Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mud Mural part 3

Today a crowd gathered on the grounds of the Boatworks to continue work on this year's community art project, a cob mural. People came and went all day, with more than 40 volunteers of all ages getting involved in some aspect of the process.

The first step today was to fill in the remaining spaces in the bamboo wall constructed last Saturday. This was done with more straw, woven and tied in place, so that there would be a surface to hold the mud mixture.

While some were continuing to weave the wall, others were helping to prepare the cob mixture. Clay that had been dug from the ground had to be sifted to remove rocks and other debris, a task that our volunteers took turns doing.

The next step for the wall was to make a straw and mud mixture. Straw was piled into a wheelbarrow, and mud added to it. A little bit of clay and water were mixed in to bring it to the right consistency.

As happened last week, some people chose to mix it another way- with their feet. Stirring with hands and stomping and dancing on the mixture is a good way to incorporate the straw into the cob mix.

The straw now thoroughly coated with mud, our crew started adding it to the wall, starting at the bottom and working their way up.

Gradually, the muddy straw mix began to cover the whole wall.

By early afternoon we had other people contributing to the success of the event. Musical entertainment was provided by Black Cat Luck, made up of brothers Matt and Chris Dubrow and friend Matt Curran. They provided a mix of rock, blues, country, and folk music for us to enjoy through the end of the day.

Meanwhile, the BAC provided food for all those in attendance. Hot dogs and hamburgers were cooked on the grills, and distributed to everyone, in addition to plenty of sliced watermelon, chips, and cold water.

After everyone was fed, hard work on the wall resumed. The muddy straw layer finished, project leader Kat Heitman and others started adding a layer of clay to the wall.

By 3:00 in the afternoon, the wall was completely covered with clay, with just an indication of the rough texture of the straw underneath. Our crew would have been ready to continue, but Kat let us know that it would be better to let this stage of the wall dry before continuing on to the last step, a smoother final layer with a multicolored mud relief design. Below is a photo of the state of the wall at the end of the day's work.

Ideally we'd prefer to let this dry in the sun, but with some predictions of area rainstorms we felt it safer to keep it under the protective canopy for a few days. In the near future we'll bring together another group of volunteers and finish our cob wall. We will post photos of the results here and it will remain on public view until the earth reclaims it.

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