About Dirt Craft
Dirt Craft Natural Building is Ashley Lubyk and Heather Noakes, a small business based in Calgary, Alberta that combines ancient wisdom with modern understanding for beautiful, low-impact, life enhancing spaces and places.
Recently, as part of a large project, Dirt Craft was highlighted in a video segment for Verge Permaculture. Have an inspiring insight into what we do and why we do it!
Why We Do What We Do:
Dirt Craft seeks to inspire a movement of people using their hands and engaging their senses. Whether we like to admit it or not, we have willingly surrendered our self-sufficiency (and much of our happiness) for convenience. Tasks that have been done for millennia with grace and perfection have been coopted by “specialists”, leaving us unfulfilled – both spiritually and emotionally. The act of working with ones hands is not only empowering but the most direct path to reinvigorate our senses.
Ashley has a Bachelor of Environmental Science and spent the seven years working in the environmental not-for-profit sector. He developed the award-winning Healthy Homes Calgary program - a holistic in-home consultation service that sought to help individuals live simpler, healthier lives. He has written and presented on a wide range of environmental issues, including indoor air quality, composting, grey water recycling, sustainable food production, alternative energy, rainwater harvesting, fermentation and food preservation, and has been featured in both local and national media. His experience in this field has allowed him the opportunity to thoroughly investigate human relationships to their environments and ecologies. Through this work, he has come to fully understand that these relationships, in many ways, need to be rekindled.
The last 6 years has taken Ashley to three continents, where he's studied with and worked along side many of today's most respected natural builders including Ianto Evans, Robert Laport, Charlie Carruthers, Elke Cole, among others.
Recently, Ashley had the unique opportunity to apprentice with two of North America's most experienced straw bale builders and clay plasterers', Bill and Athena Steen, at the Canelo Project in Arizona. Ashley has worked with a wide-range of natural building techniques, including cob, clay fiber, straw bale, earthen plasters, and earthen floors. Both his strong leadership skills and his keen ability to communicate are clear attributes that make teaching and instructing ways in which he can empower others.
Heather has always had a passion for the visual and artistic elements of life. With a background in design and fine art she is able to put her skill, and eye, to work designing and sculpting with earth. She also has extended experience with environmental education, and she is able to provide guided teaching assistance. During her Bachelor of Fine Arts, she was able to direct the focus of her studies, opting to research environmental and social issues, as well as solutions.
For her, Dirt Craft Natural Building is a long sought after opportunity to create functional art - amalgamation of useful forms that are also esthetically valuable. She adds her skills of visual communication to Dirt Craft. She loves helping mix plasters, identify clay, but most of all she loves helping people learn how to integrate these materials into their lives through teaching, and leading by example. Also, she has a passion for cooking, eating, and sharing good food, especially when it comes to wood fired cooking. She often assists in providing delicious, healthy food as part of Dirt Craft's workshops.
While working on several larger construction projects in New Zealand and on Canada's west coast at OUR EcoVillage, Ashley and Heather learned of the power of earth ovens. Soon after returning to Calgary, Ashley got busy building his own and soon they both fell in love with the experience of baking pizza and naturally leavened bread in these beautiful earth ovens. Working with ovens has naturally lead them to large projects including clay plasters, alternative heating systems, rehabilitating conventional buildings with natural materials, and small structures. They are passionate about working with their hands, and sharing knowledge with others. Both Heather and Ashley are permaculture designers and enjoy the challenge of applying the philosophy, and approach, which focuses on wholistic, integrated and ecological design, to the work they do.