|IF YOU PLAN TO BUILD YOUR OWN MONGOLIAN YURT:.
Beginning this spring, we plan to give a limited number of apprentices the opportunity to learn how to build their own ger.
Saturday 11 march we will have a meeting to discuss how to let this all happen.
If you are interested to join, send us an email; you'll receive a concept of th conditions (that will be further discussed during the meeting).
We recently moved our workshop to a new location, and are more or less ready for it.
Invitation to attend the Ger-Building-Meeting of 11 March:
Theme of the day: Cut the crap!
you have expressed your interest to attend the meeting of 11 MARCH.
Well, this is the invitation, with a few thing to think about before you decide to come or not.
Mind you, this is the starting point of our discussions. About a few issues we have talked so often, we do not want to discuss them again, a few other issues are still open for discussion.
The intention of the meeting is to end up with a few people, with whom we will build theirs and other tents/ger.
The short way: if you join, you succumb yourself to a minimum of 600 hours of difficult and/or boring work, in (in this society) unacceptable conditions, paying a lot of money, to end up with a small, legally unclear shelter to start a new, roving survival.
A few problems we have already solved:
Safety: in any which way we will succeed to attain a certain kind of work-safety in the workshop, or at least keep the consequences within acceptable levels.
Practicality/handyness: For someone with really two left-hands, AND a left-sided head (or too stoned), we have no solution. So far we have succeeded in finding a functional occupation in the process for everyone. It is an illusion that you will be able to build your own ger totally yourself, everybody has (to find) his or her specialization.
the estimates of the cost in materials and workshop-cost are usually not far off;
more of a problem can be the cost of personal survival during the workshop. Room for discussion will be needed throughout the workshop.
Materials need to be paid fairly early in the process, reckon with €3500-€4500.
(and then there is the €100 for Mongolia, and The Real Mongol-Ger Book still costs €100, also for 'students'.
Personalized ger: in our workshop you could build virtually anything, any shape. But: for creativity and private insight into what kind of Ger you will build, there is no place. It costs too much thinking and discussion. Believe us. In the workshop there will be only standard 4- and 5-wall Ger built, standard covers, white outer and inner liners, wood painted orange.
In the summer-season Nooitmeerhaast is also a Ger-renting operation; as much as possible, the students in the workshop will be obliged to go along pitch or retrieve rental-ger, without getting paid for this work as such. Disadvantage is you will be working at strange hours, strange places, in the rain, without the possibility to discuss stuff, and have to follow orders. However, the added experience is really basic knowledge to understand why we build our Ger the way we do.
Mutiny: in conflicts decides, after reasonable delay, the decisive group. We basically work with the anarchistic model; we are not a democracy. Whoever steps out, or is ousted, loses `(part of) the money, AND all made man-hours. Sad enough, this is a real-life experience.
WHAT WE ARE NOT TOTALLY CERTAIN ABOUT:
Shelter for the students: this year we do not have ger to spare, and do not want caravans to clutter the place. We are buying a few wagons, but they are not inhabitable straightaway.
We might rent an official house somewhere, as a pension, which we could also use as official residency for some of us.
This time we want the students together to provide at least €1000 a month, to keep us teachers afloat. We cannot keep doing this for free. (but buying all your materials through us will easily make up for this).
there are two things that apply to this specific place: (where we have settled as a living-working collective, to which you will become a kind of permanent guest, and the fact that it is a squat, which means we have to make our own rules):
One: in the past year we have learned to make fights and merriness, and are left with the certainty that we can live with 'developing rules'. To our guests this may seem we just fumble about (which is actually true), and do not keep our promises, (which is not really true); shortly, we are are continually experimenting with our own socio-cultural inheritance. `some call it anarchy, but it is surely not the kind of anarchy rooted in selfishness.
Two; the squat is not really 'safe', apart from our own rules, we have to stick to certain 'outside' rules; the right of the present anti-squatters, and their sheep; the unreasonable demands of the fire-brigade; plus we must calculate the possibility of a forced move to a yet unknown place, which will not stop the party, but certainly cause delay.
And what we learned from the past, is that it always takes more time than thought, and that most of sooner or later run to the end of the stretch of their elastics. (but as soon as their own Ger stands ready all is forgotten and forgiven).
Froit's standard-answer for enthusiast people, and Harm&Marieke's account of the 2004 workshop.
First Froit's standard-answer:
My my, big plans! Nice plans.
One visit to a real Ger, and you are infected with this special virus!
But make no mistake: a Ger is a tent, not a house. Which means amongst other things, that it has to be taken down regularly, and moved, for diverse reasons. We live in them, and move around 5-10 times a year for various reasons, amongst which is the ger itself.
If you do not move every now and then, the Ger has a very limited life-expectancy, and very high upkeep-costs. If you do not move, a prefab round/multi-cornered fixed building is cheaper.
Our Ger have come to perfection after seven years constantly outside, standing, inhabited.
