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Clayfest: Celebrating Mud in Construction

The week of the 12th marked the start of Clayfest – a festival celebrating the many applications of Mud! Held at the Heritage Skills Centre within the boundaries of Lincolnshire Castle, the Design Team along with some of Hill Holt Woods Rangers and Learners attended over the course of the week. From cob walling to building a Spanish oven to learning about the Lincolnshire Building Vernacular – Mud and Stud. Over our 4 days we were able to see the clay come to life!

Cob Walling

Before any construction takes place, the foundation has to be put in place. The simple foundation selected uses large stones bonded with a clay mortar, from this the cob walling can begin. The Cob wall is a mixture of earth clay, straw and water, and is mixed using our feet (with shoes on as there are some stones). Over the week this was built up, and using form work, two arches were made, with an infinity symbol sculpted into the facade.

Spanish Pizza Oven

The base for the Spanish pizza oven was put in place. Rammed Earth was used as making the process very quick and efficient. From then on it was the use of adobe bricks of different shapes and sizes to build up the oven. We used a very wet mix similar to that of the bricks make up as a mortar. The theory behind the oven is that is you can burn pretty much anything in the lower firing chamber with all the heat from that rising into the oven itself and escaping through the chimney.

Mud and Stud

This method of construction is the historic Lincolnshire vernacular. It gave us great insight into how to construct as our predecessors would have done. It is a relatively simple technique requiring an oak timber frame as the main body of the structure, with studs providing bones for the mud to adhere to. It is installed using a daubing fork. As the mud is applied you ensure that it is fully compacted and level before adding the next layer. This is how the walls would have been built hundreds of years ago ( some still standing today) The roof would have been finished with thatch.

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