Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TADELAKT workshop!

After only about a year and a half of intense learning in natural building, I decided to teach a workshop! Thanks to Tammy's encouragement in Bandon, Oregon, I just finished a very successful 5 days of tadelakt and lime plaster teaching :) 

If you missed my original posting and are wondering what Tadelakt is... click here!

The finished tadelakt shower. Great job on the workshop, team!
The first day was a one-day "Introduction to Tadelakt" workshop. It began with a thorough presentation and overview of tadelakt and lime plaster and then everyone applied a tadelakt finish to a "cobject."

Participants burnishing their tadelakt cobjects
The cobjects, color samples, and stones
Finished tadelakt cobjects!
Prior to the one-day workshop, my assistant Alexandra Nathan and I did a lot of preparation to get ready and make sure everything would go well... 

First we made samples of different lime plasters to use as our substrate and our tadelakt plaster. We varied the amount of sand and lime in each to find a good amount of strength, drying, and shine. Then we tested all the pigments that Tammy has purchased to see what colors we were most interested in. We added to and roughed up the earthen plaster (or brown coat) that had been applied over the cob and eventually applied the lime plaster substrate. We also had chosen some colors that we liked for the shower, so we added some "bubbles" to the interior of the bathhouse to test out the tadelakt.

Substrate and Tadelakt Lime Plaster Samples w/ cat prints!
Scratched up Earthen Plaster
Alex and I with Pigment Samples

Applying the Lime Plaster Substrate
Completed Substrate
Alex applying Lime Plaster for Tadelakt Bubbles
Finished Tadelakt "Bubbles" (the white substrate will be covered up later
when the cob walls are plastered) next to the many glass window bubbles

Pouring the tadelakt pigment into the lime plaster. Such a pretty color!

ooohhh... loving that mix :)

working with one of the workshop participants on lime plaster troweling

Applying the second layer of lime plaster for the tadelakt

The dry burnishing on the first day always
goes into the night.  We finished at 11 pm!

Amazing! We got 8 people in there burnishing! I "supervised" :) 

Here, I was repairing a little ding in the tadelakt. Good demo opportunity!

What a GREAT team! Thanks for an awesome workshop! 
This is darker than it will ultimately dry,
but it'll stay mottled. Isn't is gorgeous?
LOVE the variation!
Burnishing away... in the clouds? :)
We all LOVE tadelakt!
This amazing crew finished the very last of the burnishing
This is the largest of the stones that we used to
burnish the tadelakt.  Most are much smaller!
Tammy came up with a great invention!
A handle on that tiny stone!
As we were leaving, the tiny "microfissures" were just starting to appear.
You can see them, but can't feel them. They are so beautiful!

But that's not all! We also were able to lime plaster and burnish the bottom of the exterior of the shower building!
We gave these sea creatures a lime plaster update!
and Linda did a demonstration of her burnished fresco technique!
What an action packed and wonderful experience. I can't wait to do it again! Let me know if you know of a place to host another... 


  1. Wow Laura, these tadelakt projects turned out beautifully! It warms my heart to see the mud that we into a building now looking so lovely. Even though we weren't there at the same time, I am so happy to have had a chance to collaborate with you on the same project. Thank you for posting such beautiful photos and thanks for sprucing up those sea creatures. The lime plaster will hold up much better in the Bandon weather. Hope to see you again soon.

  2. I absolutely love your blog! I have read the entire thing. This page is my favorite. I'm fascinated by Tadelakt and the shower house. I am hoping I can build one on my land out in the country this early spring if I can round up some volunteers. I've been searching for information on how to build an off grid cob shower house (finished in Tadelakt) with a composting toilet. This is how I came across your blog. Thank you!

    1. I'm happy that you found my blog helpful! ...and honored that you read the whole thing! Where are you planning to build?

  3. thanks Laura
    looks fabulous
    love to send you images from your workshop
    best aresh
    917 518 9987

  4. Hi - are you offering any more workshops? I'd like any info on them -

  5. Hi Laura, This post is awesome! I'm a student researching Tadelakt with plans to use it in the bathroom and shower of a nonprofit design build project and stumbled upon your post. I am curious to know more - where do you purchase your materials?

  6. Hi Ali! Glad the post is useful to you. Most materials should be able to be found locally... we used Type S lime and graded mason sand. The pigment was purchased online. Sorry, I'm out of the country for a few months and don't have access to my notes, so I can't be a lot more help than that. Where are you building? Maybe I can put you in touch with someone that is knowledgeable in your area.

    1. We are in Denver, CO but will be building in Moab, UT. Thanks for your help!

  7. Hi Laura, where did you host this tadelakt course?

    1. Hi Stephen, The workshop was in Bandon, Oregon (USA)


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