Rot and fungi are not totally banned, but if used and lived in, remain at a manageable level. Nothing remains new forever, but we find a repair/upkeep cost of €200 a year acceptable.
Our experience with imported Ger from Mongolia is not so positive, they do not stand up to the rigors of the western-european climate. After two seasons of rain, fog and mildew, they are totally unusable for living. The Mongolian Ger are by design of course the best tents in the world, but the Ger imported to europe are of the cheapest quality and materials. That's why we make them ourselves, with our knowledge and materials.
We can safely state that we make the best tents in the world.
Which is acknowledged by the Mongolian embassy, whose import-Ger we are currently upgrading/overhauling.
A Five-meter Ger, or four-wall as we say, weighs in at 200 kg, and takes us 45 minutes to pitch. Newcomers may take up to a day... Taking it down usually takes much longer, because of the accumulated STUFF inside it (and a five-meter is small! ) Once, when we were new to this, we started in a six-meter, nice and big, but the STUFF! Half a ton in weight, and two to three days packing... No more. Now we live in four-wall's. Down in the morning, and up the same day in the new place. To attain this speed, you need to part with a lot of stuff you normally have in a house: Books, TV's, big fluffy furniture, wide beds etc. What stays is just the necessary: table, bed, cabinets for clothes, kitchen, and a couch for the visitors.
Anyway, I do not know whereabout you live now, but maybe you can go visit one of the inhabited Ger in the neighborhood, just to get an idea. There are a few in Holland, and several other countries in Europe. And near the workshop, wherever that may be...
And then the letter from Harm and Marieke, who did the workshop in 2003-2004. (and made the Ger they live in now).
It is now three years ago that we started with the idea to live mobile, in a Ger. We were in a period of renewal, changes, time to let go of old stuff, and live more simply. Our first acquaintance with Ger was in England, on holidays, and this picture got stuck in our heads. And when we spoke out that this is what we wanted, we quickly met with Froit.
A few months later we were sitting in the Palace, on the ADM, gathered with about 30 people who had similar ideas, to build a Ger. When we seriously take on a job, we go for it; that was not the fact for all those present, so finally we started the Ger-Building-project with seven of us.
After the necessary meetings about planning, time-expenditure, costs and work-space, we finally started end of November with setting up the new workshop in Veenendaal. One of the participants found this fantastic warehouse, with space for a wood-workshop, sewing floor plus space for lay-out, paint-shop, metal-corner. A truckload of tools and machinery came from Amsterdam, and we scoured the vicinity for second-hand and/or cheap tools. After two weeks the place was up and running, to start building the first ger, a four-wall. This first Ger was really built under the guidance of Froit, where each of us took upon himself/herself a piece of the pie, to learn everything. Specialization works. With he whole group we built the rest of the Gers, slowly rotating jobs, and thus, specialties as far as possible. Luckily Froit and/or maarten was always present to help out if needed.
We found it really groovy to learn to handle all kinds of tools, 'to learn how to', in a safe way. To learn all kind of things about wood, which piece goes where. There's a lot of thought in that, also as to how to minimize waste. And the big sewing-floor, with industrial sewing-machines; how do you join big pieces of felt or canvas, and how to make sure it is kind of straight and flat, even if it starts to weigh many kilo's and still has to go through the machine again... (Cleverness, good materials, and the right instructions!)
And also all the little tricks that have evolved throughout the years when Maarten and Froit have been making these Ger, to do all the repetitive work as easily as possible: the sorting-rack for wall-slats (about 800 in our project), and the 'automat' to make the rounded roof-sticks (about 400), and then taper the tips. We loved this ingenuity!
And it was always interesting to hear why a Ger is made this way; all of it is so cleverly interlaced. There's so much simpleness in this construction, it must make sense! Especially when you pitch a Ger you see this simpleness in construction.
Of course, in this workshop we not only dealt with tools and materials, but also with people! And to work and (partly) live with each other takes as much energy and attention as just building a Ger. Everyone is different, you are closely tied-up, and at the same time are dealing with major changes and uncertainties in your own life. And then you set out to build Gers together! the perfect ingredients for confrontations, which come from themselves, it takes no effort! As long as you keep scrutinizing yourself, and see your part in it, and speak out about what is bothering you, you can work it out and continue the project.
After half a year of relentless work four beautiful Ger were born. Ours got the name of 'Bear-Ger', because of it's robustness, and the energy of entering.
Since june 2004 we live in the Bear, and every second enjoy it full-blast. Life in the outdoors, with more and more simpleness, the contact with the people of the places where we are, de participants in the workshops and courses we do, and all the other visitors; it feels like an enormous richness.
Because we live simpler, we have time to do the things with so much more attention. Living in a Ger all basic thing take more time; You don't just jump in the shower, turn up the heating, or slap a pan on the cooking-range.
A new life-style evolves: Nooitmeerhaast!
(which translates both as 'No More Hurry', and 'Never Hurry Anymore'.)
So far the invitation.
If you still want to continue, let us know.