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Paper from Vegetable Fiber

This is one example of many projects found in the book The Best of Making Things – A Hand Book of Creative Discovery. Find out more about the book!

You wil need: 8 strips of wooden lath (or cut a wooden yardstick) – small nails – hammer – window screening – staple gun – dry vegetable fibers (such as corn husks, onion skins, celery strings, sawdust, weeds, or straw) – scissors -blender – paper towels, napkins, paper bags, newspaper or tissue – dishpan – newspaper – sponge – iron.

Make 2 wooden frames the same size (any size that…
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Guest Article: An Earthen Oven Odyssey by Joe Kennedy

I have been making earthen ovens for over twenty years now. I made my first one in 1991 when I was working with architect Nader Khalili at CalEarth in the Mojave Desert. We were making a lot of adobe bricks at the time (friendly Persian-sized ones – 8”x8”x2”) and also building domes of regular fired bricks. I’m not sure what got it into my brain to make an oven, probably an old picture of the ovens at Taos Pueblo. One day I made a round foundation of adobe bricks in a mud mortar bed right on the ground, then hammered …

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Low-Relief Mudwork

I cut these low-relief directly into wet mud smeared on sheetrock panels. After they are finished (and dry), I apply colored washes, which also make the surface more durable. Click on the thumbnail to see the entire image, uncropped. They range in size from about 16 x 24 inches to the big mural, which is about 8 x 20 feet. All were part of an installation/show at the Bush Barn Gallery in Salem, OR, in 2004. Note the wall made of temporary gallery wall panels that we assembled into a gateway, covered with cardboard, and then plastered with mud. The …

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Welcome to Kiko’s Corner!

[Current Work] [Essays & Other Writing] [Sculpture] [Ovens] [Buildings/Structures] [Workshops/Presentations]

Kiko’s most recent posts: Etsy Shop Open!The Scything Handbook: Learn How to Cut Grass, Mow Meadows and Harvest Grain by HandCrooked knives for Greenwood; in April!Spoon Carving w/Lynn Rosetto Kasper on The Splendid TableSpoon-Carving Classes, 2016, or Why it’s good to carve your own spoon

This page will display a basic welcome and introduction to who Kiko is and what he does……

It will be easy for one to see the articles that he has written and also potentially to see his portfolio which are all relevant to the content …

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Working with kids, from early childhood to now

Slinging mud at walls: A lovely woman named Caz Phillips just sent this photo of a project she did with a school in Sussex, UK, in 2010

Since the first edition of Dig Your Hands in the Dirt, the number of teachers slinging mud at schools has grown — probably exponentially. I would love to collect new photos and projects for the next edition. If you’re making beautiful things with kids, mud, and/or communities, please do get in touch, and/or post your project and pictures.

“Play is serious business, “as Erik Erickson said — and as anyone knows who has …

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Hot From the Oven – updates on wood-fired ovens, Cob Ovens, Earth Ovens, Brick ovens…how to build them, how to use them

Once you’ve built an oven (or three), things start happening. Each oven is unique, and offers its own opportunities and lessons. You can learn something every time you use it, or every time you build a new one. Look here for questions, answers, and stories, not only from Kiko Denzer, who will be adding on to what’s in Build Your Own Earth Oven, but also from readers and other oven builders and pyromaniacs. Please do add your stories, recipes, questions, sources, and experiences (goto “comments” at end of each post). We’ll post a separate item listing the best or most …

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Mud, Hands, A House

description and praise for Mud, Hands, A House…

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Dig Your Hands in the Dirt: A Manual for Making Art out of Earth


As you might suspect, a book with this title features many photos of barefoot kids happily stomping in the mud. Mud huts and mud pies conjure up pictures of primitive peoples and childish pleasures. But then you realize that the kids aren’t in Africa, but in Washington DC, Chicago, Portland (Oregon), and Berlin. And they aren’t all kids!

Looking past the pictures of giddy, muddy fun, here is substantial and serious inspiration and practical lessons for artists, teachers, students, and designers, as well as builders interested in natural materials like adobe (and, more recently, it’s British counterpart, “cob.”)

The …

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Make a Simple Sundial: Measure the Earth, Discover the Cosmos

This book shows how to make an accurate sundial with just a bit of simple materials, geometry, and a map with information about your longitude and latitude. It also shows how a sundial is really a model of the relationship between the earth and the sun – and, by extension, between you and the cosmos.

A few experiments help to see what’s happening as if you were looking at the earth from outer space. Starting with a stick and its shadow on a sunny day, the books shows how to locate true north, how to feel the earth turning under …

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The Best of Making Things: A Handbook of Creative Discovery

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Children everywhere will welcome this new edition of a classic activity book – as will their teachers and parents (especially those seeking to simplify). A “best of” compilation of two volumes, it is a unique, affordable, and child-sized handbook that doesn’t talk down to anyone. In fact, it is mostly pictures drawn in a simple and elegant style clear enough for anyone to follow, whether or not they read (though some projects, like paper making or batik, ask for adult supervision).

Thirty years later, author Ann Sayre Wiseman says “I still meet people who say ‘Making

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