Building with Straw and Clay

Learn how to insulate your home naturally

Mentored by

Ed Dale-Harris of SAWA

Architect, Regenerative Designer, Builder, Grower

Location address: Builth Wells, LD2 3HH
Chosen age group:

Ages: children 16 - 18 · adults 18+ years

Available tickets:
Standard £30Concession £20
Next date: None - Register your interest
A summary
Actives: * Introduction to Earth in Permaculture, studying the Ethics and Principles * Observations Exercise - the element: earth, feeling different clay and sand mixes * Learn how to source clay and find it in abundance all around us * Find out how to test the clay for use in building * Getting our hands into the clay, learning about the different clay mixes for building plaster and blocks * Make some cob, light earth straw panels and test some plasters * Have fun bring family and friends and come play with the beautiful material of clay! This weekend is all about revelling in the wisdom of Clay and Straw and how you can apply this in your own home, discovering incredibly intelligent design that we can begin to incorporate in our lives. Expect lots of fun and laughter, getting our hands mucky and leaving with some awesome knowledge from a master of natural building and Permaculture! This will be a wonderfully community spirited project - come join us!
About your mentor
Ed Dale-Harris of SAWA
Architect, Regenerative Designer, Builder, Grower
ARB Architect, Edward Dale-Harris believes we must look beyond sustainability and move towards regeneration, we have to change our destructive behaviour and do much better to protect nature as citizens of the earth and stewards of the land. When we heal the land, we also heal ourselves. We need more ‘self-directed learning’ to build self reliance, wellness and confidence. We must learn to share resources to create a healthier planet for all. Ed realises the importance of a mindfulness approach to regenerative design, using nature as our teacher, and valuing a collective and collaborative decision-making process for a grounded and successful project. He is on a mission to introduce others to socially, environmental and mindful way of life and to keep his learnings at a fair cost to enable all people from all walks of life and be truly inclusive. Ed qualified as an Architect in 2017 and has gained many awards for his design, commitment, vision, compassion, charity work, environmental and peace building projects. In 2014 Ed founded SAWA with Enock Ruziga in Rwanda whilst working together on the 'a house for a victim' project. In 2015 Ed received the ‘RIBA North West London Society Award’ at the CASS Design School for this project, nominated as the best live and community engaged project. Ed spent eight weeks on site building a compressed earth block (CEB) house with recently-released prisoners and some of the families of their victims. The project was instigated by Ed and the Ntarama House Building Cooperative, to facilitate development and peace-building in post genocide Rwanda. The cooperative was set up by REACH, a local reconciliation focused charity, to help reintegrate perpetrators back into their community, by enabling them to build homes for victims of the genocide. This profound experience and research propelled the work of SAWA into the world of socially, environmental and ethical architecture. Ed has grown SAWA, into a collective of freelance professionals and pro-bono network of supporters. The structure is flat it has no hierarchy, each project is discussed openly and relationships and roles are defined on a project basis which meet the specific needs and constraints of each project. Ed has collaborated with a range of community groups, individuals, charities, private businesses and professionals to deliver the best holistic well rounded result, fair to the environment and all. In 2016 Ed received the ‘RIBAJ Rising Star 2016 Cohort Award’ for We Yone School in the Ebola-affected region of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Enabling 180 of the most vulnerable children in the community to attend primary school and provide a community space for adult learning. WYCF, the client, which nominated him for the RIABJ award, says: ‘Ed demonstrated a commitment to the charity’s mission and vision that made it very easy to entrust him with a great deal of responsibility. Ed would deliver design iterations while involving other experts to improve overall robustness (rammed earth consultants, pro bono volunteers from international engineering companies and partners from architectural firms)... he conducted workshops with men, women and children and the community’s vision became firmly embedded in the design. He adapted to... poor internet, uncompetitive contracting, bad weather, language barriers, variable conceptions of time, etc.' In 2019 Ed received ‘The Agri Tech Centre AJ100 Best Collaboration of the year Award’ with Squire and Partners, with the judges describing it as ‘an exceptional example of architectural practices doing charitable work in the developing world’. Ed has spent a large amount of time volunteering his skills in Rwanda and Mozambique, while seeing festivals as an opportunity to be socially active and experimental in the UK. Delivering projects in challenging environments: post '14 Ebola Sierra Leone, post genocide '94 Rwanda and '79 Cambodia and post '15 earthquake Nepal. Working closing with international and grassroots organisations to deliver appropriate and considered results. Since 2022 Ed has been living and working from a Tiny House of his own. It has been towed from farm to farm, project to project, displaying the joys of regenerative living wherever it goes. His Tiny House allowed him to live in close proximity to his projects and take a very hands on approach. In March 2024 Ed moved to Builth Wells, Powsy, Wales were he is creating a homestead and showcase of regenerative living.
Accommodation, Lunch and Details
Accommodation: Camping is available at Greatham Village Hall, St John’s Field, but need to agreed prior to arrival. Bring your own tent and bedding etc. There are toilet facilities at the campsite, but no showers, we can offer showers at the neighbours house if needed. You are welcome to camp with us from the evening before the course begins. Radical inclusion: We would like to make sure this opportunity is available to all people from all backgrounds, wealth, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, identity etc. This course is open to 16 years and up. For students between 16 - 18 an adult will need to sign a waiver on arrival provided by me. Volunteering Further on the build might be possible get in contact at to register interest SAWA Workshops There's a WhatsApp Group you can join to hear more about it all: Food: Vegan/Sugar free - Lunch will be provided on the teaching days. Fresh salads from the garden, and orchard fresh apples as well as a selection of teas and coffee for break times. Meals will be nutritionally balanced to provide an exquisite experience for your tastebuds as well as filling your bellies and giving you plenty of energy for the teaching days. Please advise us of any dietary requirements so preparations can be made in advance or bring your own to supplement. Inclusion We would like to make sure this opportunity is available to all people from all backgrounds, wealth, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, identity etc. Families are welcome with children and 8-18 years plus are able to attend alone parents will need to sign a waiver at drop off.
Flow of a Typical Day
Flow of a Typical Day Morning Informal body breath movement session will be offered from 8am. Breakfast Self Organised at Camp Site PotLuck Porridge (do bring something to add to the pot) Followed by all meeting together at 9am for the Circle Check in Session One - 10am - 1pm (with a 15 mins tea and snack break at 11.30) Lunch Break 1 - 2pm - Vegan warm Indian lightly spiced kitchari and fresh foraged kitchen garden salad lunch will be brought to the site and we will eat together there. Session Two - 2pm - 5pm (with a 15 mins tea and snack break at 3.30) Relax time is your own, head to camp site Dinner Self Organised at Camp Site - perhaps a potluck stew (do bring something to add to the pot) The evening is your own - self organised campfires, sing songs and story telling welcome.
Pricing information
Ticket nameStandard
InformationPrices are a recommended donation, please let me know if you would like to donate a different amount. You can just come for one day that is fine too.
Ticket nameConcession
Where we'll be
SAWA Architecture, 2 Tyny Y Graig Cottage, Builth Wells, Powys, LD2 3HH
Basic DBS
Risk Assessment
First Aid Kit
Smoke Detector

Please note

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Cancellation Policy
Cancel more than one week before the start to receive a full refund.

My experience consists of a leisure activity, on a specific date(s), and therefore the 14-day ‘cooling off period’ under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 does not apply.