May 2011 Volume VII
SPAIN, MEXICO, & COLOMBIA WORKSHOPS PLANNED
A Note From Dastan Khalili & Sheefteh Khalili
We are excited and proud to announce three more international workshops planned this year. Information for each workshop is below — please spread the word and let others know about these workshops, they will all be taught in a combination of Spanish and English and cover all the main topics taught at Cal-Earth. The specific details of each workshop can also be found here.
Director's Corner: Spanning Two Worlds
My partner and I recently bought a wrecked old house not far from Cal-Earth. The house was vandalized by thieves seeking copper piping. Through some remarkable good fortune, however, the home owners insurance from the previous owners was still active and we were able to make a claim for 80% of the damage. Many things were replaced including floors and countertops but the last remaining bathroom countertop was NOT replaced because it had not been damaged in the break-ins. This remaining countertop was hideous and the contractor wanted $300 to do the job without insurance payment. We decided that this was too much and that we should just go ahead and do a home-grown, earthen counter-top ourselves. It came out great, we solved our problem, and it cost us less than $20.00!
Now... you might be wondering what this all has to do with Cal-Earth? Under the creative and technical leadership of Mark Harmon, there has been all kinds of experimentation with interior finish work. We did earthen tiles inside one of our recently renovated pre-existing houses on the Cal-Earth campus and went on to do a series of countertops in a similar fashion with each effort building on the knowledge gained from previous efforts. With some successes and some less-than-perfect results, we came to understand exactly what it takes to do a plaster countertop of the highest caliber and something whose beauty is really just unmatched by anything commercially available. What we are talking about here is something of an art piece. It might be worth adding, for those who are new to the work of Cal-Earth and architect Nader Khalili, that there has always been a tradition of art and invention at Cal-Earth going back many years and spanning things like hand-crafted animal sculptures, to many ceramic-orientated experiments and production. When we are not teaching or doing super-adobe work directly, forays into art and ceramics often occur.
So back to the story at my own house... Sometime after we'd finished doing our own countertop, our contractor showed up again and got his eye on it. He loved it and wouldn't stop talking about it whenever we saw him! Something about the hand-sculpted look really captured him and the price... who could possibly argue with that?
It is now one month later and my partner just gave a tour of Cal-Earth to a visitor. The tour began routinely, but at the conclusion of the tour, the visitor said that he heard about Cal-Earth through one of his employees who wouldn't shut up about some sort of "mud" countertop he'd seen at a job-site near Cal-Earth! Pretty soon my partner and the visitor came to understand that the countertop in question was ours and that the contractor who'd been working on our house had said so much about this "mud" countertop that his boss (the visitor) had to come and check out Cal-Earth for himself. Well... he just signed up for a workshop today and this is a guy who runs a contracting company doing large volumes of conventional renovations. Our simple little "mud" countertop triggered a whole chain of events which resulted in this individual signing up to learn how to do the super-adobe work for himself. I think this is heartening since it may seem that our work with earthen architecture is on the fringe somehow or that it is just not within the aesthetic comfort zone of most people. Yet here we have an experienced contractor who sees something in this work and who has decided that it is beautiful enough that he wants to be able to incorporate it into his own personal and professional life.
We often underplay the importance of cultural and aesthetic acceptability when we talk about this architecture and yet these two things are perhaps the most important factors to any hope of widespread adoption of this work. To see earth architecture finding its way into the mainstream is exciting and needed. And this is why Nader Khalili decided to build the house known as Earth One.
Earth One was designed to be a hybrid; to span the sometimes hard-to-cross gulf between conventional housing and earthen housing. The longer I'm around this work, the more I'm convinced that earth architecture and earthen arts are going to take their place amongst the other choices that consumers want for their homes and for their furnishing. The longer I am around earthen materials and natural elements, the more I see that others, whose tastes may be characterized as more mainstream, are ready to embrace this work and that right now, at this time when societies all over the world are in such flux, this work can now safely span the two worlds of "conventional" and "alternative" without so much as a single comment as to it's merits, or it's beauty, or it's affordability ... except, perhaps ... "where do I learn how to do this?"
2011 Workshop Season
Learn to Build
One Week Workshops
Application and more information
Interested in Studying Long Term? Now Accepting Applicants for May and September
As you may know, Cal Earth is in a dynamic state of growth and expansion. We have always attributed our successes to our students and apprentices — under the good leadership and inspiration of founding architect Nader Khalili.
