The Natural Building Centre

Y Ganolfan Adeiladu Naturiol.

Updates

Discover our news and developments and follow the progress of our ongoing project to restore the C16th house and grounds of Plas Tirion.

May porcelain class

It's been a lovely course, a very nice group of people coming together to make pots from porcelain, learning new skills, being creative and sharing stories, news and the all important tea tray.

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Learning the skills of making from clay and creating some lovely work in a relaxed and sociable atmosphere.  We have one more evening left of the course, with next week focusing on decorating and glazing.  We plan to repeat this with another month of evenings later in the year, it’s a small group course for six people, so if you are interested in taking part it would be a good idea to express an interest or reserve a place in advance.

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Old maps and new plans.

A mid C19th map shows the original drive to the house, and an illustration of an Elizabethan garden, inspiration for our own garden plans.

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The illustration is inspiration for our own garden of similar age and proportion. In between showers over the bank holiday, we carried on the long job of digging out the hogweed and raking out the stones. Gerallt delivered the metal arch he made us for training the cordon apple trees, and the crab apple avenue we planted earlier in the year is starting to come into flower.  Next year we will plant the pleached pear hedge that will run along either side of the apple arch. We are growing native wild flowers from seed to add to the meadow in the lower part and a gift of some cobbles from a friends barn will be laid as a path.  This is the first year of our work to recreate the gardens which we will continue to develop in following years – making progress with our usual combination of swaps, labour and being creative to stretch a limited budget.image image image

 

Images from the Hedgerow Basketmaking Course

Two days weaving baskets with tutor Mandy Coates, combining traditional willow with gathered hedgerow material.

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We took advantage of an interlude in the very wet and windy weather to collect a surprising variety of material for our baskets. The finished baskets, all very different, used honeysuckle, larch, ivy, birch, ivy and broom.

Limewashing on a bright spring day.

Easter was traditionally the time of year to limewash, we have used it inside and out. We limewashed the whole house when we restored the outside in 2012, and apart from two lower windowsills (worn away by cat paws) and the lower part of an exposed wall, it still looks pristine.

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We originally limewashed the oak windows which are now a silvery grey and we applied a slurry coat and then five coats of limewash to the walls and chimneys. So, bright limewashed walls, the first spring flowers and a reminder of how the house looked before work began.

Taking it down before it falls down.

The 1495 cottage here at Plas Tirion has deteriorated rapidly this year. Heritage Roofing students under the tuition of expert traditional roofer Richard Jordan have begun to remove the heavy slate, oak pegged tiles.

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The cottage has an original oak cruck frame, hidden beneath a later stone and slate tiled construction. The original house was almost certainly thatched, with an open central hearth and no chimney. The later added chimney was completely hidden from view beneath vegetation. The slates are laid in random diminishing courses, they will be carefully measured, numbered, removed and stacked in courses for eventual replacement in their original position.