Hi, how are you doing?

During these curious times it has been really interesting to hear the truth of that question stand up front and proud. People really and genuinely want to know the answer at the moment. The whole world has paused, drawing a deep breath while we watch these events unfold.

Here at Hartwyn HQ over the past few months we have done the same. We’ve had time to really dig into all of our accumulated experiences from the last few years and analyse them closely.

And what a ride it has been!

Three amazing buildings constructed, forty-two incredible students, two fantastic apprentices, one classroom course, untold delicious meals and swims and games and shared learning experiences. We’re very proud of what we have achieved and if you’ve been on this journey with us at any point then thank you. We hope you are proud too.

All of that being said, it has been HARD. Lots of assumptions put to the test, lots of errors rectified, lots of on-the-fly learning and decisions. It turns out that mobilising and maintaining an entire micro village for 16 weeks and travelling around the country building dwellings for people is a much more difficult proposition than we thought.

Which brings us to two changes.

  1. First up, we wish Jeffrey a fond farewell as he leaves us to concentrate on other projects. He will no doubt return to teach and build with us in the future, but moving forwards the fort will be held by Joe and Arif with help from an already growing and exciting set of collaborators.
  2. The second change is the summer student build program. We’ve loved doing it and we are still convinced of its value as a great way to learn the craft of natural building. Unfortunately however, it is too complex and costly a beast for us at this stage and therefore cannot continue in its current form….

Hartwyn’s core aims were always to:

  • Assist as many people as possible to build low impact, sustainable buildings, with a primary focus on natural materials and heritage skills.
  • Further the craft of natural building and create opportunities for training that are otherwise lacking.

These aims have not changed.

We know that the summer program was amazingly fulfilling for the students and we are proud of that, but if we are to meet our aims we need to help lots of folk build their house, not just one a year, and we need to teach more than 10 in a year people how to be excellent natural builders.

To this end we’re rolling out a new suite of offerings;

For the self builders amongst you we can consult on your project and help bring the design to fruition, we can help manage your project and make sure it is constructed to our rigorous standards. We can supply fantastically skilled natural builders to get you to the finish line in a much more cost effective manner.

For those keen to learn, for the students or contractors or self builders; we are releasing a host of new courses, some classroom and some online, and we will continue to offer onsite learning and training opportunities on any builds we manage.

The summer build program will very likely return at some point, hopefully with a much higher number of spaces available. So please don’t lose heart, though it may be a while before we can do it again.

So, after all that reflection and upheaval; how are we doing? Ok we think!

While all change is of course scary, we have put a lot of thought into these next steps and we genuinely hope you will join us. We’re excited about meeting more of you and having the opportunity to learn about your projects and help you join the thoroughly excellent community of natural builders we are lucky to have around us.

We’re sure you will have thoughts and questions, so if you do please do comment below, drop us an email or get in touch any other way you choose. We’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, please do stay safe, take care of each other, and we’ll see you on the other side.

Warmest thanks

Arif & Joe