What is The Year of Mud?
My name is Brian Liloia, but I am also called Ziggy. I currently live at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeastern Missouri, USA. Every day, I strive to learn how to live more sustainably and self-sufficiently. I live here with my partner April.
This is The Year of Mud, a blog all about building with natural materials and techniques, including cob, straw bale, and timber framing. I started the blog when I began designing my first cob house, back in the winter of 2008. With little prior building experience, I finished the house in July of 2009. I’ve continued The Year of Mud to document what it’s like to live in a cob house, the changes that continue to occur, and my continuing natural building projects.
Beyond Mud: Continuing Building Adventures
My building adventures have expanded to include new projects. Currently, I’m building a timber frame & straw bale house. We broke ground in April 2012, and completed much of the labor through two building workshops.
2012 marks the year that The Year of Mud has expanded to offer new Natural Building Workshop opportunities to educate people about building with beautiful, local, and natural materials.
The Year of Mud proves to be more than just that — it’s a way of being. It’s a continuing education of learning how to live lightly, and build beautiful, efficient spaces.
The Year of Mud in the Media
My cob house has been featured in several publications and a multitude of websites. Here’s a sampling of the press attention:
- Featured in 2008 issue of The Bund Magazine of Shanghai, China
- Included in May 2010 issue of Parade Magazine: Home, Strange Home
- On the cover of the Fall 2010 issue of Yes! Magazine: 10 Ideas for Building Community Resiliency: A Hand-Built Home
- Interviewed in May 2011 for Boing Boing: Brian “Ziggy” Liloia on How To Build Your Own Hobbit House
- Included in Popular Science September 2011 issue: Top 10 Backyard Genius 2011
- Included in Lloyd Kahn’s Tiny Homes book
- Featured in ‘Homes Made From Wacky Materials’ on Forbes, February 2012
- Five page spread in Grace Magazine of China, March 2012
What is a Cob House, Anyway?
The Year of Mud is named for my first cob house building experience. Cob is an ancient, proven building technique practiced all over the world. It’s the simple combination of sand, clay, and straw, mixed by foot, and then applied by hand to form massive walls. Cob is beautiful, sculptural, natural, low-impact, and sustainable. It is intuitive, easy to learn, and inexpensive. Cob houses are built from materials straight from the earth.
The material allows the owner-builder endless freedom in way of design, and cobbing basics can be learned in a day. It is indeed labor-intensive, but it becomes a labor of love, and what better way to build a home then by getting your hands and feet dirty in the mud, without the need for loud power tools and heavy machinery?
p.s. No, a cob house has nothing to do with corn cobs.