Mud Mavens: Mud Girls Founder Jen Gobby
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It was here that Mud Girls, an all-woman natural building collective, got their start in 2004. Founded by Lasqueti Island-resident Jen Gobby, the collective specializes in building compact energy-efficient homes, cabins, and sheds using cob - a clay mixture of sand, clay, straw, and water - and whatever materials are readily available.
Over the years, the Mud Girls have built affordable, artful structures (often with feminine curves) all over western British Columbia. As part of their practice, the collective also preaches what it practices by sharing their expertise with those interested and spreading their brand of eco-conscious design through community workshops.
Dwell caught up with Gobby, who has been studying environmental studies and anthropology at McGill University in Montreal for the last year, to ask what about she hopes Mud Girls can achieve and how this collective not only empowers women, but helps build a better society.
[Mud Girls] offers women a way to learn to build in a very supportive and non-competitive environment. Many of the women who have come to our workshops to learn to build never would have thought of themselves as builders.
Buy less stuff! Most houses are filled with stuff we don't really need.
Build the smallest home you think you can live in, but design with the option to build-on if you feel the need to later.
You don't need to be a professional builder in order to build your own home. Throughout most of human history, and in many parts of the world today, both men and women build their own shelters. It's not rocket science. It is important to choose professionals to help you (engineers, architects, laborers) based on how empowered and excited they make you feel about your project. If you walk away from a meeting feeling disempowered—like your power to choose has been taken away from you—you are not working with the right people.