Welcome 

Rebearth is an earth building venture, founded in Scotland by mud and mortar mason, Becky Little. By learning from the past and working with nature, we want to celebrate and develop the skills and traditions of earth. Our mission is to make, mend, and experiment with subsoils, lime and natural materials to spread the knowledge and joy of earth building in all its forms, including cob, mudwall, clay and hemp, wattle and daub, turf building, soft capping, clay plasters, earth sculpture and decoration. We are also experts in the use of clay and lime mortars with stone.

Rebearth was created out of my need for a more soulful and holistic approach to building and my desire to share the knowledge that I have gained over the past 20 years.

Stay wild and keep learning……

clayfest

I don't do a lot of decoration but I do like big simple motifs using earth pigments. This sunflower was applied onto a base coat of fine earth plaster using a coarser strawy mix coloured with ochre and raw umber. I sketched in the design quickly with a small tool and liked the rough marks so much I decided to leave them - they seem to add movement which would be lost if I made things too tidy. I'm now looking for another surface to play on. ... See MoreSee Less

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European earth builders are meeting in France just now and I'm off to join them tomorrow. Especially exciting times for turf, a beautiful and durable tradition on the northern periphery of Europe and beyond. This was the section of wall made during the workshops at last year's Clayfest in Scotland. ... See MoreSee Less

EURO TURF There has been a very interesting dicussion about turf this week, with a turf church in Croatia, Georgain turf partitions in Georgan houses in Dublin, phd's in France, reconstructions in Sco...

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The importance of samples……I have never been a big fan of jam jar or shrinkage tests for building soils. They can be misleading and reveal very little about whether a soil is good for building, especially if the clay is expansive. I much prefer to shape the moist subsoil in my hands, which quickly indicates if any amount of clay is present, and then go on to make samples with different ratios of soil, sand and fibre until I have a robust and workable material. As I fine tune the mix the samples get bigger so I can watch how they dry, jump on them, hit them with a hammer or leave them in the rain (ideally for a whole winter). They often lie about the house or garden so I can live with them for a while. This process of playing with a material develops an intuitive approach which I like but lab tests are really important too, especially when you’re relearning a centuries old craft in a few short decades. ... See MoreSee Less

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Robert Cedotal, Penne Dowling and 23 others like this

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Solid Earth Adobe Buildings Ltdthe jar test has been proven to be up to 1700% out due to the fact that it reveals nothing about the silt to clay ratio in most cases. i still find shrinkage tests useful, especially for mortars, but totally agree that sampling is the way to go. make samples or what you want to do - plasters, bricks, etc - to get a really good indication for mixes. then test the samples. the NZ earthbuilding standards prescribe a set of tests that can be easily documented. btw - LOVE your work!3 weeks ago   ·  2
Gena ArthurI've had some odd experiences with samples. I made some samples and put balls of the samples on top of fence posts, on rocks, on top of tires and more to see how they behaved. Well, they stood up to many rain storms and snow when directly exposed like that but, once as a wall in a small building and with the rain hitting horizontally, it washed out very quickly and lots of damage which I found so very surprising after how the samples did. Would you be so kind as to provide info about how expansive clay behaves generally? I can't find a lot of info and I feel that may be the root of the problem. Thx3 weeks ago
Gena ArthurIt was our south wall that sustained all of the damage despite a good over hang. Definitely the driving rain, but I considered that the clay in our mix may not have been most desirable. I'm not sure though because the other walls virtually no damage.3 weeks ago
Natural Building CollectiveYou need to test for compressive and tensile strength. This is how we do it. naturalbuildingcollective.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/understanding-earth-ii-testing-earth/2 weeks ago   ·  1
Richard GautierCouldn't agree more. Great work. Long live the future of the past.3 weeks ago   ·  2

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The sub soils I work with in Perthshire tend to be very rich in silt and clay with not much sand but the traditional builders knew how to make them workable and durable by packing in lots of straw. They also used pronged tools to shape them rather than beaters or spades, probably because the suction on these flat tools was just too great. I have seen no evidence for trimming at all and no sign of shuttering but there is always more to find. This is a 250 year old piece of mudwall from an old farmhouse near the Tay. ... See MoreSee Less

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Gena ArthurAmazing!3 weeks ago   ·  1

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I've been making an earth floor in the cottage - This is a first floor bedroom onto a timber base (with very sturdy joists below). Several months ago we laid a 50mm base coat using rough recyled cob mix. Once the cob was dry we used the space as a workshop to make sure the base layer became thoroughly compacted. The top coat containing clay soil/ sharp sand/ chopped straw was floated and allowed to firm up for a few hours before a final layer of clay soil/ fine sand was polished in to make a tight finish. This will all be sealed with oil once it's dry. I worked alone at a steady pace so the joins are a bit more pronounced but I'm confident that a bit of sponging with slip with blend it all together nicely. Most things are possible if you just plug away at them and I like the gentle rhythm these materials and methods need. ... See MoreSee Less

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Fran KeithJust wondering, what was between the floor joists before you started to put down the base layer ?4 weeks ago   ·  1
Alison BreachLovely! Can I ask what's in your base mix (or what you would recommend I use for filling in the gaps in a wine bottle wall)?4 weeks ago   ·  1
Emma Winfield TubbGreat post - lovely work & detailed info. I'm going to be doing my top coats myself in the not-too-distant future so the slip blending idea for join camouflage is a really good tip! x4 weeks ago   ·  4
Fran KeithLovely bit of trowling work there Mrs little ( if that's the correct terminology!)4 weeks ago   ·  2
Veronica Balfour PaulThis looks really lovely. You must be proud.4 weeks ago   ·  3
Johnny Dale4 weeks ago   ·  1

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