Starseed Creative recently visited the Havelock Wool facility in Reno, Nevada; creators of a natural wool fiber insulation
The house that is building me.
I truly feel that our house project is pulling me through the process of creating itself.
With the rainy weather I have some time to put my thoughts down about the creative process of building our hempcrete round house. On some level our house already existed and is using us (Starseed Creative) to manifest itself into the world. As if the house were building itself and I am just trying to keep up with it's progress. I feel that if we didn't go through with this project it would have found manifestation through another means. I feel as if I am being built by this house project, step by step being taken through the creative process from concept to design to construction. How is this possible? By letting the project take the lead and surrendering to the unknown, by releasing expectations and allowing. Taking right action by doing the first step, what is in front of me and then doing that again and again until it seems that all the co-operative components are organizing themselves. The right person with the needed skills shows up at the right time to help us with the next building stage. In this way things seem to manifest before my eyes and the magic of creation happens. As if the house were building itself and I am just trying to keep up with it's progress. The whole building process has been unfolding like this and can be applied in any endeavor.
What I am writing about is the nature of creating which isn't limited to building projects.
Any creative act; film making, art, writing, business, anything that didn't exist before can be a product of conscious creation. One of my teachers, Architect Nader Khalili used to quote Rumi and say "seek thirst not water." In other words, seek the desire for something not the thing it self. He would tell his students to have a purpose, a quest that pulls them through life or a project. Meaning that if we have a quest it makes our dreams more powerful and "they are guaranteed to come true". Nader used to say "the secret to this work is 1000 times we wanted to give up, but 1001 times we didn't." At the end of the day it is not about the project, it is about defining and building the person who is being taken through the process. Another teacher of mine, builder Robert Laporte likes to say that with his company Eco-Nest he and his wife Paula Baker-Laporte are "building the builder." In this way Starseed Creative is using our building project and workshops that we teach to better know ourselves. Nader Kahili would also say that "if you don't have a quest, to follow someone else's quest" to learn the power of your own creative potential, to work out what it is you want and desire that will feed your soul's purpose.
Letting go of having to know everything before I proceed.
By allowing the creative process to flow through me and not be attached to what I thought it should look like is the key. Letting go of expectation and needing things to be perfect allows the project to manifest and be reveled. This allows me to more quickly and effortlessly produce results and move on to the next thing that is calling to be manifested through me. For example, when we were planning for our hempcrete workshop, creating a website, and building the framing of the house at the same time we didn't have time to make multiple drafts of the website and advertising. What came out of me quickly was better that if I had planned, procrastinated, and struggled through the process with multiple drafts and research. This is the lesson I am learning and I am excited to share how to consciously align with the creative process as it unfolds in me.
A spiritual teach of mine who used to be an architect Sat Shree, talks about the creative process by saying something along the lines of "when you are creating through suffering and struggle, that is exactly what you create. It is better to stop from getting overwhelmed and to do what you can and then take the next step." Its been my experience through designing this round house project that there is a timing that happens within the creative process. When I would try to figure out a design problem through effort and long hours of determination I would always struggle and suffer through it, as if I were fighting the creative process itself. The creative process and my intuition were telling me "not yet, work on something else". When I would surrender and leave the problem for a while, the solution would come effortlessly, sometimes in minutes or sometimes not until weeks or months later. I would have to surrender to not knowing how the problem was going to work out and focus on what I could do, what was ready to be expressed. When the solution came it was effortless joy and time would disappear while the solution was being shown to me in ways I never had imagined. The solution was the only thing I wanted to be working on when it showed itself to me and it was effortless creative bliss. As If I had to be in the right mental space or time to receive the solution. Another one of my teachers Abraham-Hicks says something like "a solution is born at the same time as the problem", and all you need to do is "align with the solution, not the problem." This creative process is what is not taught in schools, at least not the schools I attended. I was told that struggle and hard work were the keys to success, not aligning with the creative potential. As a student I didn't want to go through long hours of effort or struggle to be successful, so I would procrastinate and do the minimum possible to get by instead of embracing what was wanting to be expressed through me and be swept away by joy of creating. Now I can let the un-manifested solution reveal itself to me when I am ready to receive it.