The long term apprenticeship program is geared more to those who might like to make a career out of this work or who might like to teach and train others in sustainable or "green building". Those interested in designing or building an eco-village would be advised to sign up for the long-term apprenticeship. Additionally, the program will prepare you to lead a larger and more complex project-perhaps for a client or community.
The long-term apprenticeship is 3 months long-- or more, upon agreement with Cal Earth. Clearly, the longer an apprentice is at Cal Earth, the more deeply the subjects will be understood. Programs begin each February, May, and September. Furthermore, many other opportunities to learn other building skills like plumbing and electrical can be picked up during the long-term apprenticeship. We have a list of necessary criteria for successful completion of a long-term apprenticeship and the fulfillment of these criteria is followed by an off-site building project which must be professionally executed. Long-term apprenticeships must begin with a one-week workshop during which evaluation and determination will take place.
After the program is successfully completed there may be many opportunities for teaching, training, traveling overseas — and all manner of future endeavors. If anyone is interested in the long-term or one-week apprenticeship programs, please contact Cal Earth.
Combined Superadobe and Permaculture Workshop — November 2011
Cal-Earth Institute and Midwest Permaculture are combining their recognized and established certificate trainings for a rare and powerful learning opportunity!
Dates: November 8-19, 2011 (12 days total- 4 day Superadobe Workshop, 8 day Permaculture Design Workshop)
Cost: $2500 (includes Cal-Earth Workshop Certificate of Completion, Full set of Cal-Earth Books and DVDs, Permaculture Design Course Certificate, Permaculture Design Book, Access to both Cal-Earth & Midwest Permaculture Forum) As with all Cal-Earth workshops, some partial scholarships are available.
Topics Covered by Midwest Permaculture: Observations and Patterns, Principles and Ethics of Permaculture, Designing for Different Climatic Zones, Soils, Plants, and Trees, Guilds and Polycultures, Water and Earthworks, Utilizing Micro-climates, Aquaculture, Planning the Homestead, Bio-Fuels, Urban and Suburban Permaculture, and others. Visit the website for a full list.
Full workshop details can be found on the website at: http://calearth.org/permaculture
Featured Alumni Project: Joshua Tree, CA
In this film, visionary architect Nader Khalili teaches us the essence of designing Earth Architecture using Superadobe technology. He shares the secrets of nature’s timeless principles and timeless materials to design homes, infrastructure, eco-villages, and even a town, that work in harmony with the environment almost anywhere in the world. Khalili shows us how to integrate the forms and geometries of arches, domes, and vaults with natural forces such as gravity, friction, sun and wind. We learn practical and simple ways to design and construct a home or community that is resistant to fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake, or man-made disasters. To connect the audience with the tangible reality of this technical knowledge, his presentation is laced with inspirational stories from the wisdom of masters to his personal journey of discovery.
To purchase this book, please visit our online store: http://calearth.org/shop/index.php
In addition to our wonderful hats and t-shirts, Cal-Earth has recently release a brand new embroidered sweatshirt, now available for sale on the website. Cal-Earth is planning to release other products this year as well for all our fans out there who want to spread the word. It is our hope to be able to supplement our income as a nonprofit through the sale of these great products. Available in navy blue, forest green, and brown in sizes S-XL, this lovely hooded zip-up sweatshirt is 100% organic cotton and can be purchased for $42. To purchase please visit our online store:
Open House at Cal-Earth
A free event, held the first Saturday of every month (except August and on rainy days), Open House at Cal‐Earth has been a tradition for over a decade. Every year more people come to experience it for themselves and to teach their children how to build a sustainable future. Cal‐Earth associates and apprentices give tours and answer questions throughout the day. Most buildings are wheelchair accessible. Please no pets.
Open House Schedule:
in the journey of quest
i wish much grief
Rumi Dancing the Flame
|Elements Newsletter||May 2011, Volume VII|
Continuing in his tradition, Khalili's associates and apprentices are dedicated to research and education of the public in environmentally oriented arts and architecture. Its philosophy is based on the equilibrium of the natural elements of earth, water, air, fire, and their Unity at the service of the arts and humanity.
To donate to Cal-Earth, please visit our website:
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