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10-Week Women’s Earthbag Dome Building Apprenticeship in CanadaPosted on 06 April 2012.

Training the next generation of women leaders in the ecological design-build movement!
 Ideal apprentices are women who want to work in the natural building trades, build their own house and houses of friends, start a business, teach others, move it n' shake it in the ecological design-build movement, develop a peer-based council of support, immerse in a uniquely powerful opportunity....and take the next step!
Photo credits: Kleiwerks International, Ashevillage Institute, Ucwalmicw Centre, The Brave New World, The Bonita Domes Project, TreeYo Permaculture, Bioconstruyendo
July 28 – October 6, 2012
Lillooet, British Columbia
$3,600USD total
Mondays thru Fridays
Payment plan options below


 Kleiwerks International and the Women of the Americas Sustainability Initiative (WASI) are offering WASI Apprenticeships in countries across the Americas. The Apprenticeships are hands-on leadership trainings in ecological design-build practices for women. 10 apprentices will be selected per country, each of whom will do a follow-up project of their choosing after the Apprenticeship is over. 100% of the proceeds from this Apprenticeship go to support WASI, an alliance of women leaders who construct, educate, organize, and advocate for strong and empowered communities through ecological design-build practices with the aim of creating a socially and ecologically resilient world. We welcome you to join today!

 “This apprenticeship is an amazing opportunity to delve into earthbag construction and the creative envisioned community commons with the people of T’it’qet and Lillooet, who are actively engaged in building a vibrant future by combining traditional St’at’imc culture and values with new sustainable and ecological solutions.” Susannah Tedesco, Ucwalmicw Centre Program Coordinator

 This 10-week, hands-on Apprenticeship brings together a group of native St’at’imc community members with a team of women who are enthusiastic about living, learning, building and inspiring the empowerment of creative unity to build a Cultural Arts Centre near Lillooet, BC. Fox McBride and Chloe Wolsey, lead design-build specialists, plus guest instructors, WASI delegates, and First Nations residents in the St’at’imc Territory will work together with apprentices to build a multifunctional space that embraces the culture and dynamic vision of the community. This all will be hosted within the cultural traditions of the community, including drumming, dances, pit-fired meals, and other local traditions.
During the 10 weeks:
 1) Learn earthbag construction while building a domed complex from start to finish
 2) Develop leadership skills through facilitating visiting groups and working as a team
 3) Gain understanding of how one community is building culturally appropriate local solutions
 4) Document and share the story with larger audiences to help raise awareness and build the movement
 5) Live and learn together with the project, daily tasks, morning circles and the local community
After the 10 weeks:
 Apprentices will go on to build a project of their choosing, as well as share updates with the group on a monthly basis. We are looking to work with women who will become an active part of this movement.


 Today’s building industry uses half of our planet’s resources, yet healthy, time-tested, affordable and soulful construction alternatives exist. These alternatives are based on reclaiming and refining the use of local clays, sand, straw, stone, wood, other abundant and recycled materials. Coupled with indigenous knowledge and Permaculture design systems, natural building technologies play a profound role in supporting the creation of ways of life that are good for people, the planet and other living things. Natural building is a growing global movement that affirms and strengthens communities worldwide.

 “Natural building is a part of the sustainability movement that is rapidly growing in our world. I love it! I’ll take this knowledge deeper, building and designing projects back home and in my travels.” Shelley Stenzel, participant in a 6-Week Training went on to found VernaculArt, a building collective in Chile


 Together we will build a cultural arts dome from start-to-finish using earthbag construction with lime and clay finishes. The building project will be your hands-on classroom for learning every facet of the construction process, including how to design, plan, budget, manage a site, bring a project to completion, document, facilitate groups and work as a team. The goal is for you to learn so that you can do it on your own.
Hands-on projects:
 • Earthbag wall systems: Sandbag, barbed wire, compass
 • Understanding the arch: The building block of domes
 • Form building: Creating door and window openings
 • Basic additions: Installation of windows & doors
 • Natural finishes: Exterior & interior plasters, lime finishes

