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The day started out rainy, but soon it got started as we all dried our gear and took shelter inside to watch earthen videos. Benito shared videos that he and his brother had created, which were truly captivating, from their youtube channel called The Nito Project. Their artfully crafted home was a joy to be in, and a wonderful example of their families work. Athena showed off her son's Japanese Clay Balls, which is polished clay and comes in many different styles. We also got the opportunity to watch a video of Athena doing a piece of earthen artwork on one of their dwellings, featured in the video below.
Soon half of our crew had to head out while the other half of us stayed to eat lunch. After our bellies were full and the rain clouds had parted, we took a trip outside to do an earthen workshop with Bill. Bill showed us his studio, which had many different earthen canvases where others had practiced in previous workshops. He then took us to his dwelling, where he kept all of his pigments and materials for mixing. We also talked briefly about how important it is to have a relationship with these living buildings. Bill explained that sand and straw prevent cracking, giving the dwelling structure and body, whereas the clay is like glue. For mixing paint, he told us the ratio of sand to clay should be 1 part sand and two parts clay. He made the analogy that mixing can be much like making pie, as you have to add water carefully to get the ratios right. Depending on how thick or thin you make the mixture, you will get different levels of paint opacity. If you would prefer the paint to be water-resistant, you must add glue. Additionally, you can add mica for some sparkle!!! A good source of clay for this kind of project in Phoenix, as recommended by Rosemary, is Marjon Ceramics. Bill also mentioned Bioshield Clay Paints is a good source for paint materials. Bill then joked that mixing and building were two different trades. "Sometimes, the person who can put it on the wall is not the most adept at mixing it."
After the workshop with Bill, we packed up our gear after thanking them for our time and drove to Cascabel. First, we got to visit an earthen home recently built that had a lovely screened porch. There was also a hay bale shed that worked well as produce storage. Once inside the house, we got to see the kitchen and the living room. In the living room was a charming wood-burning stove with beautiful green tiles. We then walked the stairs up to the loft and entered onto the balcony through a cute window. The view from the balcony was stunning, and the spiral staircase was so sweet and whimsical. By the woman's desk, we also got to see glass colored bottles used as windows through the earthen walls. We thanked the owner for her time and continued down the road to another kind ladies' house. This house was smaller and completely earthen. There were orange poppies everywhere. The shape of the earthen home was truly beautiful, and we all gawked at how wonderful and rewarding a life of simplicity can be. Her bathrooms and kitchen were outdoors. She allowed us all to go into the small structure and enjoy some shade and beautiful design. Afterward, we moved on to another home, although this one was not earthen as much as it was stone. The house was thoughtfully built with a loft for sleeping and a living space/miniature kitchen downstairs. Once we finished touring all these lovely homes, we went to the Cascabel Community Garden to et up camp.
We unloaded breakfast food from Rosemary’s truck and set up camp. We said goodbye to Rosemary and played around until dinner. At dinner, we had a fun Fritos taco salad dish and celebrated having our wonderful mentor, Rosemary. We also got to know some of the community members better and got to socialize with each other at the Cascabel Community Center. Once dinner was over, we cleaned the kitchen and drove back to the campsite. The moon was full, and the Saguaros casted moonlight shadows all over the landscape. Andrew made a fire that we all shared and enjoyed. One by one, we all drifted to sleep. What a wonderful day!