A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a day with one of the only two professional “cob” builders in Spain. We want to build our new house using “cob” and this was a golden opportunity for me to have my first any kind of experience with it. Cob is a mixture of clay, sand and straw that combines to make a very strong structure that provides excellent insulation while being flexible. We like the idea that we can use the clay from our land for this build and the whole process is ecological.
After an 8 hour drive across Spain and several well earned beers upon arrival I slept well and rested up for my big day. The next morning I met Mateu on site where he was going to build a cob oven for a family that he had built a cob house for previously. So not only did I get to see a house that he had built I got to help with the cob oven. Mateu’s calm and pleasant mannerism coupled with his knowledge of cob made it a very enjoyable experience. The family who were having the oven built made the day even more of an experience by providing a big traditional lunch and their openness and hospitality made the day perfect.
I learned a lot about cob and realize first hand how labor intensive it can be but how satisfying as well. Even though I was allowed to pack the cob on to the structure the real art was when Mateu “sculptured” the oven making it symmetrical and adding features to make it unique.
Mateu is coming to spend a couple of days with us at the end of July and I look forward to seeing him again and to get his ideas for our new build.