Hosting Workshops

If you are interested in hosting a workshop, you should review the following information. We tend to discourage people from hosting workshops, not because we don't want them to do it, but rather because it can be a lot of work and you need to be really serious and dedicated to make a workshop happen. In our view, it is better if a workshop is never scheduled, then if it is cancelled at the last minute.

NOTE: Our workshops are intended to provide instruction in areas where these courses are not available. The goal is for there to be local instructors wherever people are interested in learning, so we provide these courses with the hope that some of our students will continue to develop their skills and go on to become local instructors. Because of this we will not (knowingly) teach courses in competition with local instructors. "Local" for our purposes is currently defined as instructors from your country who are teaching a comparable course located within your country and less than a reasonable one day drive from your location.

Hosts New to Cob

Normally hosts who have not already taken the "Basics of Cob" or a similar five to seven day introductory cob course will be expected to pay for the course just like other students though you will receive the maximum of all discounts offered for the workshop and since a significant portion of the workshop fees are given to the hosts to provide food and other amenities for the students, your actual out of pocket cost for both hosting and participating in the course will most likely be 50% or less of the full price for the course. Typically, other instructors will not offer workshops on sites where the host has not already taken a basics of cob course to ensure adequate preparation. The reason we are able to offer a course in this manner is that the instructor arrives a week in advance, making our overhead higher for these workshops than would normally be the case with an experienced cobber hosting it. This allows us to teach in new areas where no one has been able to take the Basics of Cob course. Despite possibly having to pay for the workshop, hosting still has many advantages:

  • You will spend a great deal of time with the instructor outside of the workshop so there will be more opportunities to learn, not just cob, but a whole host of other related topics.
  • Your site, soil, plans, etc. will be assessed by the instructor in preparation for the workshop
  • Your project will get a significant jump start by having all the students working on it for a week.
  • Typically at least some of the students will be fairly local to you and often will be interested in continuing to work on your project in order to keep in practice until they decide what to build.

If you wish to host a workshop on different financial terms such as leaving control in your hands and just hiring us to provide an instructor, we would certainly be willing to discuss it further.

Basic Duties

These are things it will be your responsibility to provide as the host of the workshop (workshop durations are also listed)

Basic requirements:

  • A building site (some place to put whatever we are going to build)
  • Toilet and Shower Facilities (these can be simple/primitive)
  • Ample water both for building and drinking / cleanup
  • Meal preparation
  • Any permits which you may feel are necessary for the project
  • Registrations
  • Money collection
  • Local advertising
  • Translators (if needed)

Cob workshop requirements (5 days or longer):

  • A copy on hand of the book: "The Hand Sculpted House" by Evans, Smith, and Smiley, This is the text book for the course.
  • Soil with adequate clay content and possibly sandy soil as well
  • Straw
  • Sufficient completed foundation for constructing the walls during the workshop (exact requirements will be provided well before the workshop). Depending on what we build and where it is located, this requirement may be very simple requiring almost no work, just digging a trench and arranging for some large rock to be on hand (a garden wall in pretty much any location) to a steel reinforced rock and cement stem wall. For a first project on a site, we recommend a garden wall or tiny garden shed as these are the most likely to be completed after the workshop is over and have the least difficult foundation requirements.
  • Buckets
  • Wheel Barrows
  • Polyethylene Tarps
  • Long level (1 meter/four foot or longer)
  • Machette
  • Old hand saw (that we can modify for cob work) and a coarse file

Plasters workshop requirements (TBA):

  • Everything (except foundation) listed under cob workshop requirements above
  • Remaining items TBD, contact us for more information

Rocket stove workshop requirements (2 days):

  • Everything listed under cob workshop requirements above
  • Fire bricks or basic clay building bricks
  • Large empty metal drum
  • Some form of fire proof insulation (pumice, vermiculite, etc.)
  • Stove pipe

Earthen oven workshop requirements (2 days):

  • Everything listed under cob workshop requirements above
  • Fire bricks or basic clay building bricks
  • Stove pipe (optional)

Minimum workshop sizes

Four students are the bare minimum to make a workshop viable, and a larger minimum group size may be necessarry for some workshops depending on location and other factors. Maximum for one instructor working alone is 14, for two instructors, 20 or more may be feasible.


Payment is due for all participants in cash (local currency), before the course begins.


Meals need to be provided for everyone taking the workshop because participants will not have the time and energy to do any cooking. It is preferable if provisions are made for vegetarians, since many people interested in natural building (including the instructors) are vegetarian or vegan. This may necessitate hiring someone to cook for the workshop. It may be possible to prepare foods in advance to heat and serve during the workshop, or possibly just have simple foods that don't require cooking available for people to prepare their own (sandwich ingredients, cereals, fruits, raw vegetables, etc.). We highly recommended that you not attempt to both fix meals and attend the workshop, this probably causes more stress for the workshop hosts than anything else. Workshop participants can be expected to participate in the meal setup and cleanup but not cooking.

One important major consideration is that cob is a lot of work, expect people to eat twice as much food as people might typically eat when leading a sedentary lifestyle, so the food supplies and budget should be figured accordingly.

Instructor requirements

In addition to our fees for the course, food and accomodations (a place to pitch a tent is adequate) must be provided for the instructor(s) during their time on the site.

To ensure that preparations are adequate for the course, when working on a new site with hosts who have never taken a cob course before, instructors will arrive approximately one week before the course to allow time to get acquainted with local materials, weather conditions and soil composition, as well as ensure that the site is ready to begin the course. For workshop hosts who have previously taken a cob workshop, the instructor(s) may opt to arrive later, counting on the experience of the hosts to deal with any problems.

Short or Long Courses

Short courses may be offered as a quick introduction to the topic, these are generally not adequate to allow a person to do serious work with the technique, but serve rather to give a person a little better understanding to decide if they wish to learn more.


Children are welcome at cob courses, and sites are generally quite safe, however, children below about 12 years of age are often not interested enough to take part in the full course.


Typically during each course at least one evening will include a slide show and talk about natural building in general and a variety of related topics, assuming facilities are available for the show. Other evenings, discussions, campfires, music, etc. may be possible options. Separate talks and cob demonstrations can be set up for members of the community who are unable to attend the workshop, please visit this page for more information.

Course prices

Course prices are set in local currency, the final price for the course will be based on both our costs and the expenses of workshop hosts.


If you are still interested in hosting a workshop, please contact: Shannon Dealy,