I am an earth building artisan with 32 years experience in the construction of earth buildings. I first fell in love with natural building as a teen on student exchange. Because of the lack of formal training opportunities in this field at the time, I decided to pursue formal education in architecture as well as building biology and ecology, while gaining practical skills by volunteering on earth building sites in Europe, and working for a natural materials merchant in Germany for a while.
In 2002 I took on the Nelson based adobe manufacture Solid Earth and have since built this up to be one of the leading natural construction providers in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2006 I designed and built our own 2-storey hybrid earth and timber eco-home. I have to date completed well over 200 building projects, big and small. Working with my hands instead of carrying out desk-based design work is a lifestyle choice for me.
From 2007-2014 I was the chairwoman of the Earth Building Association NZ. In 2017 I was honoured to receive the Tradeswoman of the Year Award by the National Association of Women in Construction. I am currently part of the committee in charge of the revision of the NZ Earth Building Standards, and have contributed to the innovation of low-density Adobe, which is now part of the code.
For the past 20 years I have enjoyed teaching and sharing my extensive practical knowledge with students in NZ and abroad, and am now very excited to take my teaching work online to reach a wider audience. I take a holistic approach to building and teaching, acknowledging that the health of our bodies and the body of the Earth are intimately connected.
I learned about earth building 17 years ago when I met Verena, and to this day am struck by the beauty and substance of this type of construction. Before joining Solid Earth, I have worked both as a landscaper and a carpenter for many years, here in NZ and overseas.
I am a creative person with attention to quality and detail. I love the flexibility of earth building and how it can be organic as well as very modern in its style. I feel excited by the creative potential of natural building materials and love working with earth, stone, timber, lime and straw.
The focus of my work is on producing high-quality, healthy building products and finishes, that are made from locally sourced materials and have a low carbon footprint. I also enjoy leading the team on site and making sure everyone is looked after and happy.
Earth building comes naturally to me because it is a bit like cooking, and I am an awesome cook who never follows a recipe and likes experimenting.
Verena and I are a great team and our individual strengths compliment each other beautifully. I bring a strong and steady quality to our work and am stepping into heart-centred leadership in the business.
We support all learners and attempt to create learning opportunities that are meaningful, engaging and appropriate.
We strive to build a safe and inclusive atmosphere within Earthbuilding School, both at in-person events, on our building sites, and online. We put people first and do our best to recognize, appreciate and respect the diversity of our global course community. We recognize that we have all grown up in a traumatized and traumatizing world with bias, colonialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and many other harmful systems of oppression and beliefs. Even as kind, heart-centered individuals, we can still inherit and unconsciously carry these systems within us. Therefore, part of creating a safe community is to collectively recognize the imprinting of those systems on us and our behavior, and to actively work to remove them in self-responsible ways. We also recognize that part of creating a safe community is to take full responsibility for our impact on others regardless of our intent. We will not get it 100% right, but we are willing to listen, learn and do better.
We prioritize offering equitable opportunities to those who have typically not been welcomed into the construction sector, or those who are financially or otherwise disadvantaged. We offer scholarships for BIPOC, young people and students from countries with weaker economies/currencies, and to community organizers at frontline of climate change and/or humanitarian efforts.
We value transparency and generosity. We share our knowledge, understanding and techniques openly and honestly.
We are committed to reciprocity and care of humans and our other-than-human kin. We acknowledge the Earth as sentient organism.
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