• Solstead

New Friends, Our First Workshop, and Upcoming Solstead Events in Bisbee

Updated: Nov 16, 2018

Although it’s been a long time since we last posted (too long, admittedly), the momentum here at Solstead Bisbee has been building!

We welcomed a new roommate and Bisbee citizen last month when artist and natural builder Nate Dotts [IG@nate.dotts] moved here from Colorado in order to get involved with Solstead’s efforts long-term. Nate is currently working on a rather impressive (and impromptu) mural in our shared living space and he hopes to begin providing art workshops for kids in the local community in the near future.

Nate and Samantha starting seeds for the winter food garden. Cabbage, tomatoes, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, beets, turnips, raddishs, onions, chives, basil, and more!.. Can you say YUMMM!!

We’ve also been spending a lot of time attending and participating in various workshops, lectures, and panels throughout the southwest. Congrats are specifically in order to Samantha Goerlich for completing the Water Harvesting Design Certification Course from Watershed Management Group in Tucson last month. Way to go, Sam!

Thanks are also due to our new marketing superstar, Rachael Hudson [IG@rachaelhudson44], who has joined us as a strategist, social media boss, and lead doer-of-all-things related to our eventual non-profit certification (we can’t even express how grateful we are for that!).

Further, we were lucky enough to be invited by Sean-Paul VonAncken to participate as co-creators at Convergence 2018 -- a music, art, and sustainability conference and festival at the world-famous urban laboratory, Arcosanti that took place during the first weekend in October.

Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti in Mayer Arizona

Our First Workshop at Convergence

Mingling, mixing, and learning with so many creative and inspiring people at architect Paolo Soleri’s visionary “city” was an incredible experience. Still, by far the best part was having the opportunity to hold our first official sustainability workshop as an organization during the event.

The collaborative sculpture we brought to the festival consisted of eleven garden boxes of various sizes that we built ahead of time (out of recycled materials, of course) and then stacked vertically on site to form a single nine-foot-tall hourglass-shaped structure.

Each side of the final sculpture included a section that was framed and intentionally left blank in order to provide for the easy application of natural adobe plasters. We carried natural clay from our land in Bisbee to Arcosanti in tubs, then mixed that clay with sand and water during the workshop in order to make our natural adobe plaster.

With guidance from workshop mastermind Ashley Baker, participants were shown how to make two different types of adobe mixes and were then set loose to practice applying and sculpting with the material on the sculpture itself

In the midst of workshop fun, participants get their hands in mud.

Needless to say, we made quite a mess in the process. But with a few good tarps and a little help from some very patient and hospitable Arconauts, everyone that took part in the event seemed to have a good time getting their hands a little dirty.

A Second Life for Our Convergence Sculpture

After the workshop was complete and our mud mess in the Arcosanti workshop space was cleaned up (which was no small feat itself), we deconstructed the sculpture and loaded the pieces up to bring them back to Bisbee.

Today, several of the garden boxes are being used as planters and four have been repurposed into colorful compost bins for use at the Solstead headquarters

Ultimately, we had a lot of fun demonstrating to festival goers how easy it can be to incorporate natural, sustainable materials into their own art and building projects, as well as how accessible and affordable those materials can be to obtain and utilize.

We learned so much about workshop planning and implementation from this experience, and we look forward to implementing those lessons at future workshops at art and sustainability events to come, as well as here in our hometown of Bisbee.

Upcoming Solstead & WaterWise Workshop in Bisbee

As a result of a handful of unforeseen administrative hurdles, we have not yet been able to start work on our land just south of town (not an uncommon tale for sustainable builders).

Still, our resolve to help Bisbonians to become more sustainable -- and to demonstrate how they can take steps to make their own homes more environmentally friendly -- has never been stronger.

To that end, we’re teaming up with The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension WaterWise to offer a free water conservation workshop on Saturday, December 1 between 11am and 2pm.

In the Laundy to Landscape: Grey Water Workshop, participants will learn about laundry gray water systems and will then have the chance to install one on a local residential property in Bisbee.

Reusing laundry wastewater, or gray water, to irrigate fruit trees and other plants can help individual homeowners to salvage and utilize thousands of gallons of water per year that would otherwise simply go to waste.

Space for this workshop is limited, so register in advance by calling 520.458.8278 x2141

Solstead Special Use Permit Hearing

As many of you may know, we’ve been working closely with the City of Bisbee and Cochise County for the last year in an effort to get permission to start building a sustainable headquarters on our land just south of Old Bisbee. Once built, we hope to eventually host visiting artists and hold regular workshops and educational events there.

Part of the permitting process for that project includes a hearing during which the citizens of Bisbee can voice their thoughts on the subject of our organization’s goals and its potential impact on the community.

We finally appear to be getting close to nailing down a day for that hearing, and we understand that it will likely take place before the end of December.

For those who are familiar with our mission; to strengthen the Bisbee community through educational workshops based on sustainable living and the arts; and would like to see that vision come to light, we encourage you to come down and show your support.

We’ll have more details on the special permit hearing soon and will make them available as they become available to us.

Until then, we’ve got plenty to keep us busy in the meantime. Still, if you have any questions about anything in this post, would like to get involved with Solstead, or would just like to say “hello,” please feel free to reach out to us at

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Bisbee, Arizona | | SOLSTEAD © 2018