When Stella and I would teach natural building workshops through one to ten day courses we would always use the project as a way to know more about ourselves and the same would happen with our students. We saw the structures we were build with groups as a sand painting or mandala that allowed the group to connect to their creative potential. For our round house project we took the same perspective that we were creating a sand panting, not an end product. The house is designed in the layout of a medicine wheel. When we started filling the hempcrete walls with our workshop group we started in the South which is the first direction of the medicine wheel in the tradition Stella and I have studied in from Peru. But instead of going clockwise to the West we filled the walls going counter-clockwise to the East. Stella shared with our workshop group that going counter-clockwise speeds up transformation for all involved in our building project. Everyone who has been working on our house as well has been going through some kind of transformation. They have been in the middle of knowing they want to transition towards a new way of being and creating in the world but not know what it will look like. Surrendering to the potential of what is coming in, opens us up to the true potential of what were are aligned with next.
So what is next?
I often get asked, are you going to become a contractor after building your own house and build these round houses for other people? Or, are you and Stella going to be designers and sell our plans? What do you plan to do with all this building science knowledge? I don't know how to respond to these questions because it seems like I am really in the field of conscious creation that can be used in any endeavor or career. As if I am being built by this current project to show me my own creative power that can be used for whatever comes next. I feel more and more that it is as Stella often says "it is not about what I am doing by how I am doing it."
FRAMING- WEEK ONE
It is recommended to use sustainably grown kiln dried wood for healthy homes when framing because the drying process kills mold spores and sustainably grown wood will not have pestisides. We decided to use sustainably harvested air dried wood because the studs were guaranteed to be below 20% humidity upon arrival and because we live in a very dry climate in the summer and the studs will have ample time to dry out before we install the hempcrete infill. Also the lumber yard we purchased wood from (Casey Wood) moves allot of wood so it doesn't have as much of a chance to stay wet while stacked and start molding.
We cut our 2x6 studs to 13 ft lengths and attached the top plates that come with the Smiling Woods Yurt roof kit. Then we raised each section and toe nailed them to the soul plates. The 2x6 studs are framed to be in the center of the 12" hempcrete infill. Doors and windows were pushed out 2" from the 2x6 studs to create deep interior window sills that will be functional and beautiful.
Scott Usedome (our builder) cut curved double top plates out of 3/4" OSB. These are cut 8ft long to over lap the 4ft top plates that were used as a template. Nailing these double top plates to the top plate helped stabilize the wall and made sure the top of the wall was in alignment with the soul plate. Before adding the double top plates we attached 1x4 diagonal bracing and braced the wall from the inside while checking for plumb from the top plate to the soul plate.
We balanced each stud to find the top and bottom of the tree. The heavy side is the bottom. We made sure that we placed the stud with the top of the tree up to honor the wood that will stand in the wall.
We decided to use pressure treated wood for the soul or bottom plate. We could not find local foundation grade redwood that will against the concrete cores of the Faswall blocks that they are sitting on the way pressure treated wood does. Another option is using a rubber sheet that sits under the soul plate and will protect the wood from the moister that concrete pulls into the wood.
To match the roof kit that we purchased from Smiling Woods Yurts to our foundation walls it was best to drill into the foundation and epoxy the anchor bolts after foundation was poured. The first step was drawing a circle from the center pole to the outside of where the studs will be. Then we used the top plates as a pattern to trace and cut out the bottom plates. All-thread was cut 8" long which provided over 5 1/2" of embedment in the concrete. Next we drilled and epoxied the bottom plates. We used compressed air and a brush to clean out the holes before gluing them in place. The glue didn't set fast so we had time to hit between 16-19 bolts with one tube of 22oz epoxy. The bolts then were pulled up and down to spread the glue and we turned them 1/4 turn to lock the glue in place.
The anchor bolts are hot dipped galvanized which will protect them from the pressure treated wood. We will be painting the tops of the bolts, nuts, and washers to protect them from the alkalinity of the lime in the hempcrete walls while it cures for the first few weeks..
Roadbase or crushed rock can be used as a natural alternative to concrete slabs. This allows the builder to reduce the high embedded energy that is associated with concrete slabs.
Lava rock is is a viable alternative to foam sub-floor insulation is in used in our healthy hempcrete round house.