Workshops local and global for 2019

Most of my workshops are hands-on :

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

All workshops are offering a supportive learning atmosphere for diverse people. If you have questions please email me .

Scroll to Natural Homes and Design workshops

Scroll to Hands-on workshops local and global

More workshop listings coming!

Natural building and Design

Journey into Natural Homes

Seminar on natural building techniques

  • Learn about materials and techniques from cob to earthbag
  • Find out why natural homes are good for your health
  • Ask questions – there are no ‘stupid’ ones!
  • Inspire your house design with new possibilities

Two locations in May:

Kamloops, May 15, 7-9 pm,  at Living Arts Studio


Edmonton, May 19, 1:30-3:30, at Capilano Library

Tickets: Eventbrite Edmonton

Design your Natural Home

Designing your home is one of the most challenging and important steps you’ll ever take. With this course you’ll immerse yourself into an inspiring setting for 2  information packed days. This course will give you confidence to start your process.

Learn about

  • natural building techniques and their appropriate use
  • choosing a good site
  • passive solar planning tools
  • foundation to roof options
  • how to start drawing
  • building permits and codes
  • tips and tricks for saving space- and money

This course is a classroom setting with presentation, exercises and discussions.

We include a visit to a few natural buildings at OUR Ecovillage to give you first hand experience of some of the concepts.

Date & time: November 16/17, 2019 , 9 am – 4 pm  (1 hr lunch break)

Place: OUR Ecovillage , Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island


individual: $ 220

couples/ bring a friend: $ 400 (for two)

Save by registering before August 31:

$ 160 per person

Meals and accommodation are not included. They can be booked through the registration system.

Hands-on at home and abroad


Now accepting expressions of interest from hosts in Canada for 2020


The hobbit house: Plaster, Earthen floor and fireside

We’ll return to the sweet hobbit house in the woods in Lake country north of Berlin for this short workshop on finishing touches .

Let’s make earthen plaster to show off the sculpted walls.

We are going to lay an earthen floor – learn to dance the mud dance, get into rhythm with others and have fun getting a beautiful floor put into the cabin.

Earthen floors are

  • softer than concrete
  • people friendly energy
  • naturally beautiful
  • washable

And finally : a fireside. We are designing a solution that may be a small oven that doubles as a fireplace , a small cookstove for a teapot that has a visible, contained fire or another way to bring the element of fire safely into a small space.

Date & Time:  July 18 -21, 2019  4 days

Place: near Lychen, Germany

About the location: Lychen is in the lakes region north of Berlin. The site is at the edge of a lake in the forest. There’s plenty of access to boating and cycling and it’s easily connected by train to Berlin or the Baltic Sea.

Registration :

Your payment includes instruction, snacks and a vegetarian lunch.

We will confirm receipt of payment and send directions and information to prepare for the workshop.

registration options


Sculpted Cob: building a Garden getaway

Building with Cob and mud blocks to create a small sculpted sleeping space in a beautiful garden setting. You will discover sculpting when working with Cob in combination with mud blocks and other elements.

  • Explore your creative side by learning to sculpt spaces with cob and recycled materials.
  • Meet like minded people from various places and backgrounds.
  • Enjoy the power of group action, push your limits in a supportive environment.
  • Discover your ability to build your own space.

Building with Earth- Cob and Adobe blocks -is at the heart of this workshop. Those who want to learn a creative approach to building a small home or studio will gain inspiration and technical understanding.

We will introduce Cob building in theory and practice.Learn mixing and building with earth- cob or adobe or floors! Find out how to create sculptural details like arches and built-in furniture.
Here’s a video from our workshop at this location in 2016

Join us this time if you’re ready to make your dream come true. Here’s what you need:

  • Curiosity and Enthusiasm
  • a basic level of fitness
  • desire to learn and get hands-on

No previous building experience required.

This is a great ‘travel and learn’ opportunity for couples, folks on sabbatical and students of architecture.

Dates: August 3 -8, 2019   9 – 4:30 with 1 hour lunch break

Location : Kivulini Forest, near Kiambu, approx. 20 km North of Nairobi, Kenya

Kiambu is conveniently located only 20 km from the center of Nairobi, one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Participants from abroad can arrange for pickup at the airport or at a meeting point in Nairobi.

Take me to registration

Our host: 

host of cob workshopJoannah Stutchbury is an accomplished Permaculture trainer with a passion for conservation of forests and wildlife in Kenya. She is actively working to protect the forest by creating Kivulini (place in the shade) regenerative learning center near Kiambu town. The 7 acre property is part of what once was the Kiambu forest that has been completely deforested. The property has been family owned for two generations.


Forest road near Kiambu

Camping in the forest

Travellers, please bring your own tent. Wake up to the sounds of the forest. You’ll be nourished by the earth’s energy and feel connected to Nature. Prepare for cool nights (nighttime temperatures can drop to 15 C) by bringing a suitable sleeping bag and mat.

Other accommodation may be available on site.

The closest hotel (walking distance) is Phoenicia Hotel .

If you have questions or special needs around sleeping arrangement, please talk to us

Registration and workshop fees

All registration options include the full program and a healthy lunch each day.

