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Cob Oven (Portland, OR)

Cob Oven Portland

Load-bearing strawbale shed (Port. OR)

straw bale house

store coming soon

earthen hand shop

For Earthen Hand
Tees, email us.

New Day School

A beautiful meditation space created by Earthen Hand.

Earthen Hand Thailand Dome Workshop

Earthen Hand, Thailand Workshop, 2004

Sculptural cob bench by Earthen Hand

Sculptural cob bench by Earthen Hand.

Scott Cobbing back in 2000

Scott Cobbing back in 2000.

The architecture of Hassan Fathy

The architecture of Hassan Fathi.

Toas Pueblo

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico.

Kids making Cob during VBC

Kids making cob at an Earthen Hand event.

Trulli vaults in Southern Italy

Ancient Trulli vaults in Southern Italy.

About Earthen Hand

"Building the earth movement"

Artist Statement

Scott Howard founded Earthen Hand in 2002 with the goals to create amazing natural buildings and empower people by training them in these methods. Earthen Hand offers educational courses in natural building, plus consulting in design, planning, and construction.

Scott started teaching art around 1996. He studied hand built ceramics from age 5, and grew up watching his Dad build fine furniture. In 1999, Scott began studying architectural scale sculpture.

We provide natural building workshops in America and abroad. Each day of a workshop includes hands-on training, discussion, and lecture. Hundreds of people have learned how to build ecologically with us. Our students are of all ages, and everyone learns a lot. Kids love playing with mud. Adults like the socio-political empowerment and utility of these techniques. Our international workshops can assist local communities by donating a useful structure. Participants of our international workshops get to learn about a different culture while doing service in the host country.

Clients can commission anything from sculptural architecture, to earthen paints or plasters, to earth ovens or artwork. People who commission works from us understand that they are contributing to a larger ecological movement. Many clients choose to participate and learn in the building process. Every earthen building completed contributes to growing knowledge and awareness about these methods. Natural Building gains notoriety every time we complete another stunning example. We encourage thoughtful experimentation as it is the origin of design improvement. It is our goal to create durable, artful structures that will inspire people to learn about them.

Natural building continues to become increasingly popular. More people are grasping the incredible importance of eco-conscious practices. Many people world wide are working toward the same goals. We are proud to be part of the global eco movement.


Scott Howard in Mali, Earthbag Dome, Earthen Construction, Dogon Country

It takes subtle sensitivity to build poetic human spaces that embody that "quality without a name"(Christopher Alexander). I aim to create sacred spaces that inspire reverence for nature. The curvilinear, and soft feeling of earthen materials encourages health and well-being. Nature itself shows us all the patterns that we might ever need to make harmonious dwellings in any climate. Natural Building is the realignment of our spaces and consciousness with mother nature. Our ancestors refined constructed human landscapes that never depart from the harmony of the earth. And so we have to ask, 'Was the ancient builder more advanced than the contemporary?'(Vaughn Benjamin)

Just Us

Governments and big businesses have systematically limited so many owner-builders from creating their own dwellings. Who do you think stands to profit? Who stands to lose? Let's reclaim our right to build our own dwellings. Free us from the 30-year mortgage trap, toxic building materials, and the vanity of over-sized houses. Let's reduce wasteful resource flows because so much work needs to be done to do right by the needy, the Earth, and all living beings here. Everyone can take responsibility for the earth by making the most ecological choices possible in each situation. The Earth today is facing an ecological crisis, and the choices we make now can have a huge impact on our own futures - in our own lifetimes. It is up to us.

The Youth

Just imagine all the kids that are learning to build naturally these days. What beauty will these students bring forward as they come into adulthood? There is no doubt that the strong presence of natural building education will spark further development of the movement in the near future.

We must bring the ecological ethos to life. As the youth see participatory, ecological architecture rise from the ground itself, it is magical and unforgettable.


Who can say what the future of human dwellings will hold? Nader Khalili called for thoughtful use of fired earthen architecture. Ceramic structures could last thousands of years, and so are worth the cost of firing them. In old world Southern Italy, dome-shaped houses called trulli were built perhaps thousands of years ago using only stones, earth, and lime. They still stand. These are great examples that we should strive to follow. These structures withstand the centuries because of the pure harmony and skill employed by their builders, not because the materials are high-tech. At the same time, innovative new building materials made from things we already "threw away" are being invented that could be very significant in the immediate future.

Organizations that can profit from work that helps people AND the earth will outlive those that don't. Many potentially profitable opportunities exist all over the world for successful eco-projects. Let's all cooperate on these. Almost everyone and everything on Earth is begging us to. Perhaps what the planet needs most from us humans is more cooperation. We are open to teaming up with the right people and organizations to create natural buildings that push the envelope technically and stylistically. If you are kind and excited about helping the Earth, get in touch!

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