Introducing Gemma Sayers - Orchard Barn's
Heritage Building Director
Community Interest Company is delighted that Gemma Sayers has agreed to
be our new Heritage Building Director. With a wealth of Natural and
Traditional Building experience and skills behind her Orchard Barn
looks forward to working with her.
Gemma Sayers is a lime
and earth plasterer with seven years
experience in natural construction.
She first picked up a
hawk and trowel in 2012; to renovate
Victorian buildings for her housing cooperative in Ipswich. During this
she made first contact with Orchard Barn, popping up there
eco-building, she embarked on a pan-European journey
volunteering on construction sites, learning vernacular and innovative
In between she attended a wide variety of heritage and eco-building
including one in Italy with Sarah Partridge of O Bee CIC.
As her skills
increased she took on paid building work, and to lead workshops in clay
On returning to the UK
she did the Prince's Foundation
Building Craft Apprenticeship, and won a bursary from the National
Training Group, for training placements. These organisations enabled
achieve the Heritage NVQ level 3 in Solid Plastering.
"My vision is to
empower people to repair and build
their own homes using natural materials; reducing the burden of
non-biodegradable materials ailing this planet.
We need to change the
stereotype and the approach of the construction and conservation
order to facilitate new people getting involved who would not
women, and those who seem no longer interested, eg apprenticeship-age
and young people.
There are few in depth
training opportunities available to
access the heritage sector; apprenticeships having died out and
colleges focussing on 'waterproof' materials, which only damage
In contrast there are
many people interested in building with
ecologically sound; breathable materials, using time-tested methods.
These people need to
know the fundamental principles of
natural, traditional building, which are often confused or just not
What I love about
Orchard Barn is that this essence permeates
everything; is transmitted with every choice & action."