 Theoretical classes:
 • Design principles and practice:
 - Efficient dome design
 - Drawing to scale
 - Calculating materials
 - Windows and doors
 - Different compass systems
 - Stabilized vs. non-stabilized
 - Passive heating and cooling
 • Soils and soil testing: Being able to identify them anywhere
 • Waterproofing domes: Why and how
 • Foundations: Climate-appropriate approaches
 • Site planning: Coordinating efficient use of space and time
 • Earthen Floors: How to mix and lay a fabulous floor
 • Rocket Mass Stoves: Design and construction
Leadership & outreach tools:
 • Leadership development: Help facilitate visiting participants. Develop skills so you can work with others on your own projects.
 • Multimedia storytelling: Capture and share compelling stories of place, community and your own experience. Work with photography, videography, writing and interviews.
 • Social media: Learn how to work with facebook, blogs and other outreach tools to grow the movement or your own business.

 “Cooperation! Women building together. With our hands. We formed the walls and fireplace. Nail by nail, the creation of doors and windows. Every moment our relationships deepened. These seeds we have planted are rapidly sprouting. Our bright future lights up the world!” Carolina Soares, participant in 8-Week Apprenticeship

 The apprenticeship runs for 10 weeks from July 28th – October 6th, 2012. The week of August 27th is scheduled as a week-long break. The work week will be Tuesday through Saturday with morning check-in circles and a half a day per week dedicated to documentation and multimedia storytelling. During the week, everyone will be expected to participate in meal preparation and daily chores as part of the shared tasks of living and working together.


 T’it’q’et is one of six communities within the upper region of St’at’imc Territory in the diverse and beautiful mountains surrounding Lillooet, British Columbia in Western Canada. The site is the central commons of the reserve adjacent to the community garden and orchard, as well as the Ucwalmicw Centre, a nonprofit cultural centre and community hall. It is an easy walk or bike ride to downtown Lillooet, the local business hub. The power and diverse beauty of life in the mountains, along the rivers and creeks of St’at’imc Territory and the resilience of an inspiring network of people committed to working together to create a vibrant and thriving local and sustainable community will provide a wonderful opportunity for WASI apprentices to live and work together. You will be immersed in a unique lifestyle with outdoor camping accommodations and access to communal kitchen, bathroom and shower facilities.

