We take London clay, we mix it with sand and straw to make cob and then have lots of fun making and creating with community.
Have a look at our photos for ideas of some of the things we have made with the local community groups around London - from ovens to a community building.
Be part of the London Mud Movement Tweet #LondonMudMovement
The cob ovens make a great addition to the community spaces, gardens and schools:
The Climbing Centre, Green Lanes, London. More Climbing Centre images
St Josephs Primary School, Archway - pizza oven
Meadow Orchard community gardeners Crouch End can now look forward to a home baked pizza and bread.
Oasis Children's Play Centre, Stockwell and Pooles Park School, Finsbury Park
Want to build an oven Tweet @cobincommunity
Left to right - arrangement of bricks to create the rocket stove. Temperature tests of the wood chamber and of the oil drum covering the flu
Left to right - SOAS Radical Architects and interested 'Permies' lend a hand with the temp tests - using wood chip, vermiculite and cob as different insulants around brick, feed chamber, flue and oil drum. There was little temp difference between using wood chip (free) and vermiculite (bought). The greatest differential was from use of earth (free) around the structure - of course!
Mini rocket stove cooking up lunch in the woods. Flat breads and cumin. Toasty on a winters day and very yummy.
Santas making cob in Crouch End, London. Cool things to do in winter months!
Volunteers from The Challenge
The shot above is from a group of youth volunteers who came and made cob, tossed it across the meadow (as pictured) and then used this to build the wall for our earth training centre. We are both making our own materials using the clay on the site and building with it. Does it get any more low impact?
To those that have come and come back again and again, our season's best wishes and thanks - we loved having you. To those yet to have tried this ancient building craft - this is a unique experience to try working with London clay and stray, in London and in a beautiful meadow, please get in touch.
We hope to get the structure as close to ready before spring; walls build and clay and lime rendered, and a reciprocal roof in place. We have been SO lucky with the weather and just the right number of people coming to support our community build. Come spring we will be working on eathern floors, renders and the cob oven.
For details of volunteer and course days drop us an email
All ages and all abilities
Consensus design day - phase 2 budding earth build designers braved the cold to take part in our kick off design day at the Meadow Orchard. Aided by cups of tea and fine views, the session, lead by What is Architecture / Cob in the Community was a huge success. We have many more ideas to draw from, clarity and understanding as we embark on the next phases of our build.
'Eco Warriors' - 8-11 years build a cob oven, Peckham, London
St Josephs open cob day
Meadow Orchard Community Build and youth volunteer day - building foundations for a community centre
This is an early shot of a foundation stage being prepared at the live build at the Meadow Orchard Project Community Building Project.
A Family, music and mud building day.
Cob in the Community works to realize organizational values and aspirations through a range of creative and artistic endeavours.
Cob in the Community is made up of a network of earth specialists and volunteers. We work with all sorts of community based groups and funders. We are a community interest company.
To make cob take a mixture of soil, water, sand and straw and add loads of people. Stomp away to your heart’s content to get the right consistency and then sculpt - benches, walls, stoves, earth kitchens, animals and trees to entire buildings.
No machinery, no noise, easy to learn and a lot of fun.
The Cober's Thumb being used - this helps sew the straw in the mix, increases surface area (great for keying in more cob) and increases the drying time. The Cober's Thumb is a made by stripping the bark off a good sturdy, straight stick and saves using your hands - well your thumb.
The air was filled with mischief in London, the week that kicked off the riots (sept 2011) and the Eco Build at the Meadow orchard did not escape. Our soakaway was used as a giant bonfire. All the wood, pallets and straw on site was thrown into our great pit and set alight. The flames must have reached the tops of the tallest oak branches above, judging by the scorched leaves. Nothing more was damaged, we were just a bit miffed that they burnt our stuff.
(A soak away is where water is carried away from the building via the French drainage system - a gravel filled drench - into this especially dug pit). The walls after the fire were terracota red. The clay is London clay and has a slow percolation rate - i.e it takes a wee while to drain away. The firing of the walls as a result of a night's bonfire seems to have slowed the rate that the soakaway soaks away the water.