Earth Building UK and Ireland – Fostering Earth Building

Earth Building UK and Ireland – Fostering Earth Building

Earth Building UK and Ireland conference and workshops week:

CLAYFEST June 12th to 17th 2017

The renaissance of earth building in the UK reflects not only the beauty and utility of the material but also the pressures of rising building costs and the need for lower energy use and waste in building products.

This is Earth Building UK and Ireland, EBUKI’s third Clayfest as a way of sharing specialist knowledge and supporting the growing earth building community. This year we are excited to bring four days of expert-led workshops to Lincoln Heritage Skills Centre, based within the grounds of fabulous Lincoln Castle. These will be supplemented by tours of the best local earth buildings in Lincoln and followed by a conference in the University of Lincoln on Friday about the emerging science on clay.


Workshops will be run by international leaders and will cover a wide range of subjects from earth structures to decorative finishes. Techniques included will be cob, adobe, rammed earth, Lincolnshire ‘Mud and Stud’ and clay and fibre structures. Clay and fibre and clay and lime mortared structures will be joined by master classes in earth plasters to show some of the range of materials and finishes possible.

Clay mortars, with or without lime are now recognised to comprise a high percentage of historic and conservation masonry structures. Versatile, locally available, breathable and low emission clay mortars are due a comeback and can be used in anything from self-build to sky scrapers.

Locally Lincolnshire has a long tradition of ‘Mud and Stud’, a robust form of wattle and daub also taken with the first ships from England to North America. At Clayfest Rob Ley and Trevor Oliver, two local experts, will teach this technique from start to finish by constructing a small building, complete with openings and roof connections.

Adobe and rammed earth, two techniques used worldwide, will combine to produce a domed oven that can burn straw and twigs. Based on a Spanish design from a region with little standing woodland this workshop will show the skills needed to make adobe bricks and mortar as well as how to set out simple and complex geometry, all on a rammed earth plinth.

Our cob workshops will show everything from the most basic to complex. With the versatility and durability of this material, it’s no wonder it has been used all up the west coast of both the UK and Ireland in the worst of all weathers, as well as many other places. The cob workshops combine brilliantly with our demonstration on the use of combining clay and fibres to make complex shapes and different surfaces with eye, hand and tool.

Clay plasters are increasingly finding their way into art galleries and fast food restaurants. Their excellent abilities to mop up humidity and VOCs make them ideal for the increasingly sealed indoor environments, where we spend perhaps 80% to 90% of our lives. They can also produce stunning effects, beautiful colours, many textures and all from materials either bought in a bag or dug from site.

There will be pop-up sessions from a range of British and European partner organisations. There will be daily shows of a French teaching system showing how earth, air, water and force are able to produce earth structures, from loose grains to solid walls.


Earth Building UK and Ireland – Fostering Earth Building