Lead Instructor: Fox McBride is a highly organized and skilled earthbuilder who is reliable, enthusiastic, and passionate about building. Primarily focused on Superadobe domes, Fox began acquiring her mighty earthbuilding skills through a long-term apprenticeship at Cal-Earth, and has since worked on projects in Hollywood, British Columbia, Vermont, Puerto Rico and the Mojave Desert of southern California. She possesses skills in plaster, paint and remodeling, is fluent in Portuguese and is working on her Spanish. Fox is available for consulting, design assistance, good conversation and honest friendship. She believes strongly in the power of community, solidarity, open communication, the spiritual search for love and the DIY spirit. Humans have a right to shelter and the means to produce it!
Lead Instructor: Chloe Wolsey has been building since she was a kid, starting with tree houses with pulley systems and bucket-lifts. She has renovated several homes and worked in a forge with Hot Creations, making multiburner stoves out of recycled VW parts. During 2010, she taught at Cal-Earth, having previously helped build a triple dome in London for a primary school with Small Earth. In 2011, she co-taught a dome workshop in Melbourne with Permastructure. Chloe has also trained in Devon, with Mike Wye and Associates, in lime and cob techniques. With her partner Helen, she has recently founded OzEarth in rural Tasmania, Australia to involve the community in natural building, permaculture, and appropriate technology. OzEarth’s current project is creating a pizza oven, cob benches and preparation areas for the kitchen garden at their local school. Upcoming projects include building enclosures, a native animal orphan centre, and an education building at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. Chloe is also a seasoned teacher, exhibited artist, published author of fiction, passionate gardener and former employee of De Hortus Amsterdam, one of the Northern Hemisphere’s oldest botanical gardens.
WASI Delegate: Christine Jack is a Nlaka’pamux First Nations leader who resides in St’atimc Territory. As a survivor of the residential school experience, Christine has dedicated much of her life path to healing through traditional knowledge and proudly carries forward the roles of Sweatlodge keeper, hunter, fisher woman and a gatherer of traditional medicines and foods from Mother Earth. She is a Victims Assistance Support Worker, involved in the Stop the Violence Against Women movement. She is a member of Lillooet Food Matters, a local food security advocacy group that creates opportunities for community collective organic growing, revitalization of trade economies and cooperative planning for indigenous food sovereignty. She is also a member of Salmon Talks, a group which creates actions locally and educates provincial governance to take notice and create viable solutions to revitalize one of the primary traditional foods of First Nations people in the region. Christine is known for her strong voice and leadership role and is dedicated to empowering other women to speak their truth and step forward as sacred earth keepers.
WASI Delegate: Marlayna Pelegrin is an inspired First Nations woman from T’it’q'et Reserve in the upper region of St’at’imc Territory. She has dedicated herself to working with the youth and elders in her community as a way to empower meaningful and positive opportunities for younger generations to learn, have fun, embrace culture, and work together. She is also an advocate and representative for the Poverty Action Committee, a nationwide initiative and alliance working towards long term viable solutions to eliminate the root causes of poverty affecting communities across Canada. Marlayna’s passion for experiential learning and helping others has led her to the realm of sustainable community development and has inspired her to play an active lead role in the design and construction of an earthbag community arts centre at T’it’q'et; a WASI pilot project beginning summer of 2012. She sees her role and goals as an integral life path and as a calling to offer help and leadership in her community, as well as making way to learn from other cultures and communities in the future. “My past has taught me who to be today, my present is my will to be here, my future is for you.”
WASI North American Coordinator: Susannah Tedesco joins WASI as an inspired and dedicated agent provocateur of all things natural and resilient. She has devoted the last ten years to working with rural grassroots initiatives to build a sustainability movement empowering communities to create viable solutions to local food insecurity. Susannah studied organic agriculture at Linnaea Ecological Farm School in British Columbia, Canada where she also received her permaculture design certificate in 2001. As a horse-woman, community organizer, teacher and life-long student, she is passionate about building integrated regional networks committed to envisioning and actualizing promising change with abundant food, beautiful and artistic culture, and innovative opportunities to harmonize ancient earth based knowledge with creative visions for the future.
Guest Instructors: The Mudgirls are a network of women builders on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. They specialize in using local, natural and recycled materials to create whatever their client’s heart desires. They are experienced in building everything from cob cabins, ovens and benches to installing natural insulation, earthen floors and wall plasters in any style of home. The Mudgirls live and work in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Saltspring Island, Cumberland, Denman Island, Lasqueti island and other places around Vancouver Island. They can be hired as a crew or to facilitate work parties, and will build whatever you want.
 $3,000 – Tuition
 $600 – Three meals per day
 Camping & facilities are in-kind from the community
 Total fee: $3,600USD. For payment plan options, see below.
Supporting WASI: After expenses, 100% of the proceeds will go to support the Women of the Americas Sustainability Initiative (WASI).
Deposit: A non-refundable deposit of $1,200USD confirms your reservation. Final payment is due by July 28th unless a payment plan has been arranged.
Payment plans: Once your deposit has been paid, payment plan options can be as low as $600USD per month over a four month period. If you need further support, let us know.
Sponsorships: Previous participants have successfully raised funds to participate in programs. If you don’t have the full amount yourself, we are happy to share tips and sample sponsorship letters. Please ask for details from Janell at janell@kleiwerks.org.