Gemma Sayers's Profile

Gemma Sayers's picture

My Gender


A Little about Me

Ive been living in a medium sized town near London for 10 years now, helping set up pioneering cooperative projects in the realms of food sovereignty;, and taking control of our housing; In this latter venture, since we moved in ive gotten enthralled in eco-renovation and want to learn more about natural sustainable building! Hence...POOSH... I like best about building that you can sing and dance to the radio while you work... :-) Now Ive spent a few years working on different natural and traditional build projects, both volunteering and for money, in Europe and the Middle East, and am taking as many courses as I can find on the relevant subjects. I had my heart set on doing a 3 month residential intensive course at Villa Fabris, Italy, this autumn, but alas, funds are not available...ahh Ill try again to do it next year! Its the Architectural Heritage Conservation program, on which I would specialise in Plastering. Yes, Id like to be trained in a trade!

Additional Photos

, ,

Why I Build Sustainably

How else will we survive, how else can I in good conscience, exist?

Skills I would like to Work on or Share.

Have been involved in building clay/earth ovens, wattle and daub, cob floors, straw bale in timber frame, lime plastering, limewashing, im a screenprinter and have done some graphic design/ book cover work. Would like to develop skills in carpentry as too rudimentary...

My Life Philosophy

Yet to be found? Necessity. Structure. Being in love. Primitivism.

Building Styles I have Experience in

Rammed Earth
Earthship/used tires
Straw Bale
Adobe/Mud Bricks
Reclaimed Materials
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
As mentioned; retrofit of brick house
At Orchard Barn CIC in Suffolk and in our own coop in Ipswich; On the last years tour POOSHing in europe and the near east, heres the 'blurb' from my CV: Gemma taught herself the rudiments of plastering in England two years ago, when challenged with renovating a Victorian brick terrace with her housing cooperative- using hydraulic lime, patching around old plaster and lime-washing old and freshly plastered walls. The same year she helped Rachel and Jo cob in holes in the straw bale wall of their new extension in mid Suffolk. At fellow housing coops and communities across the country she attended work weekends and lent her hands to all manner of renovation projects. Then she left Britain for Portugal, landing at Tamera eco-village to toil on their lakeside ecology beds. After that she used river-dug black mud to plaster door frames and window reveals, as well as cement render for some windows, at a Taipei farmhouse winterizing project called Vale do Vento ( Nearby at Sitio do Nagodinho she lead the team plastering a new straw bale 2 storey house, first coat by hand in lime, digging all sand and clay onsite, cobbing up curving walls also. In southern Spain at La Burra olive farm she assisted in the erection of a caña (cane) hexagonal roof for a shower block. In Israel at Rotem Ecovillage she used metal trowels and sponge floats to create smooth level interior and exterior walls of adobe mixed from bought red clay, and designed relief sculptures of arches and the sun. Over summer in Friuli, Italy, she used lime putty and river sand to plaster a cantina with undulating stone and dead straight cement walls, with tools to achieve a precise finish and hands for an artistic finger spiralling effect. In north Austria she was consulted and practically involved using locally dug clay to embed wall heating and sculpt and plaster in a stone farmhouse for the MoA project:

My Building Qualifications

As above, and In May 2014 I was funded by the EU to attend a course for teachers of plastering and painting in clay and lime, at the La Boa permaculture centre in Veneto. Now Im looking for build sites to pass on and practise my skills, and hope to raise funds to do the intensive three month Plaster course at the European Centre for Heritage Building Craft in Thiene, Vicenza, next September. Having heard about the newly launched School of Natural Building, from the UKs pioneering Strawbale build company Strawworks, I hope to apply, and squeeze in as much professional development wherever I happen to find! with whom I have completed: Car Tyre Foundations practical weekend course 3 x 1 day workshops in the theory and design of straw bale builds About to do the week long SPAB course in London; Repair of Historic Buildings, and a 4 day Timber Frame course with Orchard Barn, and the week long strawbale practical week with Strawworks.

My Occupation

Usually farming and building, has been cooperative development work and local food projects

What I Read, Watch, and Listen to

Just read 'The Nets' - beautiful, suspenseful and reflective writing. Am loving finding good books published by Womens Press at the moment. Have been lucky to steward at several folk festivals in summers and then trawling youtube listening to divine music - especially Rionnagh Connolly, Treacherous Orchestra, and i love learning and singing songs; right now its 'Tom o Bedlam' Films; Brokeback Mountain, Watership Down, anime by Hayao Mayazaki, Juno, obscure french independent films shown at my local indy film theatre, where i ushered :-)

Building Styles I'm Interested in

Rammed Earth
Straw Bale
Adobe/Mud Bricks
Reclaimed Materials
Local Materials (ie Sustainable Wood)
Stone/Flint walls
Traditional brick built houses being renovated/ retrofitted
Hands on, ergonomic construction. Its fun!

My Education

Standard, then art/french/history at college. No degree, though i tried doing agriculture but the establishment was too backward and strangled me aiii! Lots of evening courses like radio production, bike generator making, couture dressmaking and clothing alterations... Strawworks School of Natural Building -Preparing to Build with Bales -The First Straw Mike Wye & Associates, Devon -Venetian Plastering -Tadelakt lime plaster La Boa Permaculture Centre, Italy Week long residential course; EU funded Natural Finishes for Facilitators – teaching lime and clay plastering Orchard Barn CIC, Suffolk -Introduction to Permaculture -Introduction to Sustainable Building -Compost Toilets -Bicycle Generators Royal Horticultural Society Master Composter

My Eating Habits

I adore cooking, yummmmmmy food, mm mm.