Is there a natural builder personality?

Michael Beck's picture

What does it take to be a natural builder?

I believe that anybody can learn natural building skills. I look at myself as an example. Two years ago, I couldn't tell you what an earthship was. Since then, I've been in full-power natural building mode, involved in many projects and thinking/talking/dreaming about natural and sustainable building.

I've learned that it takes more than physical skills to be a natural builder. This realization has been a tough one for me, because to be a successfull natural builder who sees projects through in a timely manner, it takes more than physical skills. It takes motivation, inspiration, attention to detail, organization, creativity, a positive attitude, resilience...

But most of all, it takes patience! Natural building takes longer than conventional building with power tools, cranes, tractors, etc. This is fact, an often-overlooked fact. In the last week or two, I've watched Loren carve a tree stump. 

Yes, Loren did this for over a week. Last month, a group of 5-8 people picked water reed for two weeks for a thatched roof. Now, you might be saying to yourself...these people are insane! That thought is perfectly acceptable (and we are a bit crazy!) but my point is this. Being a natural builder is so much more than the acquisition of new skills. In my natural building journey, I've had some really tough times...not necessarily with the learning of new skills, but rather having to constantly step back and say to myself "Okay Michael, have patience. Have perseverance...when you look back at the finished project, you will feel ten times better than if you picked up that chainsaw and bought some gasoline."


When we thatch this roof and people for decades come to visit one of the few thatched roofs in Portugal, they will learn that each piece of water reed was hand-picked by a dedicated group of natural building enthusiasts. THIS is inspiration. THIS is the type of spirit that will inspire other people to try out natural building.

Through natural building, I am learning things about myself totally seperate from the building process itself. Perhaps it will become a new form of therapy? there's a business idea....

I envision a Phantom Tollbooth-style workshop where it is encouraged that participants move sand grain-by-grain with tweezers to develop patience...maybe that's a bit too far but here we go! I'm off to hand-drill some holes!

Until next time,



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