Stay tuned for straw bale and plastering workshops in the Gatineau region in the summer and fall of 2017. 


Workshops for 2015:


Natural Plaster Workshops: 10 Plasters in 5 days


Michael Henry and Tina Therrien are co-writing a book about natural plastering which includes recipes contributed by a number of natural builders in North America and other parts of the world. Two weekend-long workshops are being offered by Michael and Tina where we’ll try out some of the recipes, check coverage estimates, and make samples for strength and permeability testing. The plasters will be applied to a straw bale building. This is a unique opportunity to learn some theory of natural plastering, and get hands-on experience working with a variety of different plasters in a short time. In addition to being a great learning opportunity, it supports the publication of an important plaster book. The location is near Ottawa, in the Gatineau area of Quebec.


Aug 1,2,3 (2015) – Base coats

The base coat weekend will include lime-stabilized earth recipes, earth plaster base coat recipes, and hydraulic lime. 

Aug 15-16 (2015) - Finish plasters

Finish plaster recipes will include lime-manure, lime-hemp, harled lime, and different earth plaster recipes.

Accomodation and camping

There is a B&B within walking distance, or rustic camping is available on-site ($20/day, $30/2 days), with the use of a summer kitchen. The outdoor kitchen has an oven, outdoor burners, and a barbecue. Outdoor toilets are on-site, and swimming is possible at a nearby lake a mere five minute walk from the workshop site. Snacks, tea, coffee and potable water will be available.

Other details

Days will start at 8:30 am and end around 4:30 pm, but there will be a 9:00 am start on the first day. Theory will be presented for a couple of hours in the morning and after lunch, the rest of the day will be hands-on instruction and learning. Participants will bring their own food. Contact Tina Therrien, or Mike Henry for more info.


2014 Summer Art Camp for Kids


Paper making, print-making, book binding, and sculpture. A week of exploring the muddier, messier forms of artistic endeavours. Students will collect natural leaves and flowers for paper making. A variety of print making techniques will be explored, and we will make portfolios for our work. We will dabble in book binding to make a beautiful hard covered book, using Japanese stitch patterns. Sculpting with cob will round out the week. On the last day, there will be a celebratory pizza lunch in our outdoor adobe oven.

Dates: August 11-15, 2014

Time: 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Location: 638 Fieldville Road, Low, Quebec

Camp fees: $175/child

Camp provides: Potable drinking water, paper and art supplies

Students bring: Lunch, snacks, juices, sun hats, painting smocks, and a positive attitude

Please note: If after hours child care is desired, it is $10/day per child. After hours care is from 3:30 pm- 5:30 pm


For more information, call: 819-422-2552

or e-mail



Tina Therrien: Former teacher-turned natural builder, Tina puts her love of teaching and the natural world into the work that she does. She has been building straw homes for 15 years, and while she doesn’t consider herself an artist, she is a facilitator of the arts for children. She has had extensive training in the arts, combined with lots of experience with kids! Author and plasterer, Tina loves inspiring others.

Jericho Sanderson Knight: With two artists as parents, Jericho is emerging as her own artist- a trumpet player, a dabbler in the arts, Jericho is an enthusiastic person to have around.

Denis Drouin: Train dispatcher-turned timber framer, Denis is a talented wood worker and designer. A creative and enthusiastic artist, Denis is the perfect person to round out this team of instructors.

This art camp will be hosted at a homestead just outside of Low, Quebec. There are 113 acres of property at the farm, and groomed trails will be part of the experience for participants as we search for natural materials for paper making and print-making.


Shelter by Hand, Inc is a timber frame/straw bale company specialising in artistic timber frame elements, natural plasters, and natural wall systems. Tina Therrien and Denis Drouin form this team of natural builders, and live at their homestead in Fieldville, Quebec.


To download this information, click here. 




 2014: We don't have any building workshops scheduled yet for this year, but if you'd like to host a workshop on your property, let us know!

Do you have a dream building you need help realising? Why not host a straw bale/timber frame workshop, and we will come teach for you. We offer weekend workshops, or more intensive week long courses. We can teach timber framing, natural building (straw bale, earthbag, cob, etc.), and plastering, including tadelakt and clay. Give us a shout and let's see what we can scheme up.




Everybody benefits from hands-on experience

Whether you are a construction professional or a complete novice, there is nothing like the opportunity to participate in the construction of a straw bale building before attempting to undertake your own structure.

Participants in our hands-on workshops have the chance to experience all the various facets of creating a small straw bale building, from foundation to roof. Our small-group format allows each participant to get some straw under their fingernails and try their hands at each stage of the building process.

Plenty of time is alloted for the discussion of different techniques and practices. Our aim is to make available as many options, ideas and possibilities as we can, and our discussion sessions are usually lively and exciting as each participant raises questions, concerns, insights and plans of their own.


Workshop Schedule:

August 12-16, 2012: Cordwood and Straw Bale Together at Last!

 Tina Therrien and Rena Upitis will co-facilitate this workshop, guiding participants through the process of building an enchanting woodland retreat, combining the beauty of cordwood masonry and straw bale.

The workshop is being held at Wintergreen Studios, about an hour away from Kingston, ON, where there are several hobbit-like cabins and studios on the property. Overnight lodging and meals are available at the straw bale retreat lodge on the property. For more information about the workshop, visit the Wintergreen Studios website;


April 28-29, 2013: Ottawa Living Green Expo, Ottawa, ON: Come visit us at this year's Living Green Expo, as we showcase a timber frame/straw bale building. Watch us for