walls for your house.

We will be covering a range of different techniques for earthen wall building, from adobe and straw-clay bricks, cob, and wattle-and-daub walls to stone foundations. We will also touch on earthen finishes. We will take a close look at these materials and how you might source them in your local area. A large element of this workshop will include processing and refining materials to give you an understanding of the mixes. It will be very hands-on so be ready to get muddy!

Check out our video that shows some of the techniques covered in this workshop. Like and subscribe to the Nito Project.

More Workshop Information (including food & lodging)

Click here to register

Course Outline:

September 27
– Arrival throughout the afternoon
– 8pm introduction, meet and greet
– Dinner included

September 28 – Day 1
– Introduction to mud building
– Making adobes and mixing cob
– Applying cob
– Looking at stone foundations

September 29 – Day 2
– Introduction to earthen walls and mortar
– Continue cob
– Mixing adobe mortar
– Adobe laying

September 30 – Day 3
– Introduction to wattle and daub
– Stone sills
– Making bamboo wattle and mixing daub

October 1 – Day 4
– Canelo Site tour
– Applying daub to walls

October 2 – Day 5
– Introduction to plastering and finishes
– Base coat plastering
– Course ends at 4pm

October 3
– Breakfast


Brothers, Benito and Arjuna (Oso) Steen were born and raised in southeastern Arizona where their parents teach natural building. They come from a long lineage of artists and makers and grew up surrounded by people from around the world coming in with new skills and crafts every day.

Homeschooled, they both gravitated early on as teenagers towards the trades and arts such as: plastering, blacksmithing and woodworking.  

Benito is a builder and artist, who strives to find the connection between space and beauty, shelter and nature, the hand and materials. He has taught natural building throughout Latin American and Southeast Asia.  Always learning and experimenting he mixes old techniques with the new, to create beautifully sustainable and healthy houses.

Arjuna (Oso) is a master carpenter and woodworker. He has built several strawbale houses with natural plasters. He enjoys bringing innovative solutions to the all creative work he does.