Reviewed by Jeff Ruppert
Clay Culture: Plasters, Paints and Preservation by Carole Crews is a very comprehensive exploration of, as the author states, “the elemental union of earth and Water…” Ms. Crews leaves nothing out as she takes us on a journey through her life and how earth is used throughout our structures.
Whereas many of the books we have reviewed recently are focused on plaster or adobe floors, Clay Culture explores both and then some. Paints are introduced using clay, flour (wheat and cornstarch) milk and eggs. Preservation is also given a prominent place, which is useful for the upcoming generations who will need to preserve not only older natural buildings, but those that are being built now.
When it comes to plaster Clay Culture goes the extra mile to explain how we perceive light and color. Some history along with proportioning individual colors to make custom ones are just a few of the invaluable insights you will find in this treasure of a book.
The only shortcoming we could find is that it is in black and white, but that should not keep you from having this as part of your natural building library. There are plenty of photos to make up for the lack of color.
And to remind us why natural building comes from our hearts, Clay Culture ends with Building Social Justice. It is through our actions and choices that we make our world a better place. Ms. Crews has a way of explaining her topics that is like a great storyteller. Her book is not just a how to. It also tells us why we should make the choice of building naturally in a gentle and persuasive way not found in most books on the topic.
Clay Culture is published by Gourmet Adobe Press, is 202 pages and available in paperback. It is available at Amazon for $26.48 USD. ISBN: 978-0-984 2229-0-2