You have a dream for a sustainable way to live and build. Are you ready to experience natural building?

Where would you like to begin?

sketch for a family home

Planning & Design

You have a project and need support in getting your concepts, vision, and planning in order.

I can take you from initial vision, consulting, and site visit to a clear concept plan. From there we can identify the best team to take it to reality.

Workshops and Teaching

Take a workshop

Join a group of like-minded folks for a hands-on training. It may be your holiday adventure or the beginning of a new life path. My promise is you will feel confident and encouraged and have lots of good memories.

Host a workshop

Design clients and organizations can book a workshop to boost their project. It’s a win-win situation.

Place making for community

Cob installations like benches, sculpted objects, ovens and garden walls will awaken community spirit far beyond the time of building. With planning and early involvement of all stakeholders we can bring life to our public spaces and to the private edges. Our imaginations and physics are the only limitations to our reality.

personal touch interior

Make your house natural

Adding some natural design features? A clay wall maybe? An addition? A nice garden element?

I can support renewals from small to big to bring the earth into your building and your life. A site visit will give a good first introduction to your ideas and how I may be able to help. If you’re an owner builder, let me show you how to do it yourself. There are skilled and talented builders to hire if you like.

women talk on cob bench

Local

Vancouver Island

Locally we work face to face.

  • Book a site visit to find out what’s possible.
  • Get your building team set up and coached hands-on.
  • Get help with decision-making

Let’s chat and see what your next step is.

Global

Your vision – my expertise

Working with Permaculture principles and experience in various climates and cultures is a good starting point to make your dreams reality.

We can talk about design needs and organize a training or workshop.

  • Earthen building
  • Smoke free cook stoves
  • Ecovillage planning

Why Elke?

The Right Tools

The main tool I bring is over 25 years of natural building and design experience. There are other physical tools, yet the true guiding force in natural building is our own skill, creativity, and wisdom. A true trade.

Certification

Come for a natural building course and get a certificate indicating the amount of time and education you get on this subject. Many levels are possible when building with earth, how deep with you go?

Fair Exchange

I offer a fair exchange policy, where we ensure it is a fit and feels good for everyone at the beginning.

Across currency lines we negotiate and find win-win agreement on your project.

Working with Earth

Natural building is really working with the earth with the intention to create earth homes that could last for hundreds of years.

25 Years Experience

25 years of putting hands in clay, on the earth, and creating useful magical spaces for others. A joyful legacy.

Great Support

I am always there every step of the way. From consulting to full build, from individual to full natural building team; the support is there. It takes a village.

  • plaster finishing
  • natural clay selections
  • earthbags as foundation
  • children enjoy mud
  • woman cob mixing
  • making Adobe blocks in Cameroon
  • mud work by hand
  • cob and bottles
  • earth bag foundation

Take a workshop!

Hands-on learning is the only way to really know if you want to be a natural builder or build your own natural home.

A hands-on workshop will allow you to explore your personal abilities in a safe and supported environment. Participate in a real project with other learners like you and discover the power of working together. You just might discover a new passion!

  • Learn techniques of building with Earth: Cob, Earthbag, Straw-bale natural plasters and more.
  • Learn to trust your senses and reach into your creativity.
  • Feel the joy of your body in action
  • Get your questions answered and discuss related topics
  • Build a network of friends for your natural building future

Hosting a workshop on a natural building project

For home owners or project hosts a workshop can bring a healthy injection of fresh energy and move the process forward through the power of group work.
Here’s what makes a good setting:

  • A site that has space for people to gather, possibly camp, and facilities like toilets, showers and (camp) kitchen.
  • A support team that loves the idea of a bunch of people putting their hands to the job. This includes a cook who is skilled in nutritious food.
  • A project that’s prepared for a group to join: tools and materials in place, major design decisions done, ready to go according to agreement.

If your project is large, identify a focus area to start. Workshop activities can include any of the following:

  • small foundation area
  • cob walls
  • earthen floor
  • straw bale work
  • natural plasters
  • oven or cook-stove build

Request a checklist for hosts to help your planning.

Featured Blog Posts

Smoke free kitchens: Africa kitchen revolution keeps going

I am delighted today to get news of an award (Gender Just Climate…
December 18, 2018/by Elke Cole

Building with Earth- an invitation to creative expression

I made a comment on Facebook  recently stating how much I love…
May 15, 2016/by Elke Cole
discussing project work with women

Natural Building in Cameroon- start of another season

What does it take to get a building project off the ground in…
November 10, 2014/by Elke Cole

O.U.R.Ecovillage: 15 years of inspiring people

Today I want to share a campaign worth considering: Of course…
June 7, 2014/by Elke Cole
women proud of their achievement

A certificate for working with our hands

Every program comes to an end and a good ending is a celebration…
April 15, 2014/by Elke Cole
Elke Cole at Bafut womens day celebration

Celebrating International Women’s day in Cameroon

I had no idea how important participating in the International…
March 12, 2014/by Elke Cole
preparing the improved cook stove

Building improved cook stoves with women in Cameroon

Did you know that countless women in Africa cook the family meals…
January 16, 2014/by Elke Cole
work and cultural exchange

Earth building volunteer opportunity in Cameroon

Get your hands into some good African Earth! Inviting Natural…
December 13, 2013/by Elke Cole
cob and bottles

A house for Serena Dewakuku

Today I saw this call for support and want to help spread the…
December 8, 2013/by Elke Cole
traditional celebration

A king was caught and a mayor installed: celebrations are part of volunteering

When a traditional Cameroonian fon (king) has passed a new one…
December 6, 2013/by Elke Cole
green roof Permaculture

Permaculture in the design of buildings

Much attention in Permaculture is directed to growing things…
October 31, 2013/by Elke Cole

Returning to Tamil Nadu

You can’t really imagine India until you go there – that’s…
August 24, 2013/by Elke Cole

Collaborations & Partners