April 18, 2010

A Mud Wall with a Touch of Style

This post is literally about what the title says: building a mud wall with a touch of style (at the end). If you've read my mission statement (see my header), you'd know that this blog essentially examines style and art as an approach to life. What I'm really all about as a person is preserving and promoting character in the world whether it is by reinterpreting a dress or a cultural landscape. So, to get to the point, I participated in a traditional earth construction workshop this weekend that is to be revisited in month or so. Know what I learned?

Can't nobody be a sourpuss when you're playing in the mud!! It is just ttttooo viscerally fun.

But in all seriousness, the workshop is going over three major forms of earth construction: adobe, rammed earth and wattle and daub. Apparently one third of all the world's architecture is a form of earth construction and all around the globe people practice one of those three methods in one form or another. Pictured above is adobe "bricks" being formed in moulds.

Here are some bricks drying peacefully under a protective canopy (rain + mud "bricks" = mud puddles).

There are four ingredients to earth construction: clay, sand, water and straw (the last one is optional). What I love most about workshops like these is that it reminds me that historic preservation in this country is also about cultural conservation. It's not just about keeping up old buildings, but keeping alive regionally adapted building traditions. Really, none of it is about the past at all, but the future. Like, literally what it will look like.

This is a modern take on wattle and daub (sticks and mud). Obviously they did not have nominal lumber and store-bought wire in medieval Europe. Sometimes what you are preserving/conserving is a concept more than anything. If you're interested in learning more, check out this super handy book Earth Construction: A Comprehensive Guide

But where is the style? Oh, I wouldn't lie to you like that! There was also an incredible half-off sale at a pretty groovy local vintage/local designer store, Deluxe. You better believe I rushed in during lunch, muddy face and all, to grab up some delicious goodies before anybody else. I'm a greedy bitch that way I guess.

My mud wall finery. Because the best outfit at any given moment is the one that will let you have the most fun possible!!

A glimpse of what I nabbed. Everything is already pretty affordable to begin with, so the sale was basically like shopping at goodwill. I love when that happens. (Remember our Halcyon days Sally? I'm so regretful of not getting that gingham brassier!!) I'm just giving you a glimpse so that you'll have a reason to keep coming back like the dope style fiends that you are. Thanks for joining me once more, your comments lately have been ssssoooo kind and encouraging. I do this for you, really.


  1. Playing in the mud...too fun!! I need to find something like that around here! I do find it amazing that extremely old structures made with materials like this are still standing...fascinating!

    I'm looking forward to seeing how you play up that pastel striped cardigan...

  2. A great start for Earth Day!! Can you say 4h?

  3. @J: good call on the sweater! I am really in love with it as finally all my favorite semi-neons are in one place! As for a workshop, contact your local state historic preservation office. They often sponsor or know about workshops like the one I attended. Often they are free. (mine was a University thing though).
    @Katorra: Can't believe I didn't think of that! Earth construction for earth day! good call

  4. this is super awesome. i would never do such a thing on my own (or even think to take a class), so i'm learning something from you i would've never expected!! yey for blogs!

  5. Because the best outfit at any given moment is the one that will let you have the most fun possible!!


  6. great pictures, love the blog

    come follow the first ever fashion blog from a guys POV, let He know what you think


  7. When you said "Halcyon days," I thought you were using halcyon as a descriptor for our thrifting days in general... which sadly have been far and few between. But NOW I realize you meant our day at Halcyon, which had that ridiculous sale and got me a lovely blue Joan Holloway-worthy dress plus several others... and yeah, a gingham bra is never a mistake, alas.

  8. thanks everyone who posted original comments (cut and paste comments = major blogging no no fyi).
    @elea: yes, that is my number one style rule!
    @sally: and when exactly do I get to see some of your curves fill out that J. Holloway dress? I'll bet it'd look great with some frye boots...


looking forward to hearing from you!