Mud&Wood Logo Cob
About Courses Our Cob House What is Cob? Natural Edge Wood News & Articles Contact Us Getting Here Staying Here Links
Home Page Wood


facebook logo     instagram-logo

Clayfest 2018 at the Irish National Heritage Park, Co. Wexford

8th September 2018

clayfest 2018

In just over two weeks time, this quiet corner of the Irish National Heritage Park will be buzzing with earth building enthusiasts as Clayfest 2018 gets under way. We will build experimental structures and sculptural installations. We will learn heritage crafts and artistic skills. And this empty space will be filled with mini-buildings and walls and lots of great memories. So what is Clayfest all about anyway?

heritage park

Many of you know that I have been involved with Earth Building UK and Ireland for a number of years now and since 2015, we have been active in Ireland. The UK crew have hosted an earth building conference every year since 2009. But they began to realise that many people who work with earth don't necessarily want to sit in a lecture hall all day long; they want to be hands-on and learn from each other in a more practical way. And so the first Clayfest was born. It was held in Errol in Fife, Scotland ... and was such a success that it was decided that Clayfest should become an annual event.

turf workshop   rammed earth workshop

Clayfest 2018 will kick off on Monday, 24th September, at the Heritage Park in Co. Wexford, with workshops in many different earth building techniques, such as Artistry in Clay with natural building legends Bill and Athena Steen, Experiments in Earth Block with Tom Morton (the brains behind the first Clayfest) and Becky Little (RebEarth), and Stone and Earth Mortar with local mason Brian Tobin.

artistry in clay   experiments in earth block   stone and earth mortar

All of the workshops at Clayfest take place side by side. So even if you sign up for the Upcycled Cob Dome Workshop, you can still eavesdrop in on Wattle-and-Daub and keep an eye on your neighbours' progress with their Clay-Hemp walls. We'll be teaching Mudwall Repair, by the way. There's no need to worry about the weather, either. All workshops will be under cover.

And if you feel that committing to a full day's workshop is too much to begin with, why not pop along to our drop-in Cob Meitheal. It's free. While you won't be taught the specifics of earth building, it will be an opportunity for you to experience the process in an informal way. It might inspire you to sign up for a workshop after all.

treading cob   earth oven   rammed earth workshop

Clayfest is about experimentation. It's a chance for both participants and workshop leaders to play with earth and test its limits. It has led to some pretty amazing structures being built over the years.

mud and stud pavilion   earth block nubian vault
cob mobius strip   rammed earth vault
viking house   twisting rammed earth columns

But Clayfest is not just about the building, it's about the connections, about finding your tribe, about meeting like-minded people and forging new friendships. It's about establishing mud networks all over the world.

colin, bill, athena and feile   joel
johannes and rowland   the girls   jem and jules

Clayfest is hands-on. It is an opportunity to get mucky with some of the most knowledgeable experts in their fields. Earth is a very tactile material; to really understand it, you have got to literally get to grips with it.

mucky hands and feet   cob pull test



clay plaster

Clayfest is all about having fun and trying out new things.

cob stomping   cob blocks   tree pose on rammed earth column
building turf

Pop-ups have become something of a tradition. Do you have a project you want to present? An experiment you want to carry out? A demonstration you want to share? Every day, we invite all participants to bring something to the table. We have tried (and failed) to set clay-coated straw bales on fire, we have mastered an adobe-making machine, we have examined the role of fibres in earth mixes, we have learned about earth building in Estonia, Croatia, Slovakia, Iceland and Cyprus. If you have a pop-up idea, we would love to give you a platform.

making adobes   carazas cubes   kids and athena

Of course, Clayfest isn't just about the hands-on stuff. The conference is still a hugely important part of the festival. This year, it will be held in the Crannóg at the Heritage Park, which is itself an earth building. We are delighted that this, the 10th EBUKI Conference, will be held in an all-natural building for the first time, on Friday 28th September. And it will be just a stone's throw from Clayfest's workshop area .... so everyone attending the conference can see the fruits of our labour. The theme this year is The Secret Life of Earth. With 13 speakers from Ireland, the UK, Europe and U.S., there really is something for everyone. Check out the full line-up here. And in the evening, the 'auditorium' will be transformed into a dining hall and dance floor when the feast and céilí kick off.

crannog in the heritage park   interior of the crannog

We are also very excited to have eight properties opening their doors on our tour day, Saturday 29th September. From beautifully appointed mudwall cottages to farmhouses under renovation to 13th century churches, and even a castle (!), there is something for eveyone on this tour. Some of the buildings will feature in the conference, so this a great opportunity to see them in the flesh.

ballysampson house   medieval church
the dunes   sigginstown castle

If you haven't already booked a place on any of our seven workshops, what are you waiting for? Click on the links below for more information and to buy your ticket.

clayfest 2018 Clayfest 2018: General Information

artistry in clay Artisty in Clay with Bill and Athena Steen

clay-hemp Clay-Hemp Walls with Tom Woolley

earth blocks Experiments in Earth Block with Becky Little and Tom Morton

mudwall repair Mudwall Repair with Féile Butler and Colin Ritchie

stone and earth mortar Stone and Earth Mortar with Brian Tobin

upcycle cob dome Upcycled Cob Dome with Lizzie Wynn and Louise Halestrap

wattle and daub Wattle and Daub with Niall Miller and Joe Gowran

ebuki conference EBUKI Conference: The Secret Life of Earth

ceili in the crannog Céilí in the Crannóg


Thanks to our sponsors for helping make Clayfest 2018 happen:

wexford co co
  irish national heritage park   failte ireland
heritage council     hg matthews strocks   archers


See you at the Heritage Park in a few weeks! I can't wait to see what we create together!



Copyright 2018, Féile Butler - Mud and Wood


Back to Top