Mentoring the founders – honoring a teacher.

Mentoring the founders – honoring a teacher.

April 3, 2012 Brandy Community 0

Patrick Hennebery (image from

In life some of the greatest milestones are created by meeting heroes. In the natural building movement we have the known North American grandfathers/fathers/mothers in our movement… but we do not always hear the story of what they are up to when they step forward in their evolution from ‘founders’ to ‘mentors’ of the new founders.

This is a little story about one such man, Patrick Hennebery of, by Brandy Gallagher.

Somewhere shy of 20 years ago Pat entered the movement start up under the lineage of Ianto Evan’s mentorship. From the first workshop where Pat brought Ianto to Canada (Mayne Island) – a confluence of natural building has been created around the Southern Gulf and Vancouver Island area. This start place created a wellspring from Pat, Houses That Love You Back/O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE’s beloved Elke Cole (now living in Africa), and then Tracy Calvert….when they created Cobworks. In 2000 the cobworks team, myself and a range of up and coming natural builders, pulled together to create the first Canadian “Natural Building Colloquium 2000”. We were off and running. Workshops began, information/education booths at every event imaginable, “All Cobbers Weekend Rendevous/End of Season Gathering”, and so much sharing of projects between us all. Sometime after this Pat Hennebury partnered with Kit Maloney, Elke came over to O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE from Mayne Island and started the “Natural Building Internship”, and Pat/Tracy/Kit were off and running with Cobworks building and teaching.

Patrick Hennebery has touched the lives of so many of us; as a friend, a colleague, a creative conspirator, a teacher, a co-designer, a communitarian and an all around amazing human being. His love for the work and the peoples in the natural building movement has had a lasting impact (handprint) on each of us. The memories which have been created are part of the legacy of how Pat creates his world.

Not everyone may know that this incredible man has moved from his role of full time ‘founding’ teacher/builder to ‘mentor’/builder these days. Recently Pat, Kit, and their children, Ethan and Brody have had their lives changed dramatically as each has been begun the journey of learning a new life with Pat’s diagnosis of Parkinsons. In true Pat style…this has not meant slowing down necessarily but certainly it has meant having to find new creative ways to pour out the expression of human love and inspiration that Pat crafts as his world.

This has brought together a new conversation between Pat/Kit/Cobworks and O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE. With Pat and Kit in the process of selling Fernhollow, the longstanding home of Cobworks, new possibilities emerge. What about the dovetailing of a variety of people’s gifts being brought together in a new way? What about a deep honoring and acknowledgement of the founding energy of Pat Hennebury/Cobworks incredible teacher/builder history moving further into a ‘mentoring’ builder status?

Many hands make light work and with 3 other natural builder and conventional builders beside Pat…..a team has been forming. Stack the deck even further and you can broaden your thinking to imagine a further partnering with Cob Cottage jumping in to the partnership through Pat’s affiliation with Ianto. The mentor, who mentored a mentor, who is now mentoring…. Imagine all the best of the hands-on learning, creativity and Pat’s leadership and Cob Cottage’s added framework, coupled with O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE’s 25-acre Sustainable Living Demonstration Site and Education Center…..and you have this summers “Cob and Community in the Village”.

A poetic natural building synthesis of Cobworks, Cob Cottage Company, and O.U.R. Natural Building schools.


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