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Instructor Bios

Frank Meyer

Having worked in the building trades for over 35 years, Frank Meyer has hands-on experience in effectively every facet of residential construction. In 1993 Frank built the first load bearing straw bale building in Texas. Since then he has built or helped build over 50 straw bale buildings. Natural Home and Southern Living magazines featured one of his projects. Frank had the honor of traveling to China to help build a straw bale school in 1998. In 1999 he helped build a straw bale eco-lodge in the remote bush country of Alaska, and in 2001 he helped build and open an orphanage in Peru.

In 1991 he founded Thangmaker Construction as a remodeling company addressing environmental concerns through natural building. By choosing building materials that are more sustainable, such as straw, bamboo, earth, and reclaimed and unmilled timbers, we lessen the impact on the environment of building a home, as well as create a more human friendly atmosphere.

Thangmaker offers professional consultation for architects and builders wanting to interface straw bales with conventional construction, and also consults and facilitates workshops for those wanting to build their own straw bale home.

Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer

Donald Kiffmeyer and Kaki Hunter have been involved in the natural building movement since 1993, specializing in eco-friendly, low impact, non toxic building methods. Co-authors of Earthbag Building, The Tools Tricks and Techniques [2004 New Society Publishers], Kaki and Doni have been teaching the merits of mud in locations as diverse as Jamaica, Belize, Bahamas, Ontario, New York, Washington D.C. and throughout the Southwest. In addition to teaching a plethora of earth building techniques they encourage the use of local wild harvested clayey soils for making our own super gorgeous natural earthen plasters and floors. Oh yeah, and they like to have fun!

Catherine Wanek

Author and photographer of the books The Hybrid House and The New Strawbale Home, Catherine Wanek also co-edited The Art of Natural Building, and The Last Straw Journal. She has contributed articles and photos to Su Casa Magazine, Mother Earth News, and the New York Times.

Also a filmmaker, she produced a series of Building With Straw videos as well as The Straw Bale Solution, and Urban Permaculture. Previously she was an assistant director on Hollywood feature films and television shows, and co-produced Paper Hearts (shot locally in Hillsboro, NM) which screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1993. 1n 1999 she helped found Builders Without Borders, a non-profit world-wide network of ecological builders. Catherine owns the Black Range Lodge, an historic B&B in Kingston.

Please visit our partners’ web sites for other workshop opportunities:
Solar Energy International

BWB is an international network of ecological builders working together for a sustainable future.