Building Skills Workshop

The next building skills workshop will be held in 2020 - Stay Tuned!

Since 1986 Turtle Island has led countless learners in the construction of buildings and structures from pic nic shelters, barns, animal enclosures, primitive human dwellings, outdoor kitchens, out-buildings and more. We source natural materials right from our surroundings like strawbale, cobb and local timber. We also reclaim, reuse and repurpose materials from pre-existing buildings. As they say... One man's trash is another man's treasure... Our passion is to share the empowerment of creating what you need from the materials at hand. Come learn with us!


Nick spreading mud over strawbalesOur natural building classes guide beginners in taking local, natural materials: in this case - sticky dirt and sand - to make a plaster while working together in a communal project of finishing the outer walls of an existing strawbale cottage.


“Hands-on and How-to by doing it” best describes the way we will spend our time together discovering earthen building styles, techniques, ethics and philosophical beliefs.



Liam leading a mix crewWe concentrate not only on learning how to forage for materials, evaluate them, mix them and use them for plastering walls, but also in making and using a cob infill mixture to chink between the logs on an uber-authentic hand-carved log cabin. We will also experiment with cob construction on other sites on campus. This workshop shares information and skills on how to build simply from local sustainable materials.


We at Turtle Island have always valued and fought for the freedom to empower people with abilities and understanding to build by “earth-first” techniques. We even generated the NC House Bill 774This bill was unanimously voted on and signed into law in 2013 – verifying that we can use the human right to build and experiment with alternative techniques and materials.