The Natural Colors of Caralee Woods

Caralee Woods and Jimmy Henley live near Kanab, Utah.  They are building a straw bale compound on their place and have committed themselves to a minimum footprint on the land.  With solar panel, water well and environmentally-green construction, Caralee and Jimmy portray the best application of technology, science and ethics to minimize humanity’s impact on the planet.  They are truly off the grid — literally.  You can see their efforts over the past few years by clicking on their website Building a Straw Bale House. When I posted the piece from Bioephemera Blog this morning concerning the ca. 1686, natural colors, Caralee commented with the email below and provided a photograph of how she and Jimmy artfully and craftily shaped balls of colors from the Utah countryside as a result of finding natural clays for their plastering.  I think what she and Jimmy have created is not only an application for their home, but pieces of art that I wish to possess and place as a centerpiece upon my table.

“This is so interesting to me. One of the first things we did here is start looking for natural clay. We had plenty of the terra-cotta colored stuff here on the land for the earthen plaster, but what about the clay paint and finishing plaster for the interior? We drove around for a long time with a bucket and small shovel in the trunk so we could stop and take samples of the wonderful variety of Mother Earth’s colors when we saw something we liked. I would go home, sieve the clay, mix it with some water, and make clay balls that I then polished (I won’t bother you with this process here) to see what we had. The picture below is just a small sampling of the results; I’ve added many since.  There are no more beautiful, soothing colors anywhere in the world than what is produced naturally.”  –Caralee Woods to Jack Matthews, March 24, 2010.

Art of Caralee Woods, Natural Clay Balls, Utah


Filed under Life in Balance, Natural Colors

6 responses to “The Natural Colors of Caralee Woods

  1. Come visit us, Jack, and I’ll show you how to make as many of these balls as you need!

  2. And when you are in Santa Fe next time, you MUST MUST visit this gallery:

    Roxanne, the sister of Athena Steen of Canelo Project, is a spectacular sculptor, and the gallery is adobe brick covered in earthen plaster. And at the CaneloProject website, if you go here:

    you can see a slideshow of the fabulous work of the master plasterers, a large gathering of the Steens and Swentzells of all ages creating a most wonderful earthen building for the most wonderful art.

  3. We shall visit the gallery the next time we are in Santa Fe. Right now it looks as if it will be summer and part of the time we will be in the outback near Pecos Wilderness. I always like to be up in the Cristos and then come back down to Taos and Santa Fe to eat well and see art galleries. Presently, we have no plans to vacation. Some changes coming to our family.

  4. What a wonderful thing Caralee and her husband have done here. Their samples are beautiful. I just purchased a book this past week, recently self published by Carole Crews, locally renowned for her knowledge of plastering with local materials. Her business is called “Gourmet Adobe”. I’ll do a posting on this soon. Thanks for inspiring me with this posting.

    • Caralee and Jimmy work hard. I want to read that posting of yours when it is up. Plastering with local materials…that’s what the pueblo did, did they not? Those balls that Caralee made are just beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s