Adventures in Cob Art

IMG_2834   The cob farm stand at White Oak is almost finished thanks to a final plaster and mosaic being applied this fall.  The structure was started during a natural building workshop in 2011, and was created from the foundation up by participants and folks here at the Farm.  It has served as a space to sell milk, eggs and produce, and as a beautiful entry to the Farm.  The stand has been functional for two years, but to my artist’s mind was never quite complete.

IMG_2868With late fall upon us I finally found timIMG_2876e to complete it.  With a few tools, stained glass, wheat paste and natural plaster, I set to work.  I have never seen stained glass set onto natural plaster, but trusting my intuition, a beautiful piece of art was formed.  The simplicity of this technique is amazing, and it showed me that with a few ingredients, anyone can transform a blank wall into a piece of art.

From past projects I had a large tub of broken stained glass (which can also be obtained in bulk for quite cheap from a stained glass store).   I had my blank canvas, which was a cob wall that had been plastered with white natural plaster (making the glass easier to see).  I made a batch of wheat paste, which is a simple mixture of white flour and water, and I mixed a little white sand and white clay into it to thicken it.  All I needed now was time, which can be tricky with a 2 year old.  Amazingly, she was as excited as I was to work on this project, and did an incredible job making her own mosaic!

IMG_2900We broke up the glass into smaller pieces and used the paste as our adhesive.  Slowly, a picture was formed.   The glass held quite tight to the plaster, and I went over it with plain wheat paste to complete the binding process.  Once the picture was completed, I made a batch of natural paint, which is a thinner version of plaster with less straw and an added natural dye of blue pigment.  My daughter helped me through every step, making the paste, picking out the glass, and painting it.  It was beautiful to be able to create art with her, and showed me that at nearly any age children are ready to be creative.  The farm stand is not quite done in my mind, but we are a step closer to completion!

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