Ms. Bathtub

Musings from Carye Bye of Portland, Ore.

My Photo
Location: Portland, Ore., United States

I may be Ms. Bathtub, but I hardly ever take baths.. I do shower that is, so don't worry!

I am the director of the Bathtub Art Museum and also run my own printing card & novelties business under the name Red Bat Press. I live in the great bike fun-friendly city of Portland.

I'm always up for a good adventure; however anything goes here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Imagine building a bench, outdoor covered area, or even a home with your own hands - using mostly a mixture of straw, clay, & sand, that will harden to form walls & decorative elements of the main structure. Even small children can help build & mix the building ingredients - A community affair, part social, part hard work, and a little dancing thrown in.

Last week, I participated in the building of my first cob (earthen) structure - as part of City Repair's Village Building Convergence. Matt & I worked on a new outdoor classroom for the International School in SW Portland. The end result will be a cob & wood beamed round structure with built in benches with a partially covered roof. This new structure sits on a hill near their community garden. Interesting enough, the International School is a elementary school with three language tracks - Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese - and is tucked between freeways in a nice little green space that is easier to get to by walking or bike.


It seemed best to take off ones shoes and get dirty. Taking big globs of mixed cob and slowly hand building a desired structure. It was like taking a pottery or clay class on the large scale! The project was going on for the entire week and with all the school kids helping out during and after school great progress was being made.

Before the end of the day, we mixed a new batch of cob - which was a bit like a trip to an outdoor gym club - We ran in place and boogied down to mix the clay, sand, and straw together. In fact Matt and I did a few do-si-dos and locked arms to spin around.

Matt is the real enthusiast as he just attended a week long class at the Cob Cottage Company in Coquille, Oregon to learn the basics of cob building from some real experts. My friend Dan Miller also attended the workshop and is in the process of building his own little cob home in North Portland - maybe he'll have a square-dancing cob building party this summer after he has the foundation set! Ye Haw!


Post a Comment

<< Home