EcoNest Natural Building Workshops and Timber Framing Workshops

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Workshop Articles

  • Backyard EcoNest . . . BEN!

  • How would you use a small space designed for your well being . . .

    a creative space for your best writing

    a welcoming cottage for your beloved guest

    a tranquil corner for meditating

    an inspirational studio for creating

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  • The Prayer Room Ceiling

  • Our East Coast EcoNest, the project of our Spring 2017 workshop series, was recently completed.  We had the pleasure of working with a great team on this home for Janet and Ivan, including EcoNest affiliate Jason Fox  and plasterer, Patrick Webb.

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  • Interviews with Bootcampers

  • Bootcampers come to us from all kinds of backgrounds, each with a unique set of expectations and goals. We sat down with three of our recent bootcampers, JC, Andrew, and James and they shared a little about their bootcamp experiences.

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  • What are they Building now?

  • We love it when EcoNest graduates send us photos of projects they are working on. After two decades of workshops, we have graduates far and wide and seeing how their experiences with us are manifesting in projects all over the world is the greatest reward.

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  • The Jig is Up!

  • It's true . . . Mother Nature tried to fool us with her practical jokes - hot sunny days in March followed by snow in April but the jig is up, figuratively and literally, and we are forging ahead with our Spring workshops!

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  • Finish. Here. Now.

  • Our EcoNest workshops are structured in a 6-week time frame to include everything it takes to complete the shell of an EcoNest - from the Faswall stem walls, to the timber frame, the straw clay walls, and the roof. But what happens after the workshop is complete?

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  • Fall EcoNest Workshops

  • Due to popular demand, we added two workshops to our 2017 lineup: a Japanese Tools & Joinery workshop with Dale Brotherton, and a late fall Timber Framing workshop in November.

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  • EcoNests in Progress

  • What comes after an EcoNest workshop? Some of our owner-builders from past workshops have shared the progress on their EcoNests since the completion of their workshops.

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  • EcoNest for Rent

  • Newly constructed 3/br. 2 bath single family home in the lovely Banks, Oregon. Built in 2017. ‘Nest on the Hill’ is a two-story ecological home built atop 10 acres with a breathtaking view of mixed conifer woodlands.

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  • EcoNest T-shirts and Hats

  • Our EcoNest apparel is here! We've got men's shirts, women's shirts, and hats! Our shirts and hats are 100% organic cotton from Econscious and printed and embroidered locally in Ashland by NLT Designs.

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  • Preparing Timbers

  • As the foundation construction is underway at the job site in Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, Robert and his team are preparing the timbers for the timber frame construction at Finch Woodworks in Mount Jackson, Virginia.

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  • EcoNest Coast to Coast

  • We are gearing up for a jet-setting 2017 season with EcoNests from Coast to Coast. Join us this spring in Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania as we begin construction on this beautiful nest at the Farm of Peace.

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  • The Hovercraft Story

  • "If any of you want to design and build a two man hovercraft this school year come to my class after school today." announced Mr. Oldenburg my 10th grade drafting teacher......

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  • Summer 2016 Team

    The Women of EcoNest

  • Nearly anyone who has participated in an EcoNest workshop will tell you that, like the home they are building, the friendships that grow from the ground up contribute greatly to the rewarding experience. Students in our Boot Camp program spend 6 weeks working closely together. Bonds form between students of all ages and from all backgrounds because of one common interest: natural building. Some of our students have work or educational experience in construction and others arrive at EcoNest simply with a passion for learning more about healthy building. 

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  • EcoKids

  • You are never too young or too old to learn the craft of building an authentic, natural home, or to learn the magic of turning straw into a beautiful wall.

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  • Ready, Set, Build!

  • Whether you are already signed up to participate in an upcoming workshop, or just thinking about enrolling in one in the future, here are a few experiences you can look forward to . . .

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  • Summer 2016 Workshops

  • We are excited to share the details of our Summer 2016 Workshops!  We will be building a classic EcoNest Folknest design featuring an 1100 sf lower level and 500 sf loft. This humble footprint has a spacious feel created by the open timber frame plan.

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  • 2016 Six-week Spring Apprenticeship: A Focus on Wood

  • A Razor-Sharp Chisel

    Sharpening a chisel is a woodworker's meditation. It sharpens your mind, cultivating the focus to do precise wood joinery. In your first days in this apprenticeship, you will learn to create a razor-sharp edge on your chisel . . . a skill that took me 10 years to achieve on my own. Each piece of wood has a unique "personality." A woodworker's joy lies in expressing this inherent underlying beauty.


