Los Angeles Interior Earthen Plaster Workshop


We’re proud to be co-hosting an interior earthen plaster workshop by adobe masters Kurt Gardella and Ben Loescher. The workshop will take place at the home of John Zapf and will thus be your chance to meet the architect of our chicken run and yet to be built man cave. Here’s the info on the workshop–hope to see some of you there:

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 9am to 5pm

Location: The class will be conducted in the Lincoln Heights area of Los Angeles and will be hosted by John Zapf and Root Simple. Coffee and nibbles will be provided at the beginning of the day; lunch is included.

Workshop Description: Earthen plasters are a great way to finish just about any wall substrate in the home. They create a soft, breathable final plaster layer which regulates humidity, odors and sounds like no other wall finish can. This May, Kurt Gardella returns to California for a one-day intensive workshop to teach you how to finish your existing wall substrate (red brick, poured concrete, concrete block, drywall, old plaster finishes) with an earthen plaster mix using affordable, off-the-shelf bagged clays and sands. Attendees will leave the class with the knowledge necessary to finish their own walls using inexpensive materials that can be easily found at any pottery supply store. The class is suitable for homeowners, building professionals and do-it-your-selfers. No prior experience is necessary.

Topics Include:

  • clay sourcing, testing and preparation (bagged clay screening & soaking)
  • sand sourcing, testing and preparation (bagged silica sand screening)
  • importance of aggregate grain variation in plasters
  • finish coat straw selection and preparation (fine chop)
  • finish plaster tool overview and usage
  • strength additive overview, preparation and mixing (wheat paste)
  • earthen plaster finish coat mixing, application with hawk and trowel
  • earthen plaster finish coat surface finishing techniques (sponge, hard metal trowel, plastic trowel)

Instruction Type: This is a hands-on class. Attendees will have the opportunity to get dirty and use tools and equipment typical of earthen finishing. Due to the course format, enrollment will be limited to 10 individuals. Instruction will occur primarily indoors.

Instructors: Kurt Gardella teaches adobe construction at Santa Fe Community College, is Director of Education for Adobe in Action, and is certified as an earth-building specialist by the German Dachverband Lehm. Ben Loescher is a licensed architect, founder of adobeisnotsoftware and principal of golem|la, an architecture firm specializing in adobe construction.

Registration: $50 per person (click here to pre-register online)

Questions: Please do not hesitate to contact Ben by email at [email protected] or by phone at (760) 820-5326.

Beekeeping Class at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano

bees poppy

I’ll be teaching a two hour introduction to natural no-treatment beekeeping at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano this Saturday at 1 pm. To sign up buzz over here. Here’s the class description:

Become a backyard beekeeper and enjoy a healthy garden full of pollinators. Understand beekeeping tools, materials, and techniques to get started.

Beekeeping, or apiculture, is said to have begun with the Egyptians who used logs, boxes, and pottery vessels to make hives. Today, with bees dissapearing at rapid and never before seen rate, the practice of caring for bees is needed now more than ever.

Join us for this workshop on all natural, no treatment beekeeping. Learn the basics of beekeeping including makeup of the hive, equipement, types of hives, where to get bees, and reasons for beekeeping.

Learn how you can support bees in return and join us for this special workshop!

The Ecology Center is located at 32701 Alipaz St in San Juan Capistrano. Phone: (949) 443-4223

Legalize Beekeeping in LA!


Action alert: LA City Council will vote on legalizing bees this Wednesday. I got the following note from Francesca De La Rosa–If you’re in LA please consider writing your councilcritter or attending the council meeting.

As you’ve heard, LA City Council is voting on 3 pending bee measures on Wednesday, February 12th (press conference at 9:15 am). These are the three items that will be voted on:




We hope to see you at City Hall on Feb. 12. But before that, we still need to build support and secure commitments from the Councilmembers. We urge you to reach out to the City Councilmembers by email, asking them to vote yes on all three motions. 

Please send out a simple email to each of the Councilmembers with the following:

Greetings Councilmember __________,

My name is ____________, and I urge you to support Council Files 12-0785 (Legalize Urban Beekeeping in Los Angeles), 13-0002-S134 (Saving America’s Pollinators Act), and 13-1660 (Humane Policy for Live Bee Removal).

Bees are essential to urban food production, providing local environmental and economic benefits through pollination and honey production. Over the past several years, honeybee colonies throughout the United States have experienced high rates of loss and many are in danger of collapse. Los Angeles, with its diverse pollen sources, is an urban oasis for bees, which are also threatened by heavy pesticide application in rural areas. Legalizing beekeeping in our neighborhoods gives our communities a resource to humanely and non-lethally care for healthy bee colonies.

Emails and phone numbers:

Councilmember Gil Cedillo (CD-1): councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org

Councilmember Paul Krekorian (CD-2): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Bob Blumenfield (CD-3): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Tom LaBonge (CD-4): councilmember.Labonge@lacity.org

Councilmember Paul Koretz (CD-5): [email protected]

Councilmember Nury Martinez (CD-6): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Felipe Fuentes (CD-7): councilmember.fuentes@lacity.org

Councilmember Bernard Parks (CD-8): councilmember.parks@lacity.org

Councilmember Curren Price (CD-9): councilmember.price@lacity.org

Council President Herb Wesson (CD-10): councilmember.wesson@lacity.org

Councilmember Mike Bonin (CD-11): councilmember.bonin@lacity.org

Councilmember Mitchel Englander (CD-12): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (CD-13): councilmember.[email protected]

Councilmember Jose Huizar (CD-14): councilmember.huizar@lacity.org

Councilmember Joe Buscaino (CD-15): councildistrict15@lacity.org

Feel free to use your personal email address if you cannot send one from your work address.