Note: The circumstances for this 2019 workshop at the Ekvn-Yefolecv Ecovillage were unusual for the Timber Framers Guild. This inspirational group, the Maskoke, is in the process of reestablishing its community on ancestral lands. Typically, we celebrate the community that brings us in to help them build their community by building a timber frame. Out of respect for their wishes, we do not share their story; they have asked that they tell their story in their own words. Therefore, we tell the story of this project, describing the work we did and those who did it. Ekvn-Yefolecv (ee-gun-yee-full-lee-juh) means "returning to the Earth" as well as, in this context, "returning to the homelands."
The first morning promised a glorious day, after much rain prior to the start of the project. After breakfast, our hosts assembled our group to ask for blessings from above and shared their story and song. We were then introduced to the smudge, a cleansing with the smoke of incense cedar burned in a pan that each of us washed over ourselves one at a time. The purpose of the smudge is to purify the spirit and to focus the mind on the work of the day.
The lead team, in preparation for the workshop, had assigned timber fabrication responsibilities and organized the participants into teams balanced with novice and experienced timber framers. There were high spirits and positive energy, as the participants engaged in timber preparation and layout work. Workshops always seem to start slowly as participants get to know each other and get familiar with the plans and the timbers to cut. This workshop was no exception to that rule, and with eight instructors and over forty volunteers, we had a large crew to get the momentum started.
Over the course of the next week, amazing things were done. For a full photo blog of the volunteer crew and the work they did, please visit www.tfguild.org/blog.
The workshop had been scheduled for ten days, but the crew of 45 volunteers and 8 instructors was heavy in experienced timber framers and carpenters, all there because they were inspired by the vision of the Ecovillage. The participants applied themselves assiduously to the work at hand and churned out piles of sawdust.
Spirits, commitment, and focus remained high all week and as the weather forecast projected rain on Thursday afternoon with temperatures to drop back into the low 30s overnight, the crew outperformed expectations. The rain held off until dinner on Thursday, after which we received 2 inches within a few hours.
But by the time the rain did come, the participants had fabricated and raised more than 95% of the frame—in only seven days. After an epic night of celebration, the crew completed the work on the eighth day around noon. Our hosts then dedicated the frame and thanked the participants in a moving ceremony that left timber framers and community members alike in tears of gratitude and happiness.
Me-doe, a Muskogee term meant to communicate appreciation for a job well done, was all that needed to be said. None of us here will ever forget what a meaningful and inspiring workshop this was, nor will we forget this beautiful community of Muskogee—beautiful and generous in spirit.
Thank you the Ekvn-Yefolecv Ecovillage project sponsors: