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BANDON — The first-ever Live Culture Coast festival kicked off over the weekend as hundreds of people attended celebrations up and down the southern Oregon Coast.

With events and classes held at various locations between Reedsport and Brookings, festival-goers got the chance to learn more about the South Coast and its thriving arts, culture and food scenes.

A volunteer works alongside a guest building a cob wall Saturday during a Live Culture Coast event at the Seven Fires Foundation demonstration…

As part of the festival, local nonprofit organization Seven Fires Foundation hosted an introductory class Saturday on natural building at its demonstration site in Bandon.

The foundation taught attendees under its SustainableU program, which is a collective of volunteers who share their knowledge of sustainable practices with one another, how to build structures using natural materials found from the Earth, in particular cob building.

According to Seven Fires Foundation Director Tammy Van, cob building is a great way to construct non-toxic, affordable and sustainable structures or homes. Cob, which is created by mixing clay, straw, sand and water together, creates a fireproof and seismic-resistant material that can be made by virtually anyone, said Van.

Director Tammy Van leads a demonstration in cob building Saturday during a Live Culture Coast event at the Seven Fires Foundation demonstratio…

Festival-goers and volunteers worked alongside one another to build a courtyard wall at the Bandon site, which holds about half a dozen cob structures, some of which include vibrant, colorful fresco murals and handmade rocket stoves.

“I always tell people to start off small,” said Van. “It’s so much fun and once you build one structure you’ll want to build more.”

Van, who has about 10 years’ experience in natural building, said she started her journey into the world of cob building by learning from renowned ecologist Ianto Evans and master cobber Linda Smiley of the Cob Cottage Company in Coquille.

The foundation partners with the Cob Cottage Company to provide learning opportunities for folks interested in natural building all year round. For more information about Seven Fires Foundation and its workshop and tour schedule, visit its website at 7fires.org.

“Live Culture Coast” festival events continue at locations along the South Coast through Oct. 27. For a full list of events and classes as well as ticket information, visit its website at liveculturecoast.org.

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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