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  • Boot Camp Graduate Builds Tiny House

  • "Robert, I am so fortunate to be able to start applying the knowledge I picked up from you just a year ago so soon. Although the tiny house is a different beast than the EcoNest, I find myself using tricks or tools I picked up in the boot camp all the time. Getting to work with you has greatly reduced the pit falls and setbacks we surely would have run into otherwise, although we have certainly had a few."

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  • Japanese Carpentry Workshop, Summer 2015

  • No other culture brings the forest element home as does the Japanese culture. Renowned Japanese Woodworker, Dale Brotherton, together with Robert Laporte, led students in this rare opportunity to bring together tools, trees, and tradition for an intensive woodworker's experience.


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  • Meet Felipe!

    EcoNest Six-Week Apprenticeship Boot Camp Student

  • Recently, we sat down to chat with one of our EcoNest Six-Week Apprenticeship Boot Camp students, Felipe Ortiz Cordero. Felipe made the journey from Costa Rica to Oregon with a contagious passion for natural building, in particular, plastering.

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  • The EcoNest Home: Excerpt: “Building the Builder”

    Excerpt from EcoNest's new book!

  • As aspiring artisans we have an undeniable urge to create beauty. Mastery of a craft is a journey of a lifetime. It makes sense that if we love this craft of building and we aspire to reach its mastery, we should strive to maintain a healthy, strong and agile body that will support us.

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  • Introduction to The EcoNest Home

    Designing and Building a Light Straw Clay House

  • Over the years we have had many requests for an up-to-date “How to Build an EcoNest” book. Since Robert first wrote the original Mooseprints: A Holistic Home Building Guide in 1992, our processes have evolved. More than 1,500 students have participated in an EcoNest Natural Building Workshop over the past 25 years, and each has made a contribution...

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  • Finished Home in Costa Rica

  • In January, Robert and Paula returned to Costa Rica to complete their work on the test nest. View the finished product which lives and breathes through bamboo wattle and daub beneath natural plaster.

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  • An Ambassador’s View

  • For 4 weeks of the most recent EcoNest summer intensive and boot camp, I was fortunate to work again side by side with Robert Laporte and a group of his eager apprentices, students and volunteers. Next to the EcoNest home and headquarters in Ashland, we built Robert’s new shop/garage, which will also house future workshops on Paradise Lane.

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  • Live from Ghazal: Report from Buba

  • 25th of August I joined board the ship "Ghazal". It's always difficult to me leaving the home,  but now I am so motivated.  When I went back to Portland,  I bought Tedd Benson's book, same book which you showed us.  I completed reading that book and now I almost done with the EcoNest book.  Highlighting everything, they are so interesting...

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  • Workshop Graduates Success: Len Biss

  • 16 day intensive graduate Dillon Creasy called upon a fellow graduate Len Bliss to help him construct the timber frame of an EcoNest home now going up in  Orleans CA. They have built a timber frame that makes us very proud!

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  • Beginners Mind

  • Eight years ago I was one of 35 woodworkers visiting Japan with Osamusan one of the founders of Hida Tools. Each day revealed a beauty deeper than the previous.

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  • Homing In: Exploring Your Nesting Instinct

  • If you are thinking of building a home and if you are interested in building a natural, healthy and ecological home, then this seminar is designed for you. In the seminar you will learn about the Building Biology Principles for health and ecology. We will explore and compare various alternative nature-based ways of building and most importantly my goal is to awaken and inspire your unique nesting instinct so that you can get the very most out of the incredible process of creating your home.

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  • EcoNest Intensive Testimonial from Buba Katsitadze

    Spring/Summer Intensive 2014

  • My name is Buba Katsitadze. I come from a very tiny country named Georgia. It’s thousands of miles away from the USA. My profession is a seaman but in fact that’s not a kind of job that I have dreamt of. Since my very childhood I loved to deal with the wood, carpentry…. There was one very good master in my town, who worked at the theatre workshop. I used to go and watch him working when I was maybe twelve years old…

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  • Returning to Slow Time and Deep Skills

    About Working with Dale Brotherton, our Honored Japanese Wood Working Teacher by Ken Hall

  • Does your heart and soul struggle in a world turned topsy turvy?  Do you ask, “how can we make ourselves whole and right side up, when everything in our world today is fragmented and upside down?”

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  • “Hand Skills” by Dale Brotherton

  • For most of us it’s easy to forget that our modern approach to learning is very different from that taken by the majority of humans throughout history. Even when pursuing a traditional craft like woodworking or carpentry, the tendency is to study as much as possible, then, relying heavily on the perfect tool, carefully attempt to produce the “perfect” finish from day one...

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