Sharing information and promoting earthbag building
|A Meditation Kiva
by Kat Ehrhorn from domes.blogspot.com
Let me introduce the project briefly:
We made a 9-foot 6-inch diameter flexible form rammed earth structure for meditation purposes. We call it a meditation kiva, a hut, a dome, a wonder. Most of us who worked on it (what, about 20 in and out?) felt the deep connection to earth and people throughout history as we filled the bags and slapped on the staw and clay plaster.
A lot of comments included how peacefully meditative it was to work with this medium, without mechanization or complicated tools and sophisticated know-how. It felt to be a welcomed change of pace for our minds from this fast-paced techno-based culture.
We followed our intuition a lot as we learned together how to make a dome that would hold itself up as it was being pulled down by gravity.
Shirley Tassencourt, who introduced me to this method 10 years ago, said its like living in a dancing house. Most of us who worked on this agree there's something intangibly magical about this structure.
Rose talks to the plaster inside, with words only she knows how to utter, that make the plaster hang against gravity.
The dome opening gets smaller and a plaster foundation for the brick dome is laid.
The entrance to the kiva is quite dramatic and clay and straw plaster very beautiful.
Yes, the sacred cow dung is in our project, collected by kat and Elly from a beautiful meadow nearby.
The plaster pit was a favorite spot on the site.
Wow, first rule broken: don't make earth houses during monsoon. So, it was a little mud up and down, and back up again. The lime and clay plaster will get up next week, and that should stabilize the beauty.
Yat Ping applies more lime wash to harden the clay surface.
The temperature inside is temperate in the arid landscape, with cool breezes floating through the vents. This is feeling like it could be a perfect meditation destination.
The vaulted entrance feels earthy and organic, mystical...the ceiling is a beautiful clay and straw.
The dome is looking like chiseled rock... and the family of bears, in honor of the name of this place, arrives with a yucca plant.
Wow, it's looking like an ancient Persian structure, and studded with a robust prickly pear and cat claw bloom.
The form for the crown of the dome is made on top of this floating platform.
This top has been changed to facilitate the installation of a solor powered fan that will pull the breezes through the hut on those very (rare) still summer days. The vents are pointed downward to roll the rain to the outside of the hut. We crowned the dome with glass cube to the east and wind vent openings to the prevailing west winds. These openings will be screened and create a cooling upward draft from the lower openings.
So now I really feel as tho' we landed in Luke Skywalker's neighborhood. This is meditation housing for all worlds (And Luke himself even made that awesome front door on which I beg someone special will knock) (with an iced mocha)
Inside the hut, the finished crown offers magnificent cathedral like lighting, perfect for meditation.
As the light traveled around the dome throughout the day, the energy was exhilarating.
It felt cavernesque, or like being under water in a secret place.
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