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Thatching Workshop 2014

Thatching Workshop 2014

150 150 Strawbale Studio

On Saturday Jan 18th, some lucky visitors of the Strawbale Studio enjoyed learning about Thatching techniques. This is one of the many awesome  workshops SBS offers on sustainable building.

Thatching Frame

Participants started off learning about the basics of thatching indoors (due to Jan weather). This included learning how to lash and tie a quick-release knot for making reed bundles in the field (literally a reed field haha). The square lashing knot was also learned so students could make a round pole lashed wood frame in the future.  After practicing, everyone then went outside to gather by the earth oven and bonfire pit. Here was a round pole frame built by Deanne’s Winterns earlier in the week for the purpose of practicing thatching and creating a wood shed by the firepit. Everyone watched and participated in a demonstration of how to attach bundles of reeds to the frame, using reed bundles that Winterns had collected the day before. Lastly, before breaking for lunch, everyone received a tour of some of the completed thatch structures on the premises, such as Kids Cottage, to see examples of finished products. So cool!

Reed Collecting!

After lunch, out in the reed field Winterns taught and helped new folks harvest reed bundles of their own. Very labor intensive stuff! As a reward, everyone sat down at the end and watched a video on thatching that showed different ways it can be done. Some of these examples were based on the types of reeds or from specific places such as England and Denmark.

Some who attended the workshop plan to apply their newly learned thatching skills as soon as possible. For example, a couple named Brook and Steve are looking to buy land near Grand Rapids and start an eco-village. We wish them luck!

One of the Winterns stated how really satisfying it was to see the flow of thatching after only a few layers of bundled reeds were attached to the frame. Also, how great it was to see examples of finished work around the property.

How many of these bundles do you think there are on the Strawbale Studio? 2000!!!

Attached Reed Bundles to Frame

The experience overall made this Wintern feel she gained a lot of respect for the people that do this professionally and for the craft itself. The professionals seen in the video were so fast, like machines, while this group is just at the beginning of the learning process.  Feel inspired like them? Contact Deanne to hear when the next workshop on thatching will be held!