Our first project was a problem solving experiment, the result of which would determine how we prepare the interior walls for plaster next spring. This involves the eleven windows in our house that are set into the bale walls. The challenge here is to determine some method by which we can create the sensuous curved edges that attract us and so many others to this alternative building material.
Straw bales are, by definition, rectangular. That’s the way a baler makes them. It’s one of the things that makes them easy to stack, which is important when using them to build a wall. But this rectangular shape also means they have square edges, 12 of them to be exact. Each of our eleven windows are surrounded by eleven bales, and each of those bales presents one sharp edge that must be coerced into that lovely, much desired curve.
Following the same process we used with the exterior plaster, we sprayed the wall with clay slip, then applied a 1-inch, more or less, scratch coat.