Clay plaster and sculpture

This year Athena Steen brings her son Benito Steen to OUR Ecovillage to join Elke Cole to teach 3 courses on natural building. Whether you are a well seasoned natural builder, a tradesperson greening your skill set, or an artist builder this course has something for everyone to learn with these master builders. 

See descriptions below and make your choice. For experienced plasterers we’re also offering a two-day advanced training on special techniques for surface finishes with Benito. The other two courses are open to all levels of experience.


From last years plaster workshop

colorful plasterwork

Weekend Introduction to Clay Plaster and Paints

June 7, 7pm – 9pm and June 8 & 9, 9am – 5pm

Cost: $220 plus taxes*

*Food and Accomodation Upgrades Available

Taught by Athena Steen and Elke Cole

Join the “Sculpting and Plastering with Clay” workshop for two days and an evening to get a taste of these beautiful natural building techniques and get answers to your questions.

In this course you will learn:

  • What’s in a clay plaster?
  • Why should I choose clay over other materials?
  • Where do I find the ingredients?
  • and more!

You will see finished examples of clay plasters and paints in the buildings at OUR Ecovillage and participate in lectures as well as have some hands-on work. For full skill-building consider taking the full “Sculpting and Plastering with Clay” course.

Instructor Athena Steen is joined by Elke Cole to present choices, answer questions and inspire your imagination.

This course is for all levels. Beginners as well as more experienced builders welcome.

cob bench gets plastered

Sculpting and Plastering with Clay 

June 7, 7pm – 9pm and June 8 -12, 9am – 5pm

Cost: $575 plus tax 

*Food and Accomodation Upgrades Available

with Athena Steen and Elke Cole

From expert natural builder Athena Steen you will learn to mix and apply a variety of plasters – for sculpting and finishing your natural design projects and bringing your visions to life. 

Find out how you can make improvements to the indoor quality and look of your home with simple, natural, low cost, & local ingredients.

Learn about color options and recipes and get plenty of practice on buildings and with other fun projects.

Every day we integrate conversation with short lectures, giving participants plenty of time to take notes and ask questions. You will be part of transforming a cob house into a beautiful space with natural color and light.

In this course you will learn:

  • to develop your recipe
  • how to apply clay plaster with different trowels
  • how to sculpt and design with clay and create 3-D walls
  • create a beautiful finish with good performance and beauty.


We ask that participants bring their own stainless or blue steel trowel. You can find a good selection here.

(with enough notice you can order your trowel through us. Please email Elke.)

Instructors Athena Steen and Elke Cole will be combining their skills and expertise in natural building and will be there to teach, answer your questions, and help you gain confidence and experience to create your  own projects.

This course is for all levels. Beginners and more experienced builders welcome.


Polished Clay and Lime Finishes for Professionals

with Benito Steen

June 17 & 18, 9am -5 pm

Cost: $249 plus taxes

Outline: An introduction to polished clay and lime plasters, and the craft of making dorodango polished clay balls.

Overview of activities:

Day 1
  • Introduction and mixed preparation
  • Application of Lime and Clay bases
  • Preparing a dorodango core
Day 2
  • Polishing clay and lime finishes
  • Polishing dorodango
  • Sealing & Final on clay and lime finish

Check out Bentino’s plastering and finishing skills!

There's more!
Join with Natural Builders in the movement for our...

Before you go any further..

Would you like to save 10%, 20%, or even 50% off ALL OUR Courses?

Sign up to become one of OUR Monthly Sustainers today!

Your Natural Building Instructors

Athena Steen is well known for her mastery in natural plasters and creating beauty with clay.She is founding director of Canelo Project in Arizona.

Her teaching has taken her to Europe and Mexico, as well as the US and Canada.

At OUR Ecovillage Athena has taught workshops for the past 3 seasons finishing the exterior and interior of the Zero Mile Eatery with her signature 3 dimensional design.

Benito Steen, a natural builder, home-schooled, he grew up building with his parents Bill and Athena Steen. He and his younger brother, Oso, gravitated early on as teenagers towards the trades and arts such as; plastering, blacksmithing and woodworking. He has taught natural building throughout Latin American and Southeast Asia. Always learning and experimenting he mixes old techniques with the new, to create beautifully sustainable and healthy houses.

Elke Cole is one of Canada’s first cob builders. She brings rich experience of building and teaching on 4 continents. As architectural designer and natural builder she has played a key role in the development of O.U.R. Ecovillage. Find out more about Elke on her website .



After being in Athena’s plastering workshop I received a more in-depth understanding and appreciation for the natural materials we were utilizing. There was lots of hands on instruction and techniques for different plastering applications. Even with the size of our class, Athena made sure to attend to each of us on an individual level, and help us to achieve our goals. She’ll yell but she loves you. Ryan,  participant 2017

More Questions?

Email us at

Call us during our business hours, Monday to Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm PST at 1-250-743-3067