[Strawbale] The Last Straw... Upcoming Issues

Chris Magwood TLSEditor at thelaststraw...
Sat May 3 05:05:00 CEST 2003

Hello All,

A little update from TLS-land (which has finally started to thaw out!):

The summer issue (#42) has just wrapped up, and will be headed to press
shortly. Themed "New Systems," it is a great issue with articles on all
kinds of baled stuff, including super-compressed straw, cardboard, paper
and tires, plus articles on new ways of using good old straw bales.

#43 - The Case for Clay
I'm very excited about the upcoming issue, #43, which we are tentatively
calling "The Case for Clay." I'd really like to solicit the help of people
on this list to make this a strong issue for promoting the use of earthen
plasters, earthen floors and other clay-based systems.

There are a few ways I'd like to approach this issue. First of all, I'd
like to make it very practical. I know that earthen plaster and floor
recipes are very site specific, and not necessarily transferrable from
region to region. Still, I'm hoping that we can solicit some good articles
about specific projects using clay materials, and include both the process
by which recipes were determined, and the recipes themselves. I think we
can make it clear that you can't just follow these recipes as gospel, but I
think the idea that this stuff is so "mysterious" scares a lot of people,
and some articles where the process is laid bare would make it seem more

Another approach I'd like to include is to impress readers with the beauty
of these materials. Along those lines, I'd love to include a large
pictorial section showing projects of all kinds, from all over the world,
which use earthen plasters, floors, walls, etc. So even if you don't have
time to write an article, sending us some photos of projects new or old
would be very helpful.

The third kind of article would be the "impassioned advocacy" article, in
which the "case for clay" is made. These could range from the purely
personal to the societal rant to the scientific defense. Hopefully all

Of course, any other kind of clay-related article would be welcomed. I'll
undertake a review of the books and pamphlets that are out there, and
include a review of Dan and Cedar's new book too.

The deadline for the clay issue is June 30, 2003. I know this is a busy
time for many of us, but I'd like this to be a strong issue, and one that
people can use to convince themselves, their friends and families, their
building officials and whoever else needs convincing that using clay is
compelling and sound.

#44 - A Straw, Straw World
This issue is intended to be a "world survey" of bale projects. Already in
hand are articles about sb in Saudi Arabia, Russia and Nicaragua, among
others. I'd like the issue to convey a sense of the widespread movement and
its growing strength. Photos, project descriptions, in-depth articles, and
personal adventures are all welcomed, and the projects don't have to be the
newest and latest... it is a good issue to review some of the older
projects too. So if you could all help direct me to interesting
international contacts, or write in to recall your own efforts and
initiatives, that would be appreciated.

The deadline for this issue is September 30, 2003.

Resource Guide
As part of issue #44, we will be assembling the annual resource guide.
Joyce will be contacting all of you, I'm sure, to solicit your entries. If
you have contacts with builders, designers, architects, engineers and
others who should be listed, please let us know so we can solicit them,
too. The resource guide is very popular, and it acts as an important tool
for those interested in bale building to make proper contacts and begin
projects, so the more complete the listings, the better for everybody.

Other Stuff
I've been getting great reactions to the Letters section of TLS. Readers
really appreciate them, so if you have thoughts that don't equate to an
article, send them as a letter. And as always, any issue that's buring a
hole in your brain is fair game for a TLS spot... it doesn't have to fit
the theme for us to include it. Issue #42 has an interview with John
Straube, and I'd like to continue with an interview of an interesting
bale-person in each issue, so nominations are very welcome indeed. And your
thoughts, opinions, criticisms, suggestions, leads and input are always




Chris Magwood / Camel's Back Straw Bale Construction

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