A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Village Arts Building – It’s a Sign!

Growing a community from the forest forward happens on so many levels. Creating decision-making protocols and gaining skill with them; discovering the lay of the land and working out site plans; developing infrastructure and sources of funding. Living with each other and deepening our connections. On and on it goes.

Now, in our fifteenth year, we can say we’ve done quite a bit of groundwork, and still the process continues. Today, and for the foreseeable tomorrows, long-term economic needs are getting extra attention. As a group, we’re looking into ways to help support individual entrepreneurial ventures, including building a code-approved kitchen in which to prepare foods for market, perhaps through a member co-op. The kitchen is likely to be housed in the new community building we’ve sited next to the Council Hall. The building could also contain start-up space for office and retail ventures. Expanding our hospitality potential with ample indoor accommodations could soon turn into both private and community-owned projects.
          Another economically promising endeavor ready to jump off the drawing board is Paul Caron’s dream of an artists and craftspeople co-op, envisioned as an amalgamation of individual studios housed in one wing of the woodshop compound, where artists and artisans ply their trades independently (and also cooperatively on some projects), enjoying the camaraderie and reduced costs that co-ops provide.

Paul’s natural building work exchange and apprentice program officially began this year, and its first project—building a big shed roof adjacent to the woodshop—yielded much-needed storage space and a place for a wildly colorful sign dedicating the expansion of the shop into the future Village Arts Building, “a studio co-op.” (Pictured in the photo are sign painters Kimchi Rylander, Paul, Ian Snesrud, Flora Checknoff, and Dylan McBridewood.)
           Paul is a master woodworker and “furniture magician,” and the designer of our Council Hall and the peeled, round-pole post and beam timber frame construction technique used on many buildings at Earthaven. His comprehensive woodshop is already well used by pro and amateur woodworkers for community projects, prototypes for market, and other woodworking needs. The existing shop is planned to contain the dustiest aspects of woodworking, while the ground floor of the wing will be devoted more to assembly and the cleaner aspects of the work. The second floor of the wing will house the free-style studios, and a third floor is envisioned for potential co-op member housing and social space.
           To thrive in community, we need places and spaces that encourage us to build economic foundations we can rely on. The studio co-op idea has successfully supported the needs of artists and crafters throughout the world. If you are interested in Earthaven as a long-term adventure and think your art or craft could thrive in this kind of setting, or if you feel attracted to a natural building apprenticeship, please let us know.

apprentice, artists, council hall, furniture magician, kitchen, Paul Caron, timber frame, Village Arts Building

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