Playing Full-in: h’Art Attack Part 1
Sculpture, Plaster and Beauty Workshop

June 9 to June 11 from 9am-5pm
Cost: $220 plus taxes*

*Food and Accomodation Upgrades Available

As part of OUR’s Awakening the Dragon project, traditional Pueblo clay artist builder, Athena Steen, will teach you to mix and apply a variety of plasters – for sculpting and finishing your natural design projects and bringing your visions to life. She is joined by Mistresses of Mud and Magic, Elke Cole and Shylene Schlackl.

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

This is a unique and intimate opportunity to spend time detailing and designing.  Whether your work in professional plaster heritage plaster, your own home finishing projects clay painting drywall, or public art projects . – these 3 days will be a great dive in for all who take the opportunity to work with the amazing circles of artist builders who will be in residence on this learning journey.

In this course you will learn:

  • What’s in a clay plaster? And how will I use a wide variety of finishing plasters and paints to create radical acts of beauty?
  • Why should I choose clay over other materials?
  • Where do I find the ingredients?
  • how can all I touch be turned into a practical bringing together of ‘form and function’.

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.

Lead instructors Athena Steen,  Elke Cole, and Shylene Schlackl, to present choices, answer questions and inspire your imagination.

This course is for all levels and for a wide range of skills development as we will work on multiple stations of projects!

Register Now

Playing Full-out: h’Art Attack Part 2
Sculpting and Plastering with Clay 

June 12, 7pm – 9pm and June 13 -17, 9am – 5pm
Cost: $575 plus tax

*Food and Accomodation Upgrades Available

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 variety of spaces into beautiful places with natural color and light.

In this course you will learn:

  • to develop your recipes and create a ‘toolkit’
  • how to apply clay plaster with different trowels
  • how to sculpt and design with clay and create 3-D walls.  The level of artistry will range from all levels of form and function, to high level sculpture and layering, to finish earthen floors with decorative touches and baseboard design,
  • create a beautiful finish with good performance and beauty.

We ask that participants bring their own stainless or blue steel trowel (or you may well be able to order one ahead and some of the teachers will make sure it is on hand for you if you are just starting out in the craft!). You can find a good selection here.  Please email if you wish to order.

Lead instructors Athena Steen,  Elke Cole, Brandy Gallagher, and Shylene Schlackl, and a number of the folks who are staying on after the Natural Building and Ecological Design Colloquium will be combining their skills and expertise in natural building/art forms of multiple genre and will be there to teach, answer your questions, jump off some big edges with you and help you gain confidence and experience to create your  own projects regardless of level of background you are bringing in to the learning circle.

This course is for all levels and will include the Colloquium and all those who stay on to team teach within this crew of experienced artist builders.

Register Now

Your Natural Building Instructors

Athena Steen

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.

Elke Cole

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 OUR ECOVILLAGE Find out more about Elke on her website

Brandy Gallagher

Brandy Gallagher (BSW, MA) is one of the original founders and developers of OUR ECOVILLAGE. As a designer and educator she worked with local to international community builders to create this 25 acre Sustainable Living Demonstration Site and Education Centre. She has served as the Executive Director of OUR Community Association a non-profit society dedicated to educational outreach projects, and worked with legal and research teams in order to design a series of precedent setting regulatory processes. From ‘Comprehensive Development’ land use re-zoning to incorporation of holistic new ownership structures, from governance to building codes, from wastewater to closed loop systems approval – her commitment has been to Lawful Permaculture within the Ecovillage movement.

Born and raised in community her life work has been focused around the development of ‘Sustained Community’.

Shylene Schlackl

As a lifetime resident of Vancouver Island, mother of two, wife, community-engaged artist, environmentalist and long-time OUR villager, designing ways to co-build village is actually what her life’s work is all about. She believes it simply takes the village. It takes the village to be a whole and well-balanced human during all stages of life (not just in childhood). Making art since she was a child and actively building community public art most of her adult life, she sees community art as a vehicle for social change. Creating opportunities for intergenerational, intercultural and interconnectedness throughout the process of making co-dreamed art is what I endeavor to do. Her projects can be found at

Check out Bentino’s plastering and finishing skills!


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

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Land acknowledgment

OUR ECOVILLAGE is situated on unceded Indigenous lands. The Coast Salish Peoples are the guardians of these lands and waters where we live, work, pray, and play. Quw’utsun (Cowichan) is a historical place of gathering and Na’tsa’ maht Shqwaluwun/”one-heart one-mind” for many Indigenous peoples.

OUR ECOVILLAGE is committed to regenerate land and all ecosystems while acknowledging and respecting Indigenous knowledge that ensures thriving for all beings; we call this Permaculture.

OUR ECOVILLAGE is dedicated to continuously educating ourselves and our communities about the history and peoples of OUR bio-region, to assist in decolonization and re-villaging as a path towards peacemaking, from local to global.