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American Clay Workshops – Take it From The Pro- It’s Always Worth it!

American Clay Earth Plaster is a very user-friendly product. You don’t have a time crunch as with lime plasters to consider, it’s healthy to be around, and it’s a pleasant natural product to work with. May we suggest however, that if you involve yourself in an informative (and fun) workshop the learning curve becomes even  smoooooother!

Your may find that your clay stays on the hawk better, you’re likely to have a better feel for the ideal thickness of each layer, you’ll know how to approach  working corners and edges, and you’ll learn from others in the group.  Did I mention- the coffee is great too?!

Everyone is welcome- from novice to professionals and it is affordable! Like with any new product the sharing process between everyone, (and this most certainly includes professionals  in some type of finish application trade), – we learn from each other and lots of questions get answered.Room to play

Jim Erskine,  instructor of  the classes held at The ARCH in Asheville, is an “American Clay trained applicator” as well as a mason by trade.  He has applied well over 50,000sf of clay and in many different settings. With more than a bit of experience  he has had his share of trouble shooting  which makes for a great instructor as he’s likely to have more answers for all kinds of applications.  (Always helpful).

Everyone  works with the application of a first coat, then a second coat, compression of the clay, then we touch on working corners, edges, and repairs.

Jim’s experience doesn’t come from just a single large job- he has worked with and learned from a wide variety of applications such as: all kinds of homes, commercial spaces, historical homes, bathroom ceilings, conference room walls, educational facilities, high walls, tight spaces, stairwells, wine cellars, kitchens, new construction, old construction, chimney chases, applications over brick, over block, over repaired plaster, over dry wall, over Hempcrete, along stone edges, on curvy walls, from rustic settings to contemporary, for happy-go-lucky customers to the more “selective” customer- and the list goes on. He’s worked solo, with other applicators, teamed up with customers or other professionals.

Mastering the first coat

Confidence building!

For several years The ARCH has held morning workshops once a month. The half-day workshop is great to learn all the basics, better understand the products, get your hands into it, gain a little extra confidence, and it’s an opportunity to ask a LOT of questions. Most of all participants develop a passion and understanding for clay as a fabulous wall finish. It lasts, it’s breathing, it’s healthy, it feels good, it contributes to LEED points, and it has DEPTH! (My favorite descriptive word is DEPTH!) unlike flat finishes such as paint, clay has a depth. Paint has no “doorway of interest” like clay. In the workshop Jim discusses the different clay types, the new products including Up& EZ which, when added to the clay, can be rolled on and troweled out, he shares examples of samples and walls within the showroom, demonstrates the walls within the showroom, demonstrates the mixing process of the clay and pigment, demonstrates trowel use, how to get a nice consistency with the clay, and much more.

Jim discussing technique with applicators

Finally there’s time to play with different finishes and techniques.  It’s an easy going product! Easy to apply, pleasant to be around, great to live with.

Cleaning off the hawk. Natural and safe

A customer was  in the other day that had taken a class a couple of years ago and  is about to begin a second home project with an artistic lime putty wash finish. He shared that he  occasionally goes around misting his walls  with a fine mist of water just to smell the wonderful earthy aroma that when hydrated slightly will evaporate right back into the air.  Oops, he “overshot spraying his plants” – just a pleasant reminder to do it again! Ah, a guy that uses all of his senses.

CLASS INFO:
Monthly 2.5 hour class:                                                                                                             To sign up for our monthly class at The ARCH call us directly at 828 253 5455 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            828 253 5455      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or  email us at: cmsilver@thearchnc.com. Class details listed on American Clay’s workshop schedule   Cost: 50.00 per person.  Western North Carolina Green Building Council members take 10% off.
Full day class:                                                                                                                              With enough participants we can arrange a full-day class.  Look for future postings of this class. If we don’t have one scheduled and you’d like a full day class- call us and it’s our motivator to arrange this class. Cost will be 125.00.
Artistic application workshop coming this Fall. Available to those that have previously worked with American Clay.
Professional 2 day class. Cost 500.00. To be arranged based on interest level. This class is for those interested in becoming a trained applicator, or adding it to your professional offerings.  Call us!
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Lime Gauging and Lime Washes over American Clay: More than Just a New Palette

Have you ever noticed how just a couple of new ingredients changes everything exponentially?  We’re hard at work introducing a variety of finishes, experimenting, and developing a new palette of options.  One of the finish options  we work with is American Clay Lime Putty.  The focus here is lime gauging and lime wash effects that you can create used in conjunction with the already beautiful  American Clay’s  line of award-winning earth plasters- Loma, Porcelina, Maritimo and Enjarre. It is a pure high-calcium lime putty mixed with  the clay itself (lime gauging) or diluted with water and pigment if desired you create a lime wash by brushing over a previously earth clay troweled wall surfaces. The lime will continue to harden over the days and months ahead creating a harder finish. Benefits include breathability, mold and mildew resistance, and humidity buffering qualities.

Wall example with American Clay earth plaster- Lime gauged and Lime washed Enjarre, 1/3 wild horse smoke, skip troweled

The amazing part of it all is that the more we work with the lime effects (along with all the other finishes we have worked with) it continues to teach us something historically, architecturally, and artistically.

Burnished lime gauged Porcelina wall with Lake Tahoe

This example along the stairwell shows a porcelina clay which is lime gauged. When burnished it highlights  the lime and polishes nicely.

This yellow wall  has a lime wash. On Loma, Maritimo or Enjarre, the lime wash will be more matte. It can be uniformly applied or more random as in this detail image.

Lime washed Loma random application, Tuscan gold pigment, skip troweled and burnished

For more information on how to gauge lime putty and lime wash click here to learn more. This is great tutorial on American Clay’s website that will discuss techniques.

Below is a sample board that shows the  Chesapeake Bay Porcelina clay hard troweled with two lime washes applied and burnished. The right white lime wash is pure with no pigment, the left green is the snake river pigment with the lime wash and you can see  how quickly the green takes over the underlying clay yet it peaks through. Both create interesting effects. Varying degrees of lime wash with or without pigment can be applied.

We welcome and encourage conversation regarding lime gauging and lime washes.
We will soon have some workshops for Lime Putty exploration for those that have taken a previous American Clay workshop.
Looking forward to having more fun with our artistic fellow clay friends.
Varying degrees of lime wash with or without pigment can be applied