LAST CALL for 2019 Straw Bale Workshop Host Applications

Written by Andrew Morrison

straw bale workshop group photo

This is the OFFICIAL LAST CALL for 2019 straw bale workshop host applications, so if you’ve been considering putting your project in the hat for a 2019 straw bale workshop, now is the time to get it done. CLICK HERE to visit the “Want to Host” page and submit your application today. I’ll be reviewing all of the 2019 straw bale workshop host applications I currently have on file along with any more that come in before the end of September. I plan to have my hosts in place no later than the end of October with the annual announcement of the 2019 straw bale workshop locations taking place on Black Friday.

What’s it like to be a straw bale workshop host?

2019 straw bale workshopIf you haven’t already experienced one of our workshops, then let me try to explain it for you. Imagine 35 or so people showing up on your site with one intention: to build your house while learning the skills necessary to build their own house. The speed in which each task or group of tasks gets completed is sometimes hard to believe. What’s more, the amount of humor, love, care, and dedication that goes into the house is something that cannot be replaced. There’s a true sense of community that will leave its fingerprints on your home forever. A home built from love and care will provide exactly that to those who live within its walls. Previous hosts from around the world would tell you the same thing: there is nothing like the love that’s put into a straw bale workshop home. CLICK HERE to submit your application today.

People who attend our workshops always say similar things

men standing by straw bale wallIt’s not uncommon at all to hear people say things like: “it was the best week of my life”; or “I made lifelong friends”; or “I learned so much more than just about straw bale construction and my life will never be the same because of those lessons”. These amazing comments are something that hosts get to experience from a unique perspective: that of being the caring individual that ties the group together with quality hosting. After all, it’s the little things that go one hundred miles in a group like this. If you provide the right environment for your participants, including quality shower and toilet facilities, excellent food, an organized job site, and a general feeling of care for your people, you’ll be amazed what they’re willing and able to do for you and your project. When people are cared for, they pour their hearts and hard work into your house. That love and care is what makes a project special.

Competition is stiff

straw bale workshop hostsThe application process to be a 2019 straw bale workshop host is competitive, so it’s in your best interest to get your application in right away and to make it full of excitement and promise. After all, the goal is to provide you with a FULL workshop and the best way to achieve that is to have a compelling story and location. What is it that makes your location better than the next? Why would people want to take a week off of work to come build your house? What can you do to truly inspire people to join us on your build? What extra tidbits can you offer to make your build that much more special? By answering these questions really well, along with all of the questions found on THIS PAGE, and submitting them as your 2019 straw bale workshop host application, you can set yourself up for success and set yourself apart from your competition.

The best of the best

After teaching more than 60 straw bale workshops since 2006, I have seen just about everything from average hosts to poor hosts to the best of the best. Over the years, Gabriella and I have tightened up our vetting process to insure that we get quality hosts. Of course, we’re not perfect and there have been times when the hosts have not performed as well as we would have liked and we continue to learn from those experiences.

straw bale workshop participantsWe also learn from the hosts who go above and beyond to create the ultimate straw bale workshop experience. To date, the best host yet is still my friend Howard who absolutely rocked it in Walsenburg, CO a few years ago. He put on the best show from a host perspective, and he got the most work done on his project as a result. We plastered his entire house, inside and out, and it was a) a BIG house and b) billed as an “advanced workshop” because of how difficult the design was. Nonetheless, he rocked the hosting and we rocked his house!

What we learned

Howard made it crystal clear that organization is the key to success. He purchased new tools for almost all of the tasks ahead of us so we never once had to slow down to fix broken tools. He had the entire house wrapped in scaffolding by a professional crew so that we had 100% access to 100% of the house 100% of the time. We could literally do any task at any time without ever having to move a ladder. We had a dedicated dining area with an event tent so we could enjoy our meals no matter what the weather decided to throw at us. When it came time to plaster, he rented two mixers so that there was never a wasted minute in the mixing process and plaster delivery.

straw bale workshop

At the end of each day, he pushed out two wheelbarrows full of beer, wine, and non alcoholic drinks. It was just enough to allow each person a drink or two and it felt as if we were being treated like rock stars! He built a shower facility that was (and is to date) the best I have seen. It was a shipping container that was carved out into three private bathrooms each with shower, sink, and flushing toilet. The end of the container was converted into their on-site kitchen where delicious meals were crafted with care by his “kitchen staff” of family and friends.

Remember all those new tools Howard bought for his workshop? Well at the end of the week he offered tool packages to the participants for a killer deal which helped him get back some of the outlay of cash. A participant could get a new (one week of use) Stihl chainsaw, Stihl weedwacker, 1 tamper, 2 baling needles, 2 mesh stretching forks, a Senco staple gun, and a plaster hawk and trowel all for about $1000. The Chainsaw alone cost $380, so the deal was good for everyone involved. Sure he didn’t make all of his money back on the tools he purchased, but he more than made up for that with the amount of work that was accomplished on his house.

So the challenge has been made, the gauntlet thrown down: who can knock Howard off of the BEST HOST pedestal, if anyone? This is no easy task, and I look forward to seeing how you plan to become the straw bale workshop host king or queen of the hill!

CLICK HERE to submit your application and start dreaming about how amazing YOUR WORKSHOP is going to be…


straw bale workshop group photo

2 Responses

  1. I’ve wanted to build my own straw bale house since the 80s/90s when I 1st saw articles here in the Bay Area & heard California made it legal to build one. I’m now 51 about to retire from my job in SF that I’ve worked for 22yrs Rainbow Grocery Natural food Coop. My shares are my last HooRah for buying property & land & setting myself up for security in my old age yrs to come. Right now 1 of my fav shows watching right now is Off the Grid which has always interest me. Not sure if I will stay in Cali cause of high property taxes,& pretty much getting sick of the rat race. My brother built his own house in La.,got a contractor’s license jus for that. Ppl hired him to build their houses & used his plans as well. Hope I can learn in the near future & get some hands on experience. I am most deff a do yourself kinda person. Some day I hope I can communicate w/your #1 host,cause it is most deff smart to be organized so you don’t waste time & money. I also own & run a sk8 shop here in Vallejo Ca.,we moved here from SF 4yrs ago. I’m about to hav my 2yr anniversary. Our grandopening I went all out w/bands food,& took care of my bands & everyone that helped. Well I hav bands every yr but not as many. So I like to be prepared. Well if my dreams come tru I can accomplish building that hay bale house some day.

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