International registration includes camping option.  Breakfast and dinner by contribution. Payment by Paypal. If you wish to use e-transfer please contact me.

Local registration offers commuter option and prices in Kenyan Shillings. Payable by M-Pesa

  • International registration:

    Space is limited ! Save $100 by registering early

    registration options

  • Local Registration:

    Opening soon

for more info please fill out the form below


Permaculture and Natural Building Practicum

Build a community school and food forest in Coastal Kenya

August / September 2019

at Magarini Children’s Center and Organic Demonstration Farm.

This is a program for permaculturists and natural builders with some experience.

What will happen in this program?

 Participants will have hands-on experience, working closely with our leaders .

Help build facilities for the school with Elke. This will include stove building , compressed earth block construction and natural plastering.

Work with Brandon Bauer to install landscape features for  water management, and create a food forest.

Part of your role may also be digital storytelling and production of educational videos to be distributed on the internet.

This program is organized in partnership between OUR Ecovillage and Magarini Center. Read more here 

Natural building practicum/ internship

Natural builder Elke Cole

Join me for 3 weeks of natural building in this program in Coastal Kenya from August 16 to September 5 .

We will be working on a variety of projects: classrooms, dormitory and kitchen.

You will practice and learn :

  • making mud bricks
  • cob building/ detailing
  • smoke free cook stoves
  • build a kitchen sink
  • natural plaster application
  • work with villagers

Choose your timeframe

  1. August 16 – September 5: Main focus on natural building ,smoke free kitchen, team work, village integration and leadership. Facilitators: Elke and Jescar
  2. August 16 – September 12: same as above  plus 1 week general permaculture or village support work
  3. September 13 – October 3: Food forest & water management  with Brandon Bauer
  4. October 4-10: Food forest & water management  plus 1 week general permaculture or village support work
  5. Do it all: August 16 – October 10 : Many facets of Permaculture


Your contribution covers your tuition, simple local food, camping and supports the purchase of tools and materials

  • Regular : 3 weeks $900, 4 weeks $1200, 7 weeks $1800, 8 weeks $1900
  • Early Bird (Paid before March 1st): 3 weeks $765, 4 weeks $1020, 7 weeks $1530, 8 weeks $1615
  • OUR Ecovillage PDC Alumni: 3 weeks $720, 4 weeks $960, 7 weeks $1440, 8 weeks $ 1520

Application/ Registration:

Please submit your application form (see button below). We ask for an application fee of $100 .

We will be in touch with you shortly after your application is received. I look forward to meeting you!

What other’s say about my workshops

“Thanks for all you taught me ,your patience ,kindness and understanding. ”


“Elke, thank you again for an amazing weekend. I’m still finding my way back into my life “out here” and integrating all the new ideas and energy from there. ”


“we were there learning from Elke! Amazing lady, stunning job! highly recommended”


Elke Cole worked for me as a Natural Building Trainer in Kenya. We did two 10 day workshops with 23 students. Further we did a small Plastering Workshop to finish the house including installing the Earthen floors. She is a very professional Trainer, keeping to schedules and deadlines and proved to be very innovative and a good problem solver.

Workshop Host

“The natural building course held at Porini Permaculture in Kenya was a fantastic experience to be part of. My partners and I took away a huge amount of knowledge and left the course feeling confident on the practical side of building with cob and straw bales. Elke did a great job in getting everyone on the course confident in the mixing, shaping, and building of cob structures. She kept everyone in the group motivated and made sure that everyone was on the same page, not leaving anyone behind. She has obviously done a huge amount of cob building, which is evident in both her teaching and practical engagement. Her assistant Daniel, was a fantastic addition to the teaching team and his endless enthusiasm for natural building kept everyone on their toes. Even though the course did not touch on every topic of natural building, it has left us confident as well as hungry for more experience in this beautiful art-form. We will be using the skill sets we learned during the course in future permaculture projects around East Africa. We are very much looking forward to getting our hands dirty again as soon as possible on another building site!”

Kenya participant 2016

I have attended Elke Cole’s 2 week Cob Building Workshop in Germany
in August 2017.
Right from the start I felt welcomed by Elke’s warm and caring personality.
Her love of Natural Building was clearly visible and quite infectious for me, as she gave us an enthusiastic tour of the land and little Hobbit House we were going to work on. Her easy going and humorous teaching style, mixed with her diligently working alongside us made me muddle long hours for two weeks and feel satisfied and content at the end of each
Her mixed teaching style of hands on learning and some evening theoretical summaries made
me feel well grounded in the solid basics of Cob building. We rotated duties, and I learned
about the correct ratio of mixing Cob, building up solid walls, integrating a Cobb bench, adding
Straw bales for insulation and, my favorite, creating a bottle wall.
The owner, who we were building for, worked with us, and I was quite impressed by Elke’s easy style to juggle all us eager Cobb novices, an expectant homeowner, incorporate beautifully intuitive designs and keep us all happily building and the owner awed by the results. No easy task!
I am looking forward to one of Elke’s next projects. I’m planning to be there to muddle some more.

Participant Germany workshop

More workshop listings coming!