Anaig is a specialist in clay renders and I have worked along side her on a couple of straw bale build projects. Here was slightly different, it was her project. For years she has put her time, energy and expertise into building houses for others and now it is her turn. I wasn’t sure how the experience was going to unfold. Either there was going to be stress, angst and aiming for perfection or else a very laid back attitude. Thankfully it was the latter. A great team of volunteers, mainly there to gain experience before their own builds and some just for the sheer heck of participation and in return for the great work they have already received. I think that once you’ve done some clay rendering there is always a hankering to do a bit more. It gets into your blood so to speak.
I’d missed the first week, where they’d concentrated on rendering the outside of the building and arrived just as the interior was commencing. There had just been raw bales of straw at the start, which need to be promptly covered to protect them from the elements and rodent attack. We worked at an unpressured pace, achieving a huge amount of work within the allotted time. Just a small section upstairs to complete at a later date and a couple of patches that needed quiet, undivided attention to get right. I got stuck in to some of the more challenging tasks such as corners and getting the two sides of doorway and window openings to match. It was great to be given the opportunity, wonderful to have advice and guidance of a professional within the field and a proud moment to be told that my work was ‘superb’ by someone as exacting as Anaig.
The week flew by, we never left the building site, dining in the adjacent barn or outside when it was fine, showering in a makeshift shower room with camping showers hoisted up by a pulley system and spending the evenings discussing our various projects and plans for the future.
I’ll have to pop back again later in the year to see how work is progressing. The site stops and starts as Anaig is still working on other projects to fund her build.
|what a beautiful setting|
|waiting for windows, doors, cladding and a roof|
|core render complete|
|straw walls before render|
|now that's a picture frame|
|some of the tools we used|