Dirt-O-Rama header


Three tons of Minnesota clay, burlap, straw, branches and vine were shaped into a playful, child-friendly earthen structure on the lawn at the Learning Center this past July. Arizona clay artists and adobe builders Athena and Bill Steen were in residence for three weeks to direct the project.

The Clayhouse is finally dry enough for people to touch! See this amazing photo below taken by Don Olson, of the Arboretum Photographers Society.

Clayhouse finished, photo by Don Olson

Families and kids can explore this truly unique playhouse through October 2012. The tarp in the background is helping the Clayhouse finish drying.

Clayhosue finished

See the entire process. View the slideshow below to see how the Clayhouse was built.

Watch the video below to hear the Steen's thoughts on working with clay and people, as given during an October 2011 visit to the Arboretum, and see images of the clay model created by Athena of what the Clayhouse may ultimately look like. Keep up with the Steens and the construction of the Clayhouse on their blog, The Canelo Chronicles.

The Steens are founding directors of The Canelo Project, a nonprofit organization that works to connect people, culture and nature. They are authors who work internationally and recently completed a Clayground residency at the Denver Museum of Art.

Come watch or join in!

Watch the artists at work:
Wednesdays-Fridays, July 18-20 & 25-27,
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Public invited to help build:
Saturdays & Sundays, July 14-15, 21-22 & 28-29, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Watching or helping build is free with Arboretum admission!


Special thanks to Acme-Och's Brick & Stone in Springfield, MN for their generous donation of clay.