Our Fearless Leader: Liz Johndrow
Liz Johndrow eats beef bones, or at least make soup with them. She gave birth to a ten pound baby, and is a math genius even though she didn’t complete high school (She does, however, have a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies). She can do anything. Liz is our fearless leader who has been building naturally for almost ten years. Her favorite technique is timber-framing with hand tools and especially loves her 100-year old Miller’s Falls boring machine. We love it, too…almost as much as we love her.
Liz is a wild-hearted, red-blooded, strong-spirited hippy who has followed her heart’s path around the world from Vermont to Mexico and Nicaragua and finally to North Carolina to teach us about building, but also about having an open mind and heart, being resourceful, and living in harmony with our earth. She has recently discovered the joys of teaching in remote communities of the world and has hopes for further travels.
Liz’s Assistants – her right (& left) hand women:
Emilie is a smiling ball of energy who is sure to light up a room…or building site if that’s where you happen to be. High energy, lots of laughs, and totally laid back, she is a joy to work and live with.
Originally from Michigan, she has been all over the country lately; from Vermont to New Mexico and from California to North Carolina. She discovered natural building four years ago when she attended a natural building colloquium in New York with her WWOOF host and fell in love with it. Since then she’s been involved in various natural building projects, as well as continuing her work in outdoor education.
After this adventure, she hopes to find a way to combine her love of natural building and of teaching kids by doing natural building projects with schools.
She also wanted me to mention that she is really a Russian princess and recently escaped from the circus, but you can choose to believe that part or not…
Lindsey Love (which is not a made-up or changed name and is coincidentally quite a LOVEly person) is one of two WASI volunteers. She is a skilled architect by day and a “holy moley” mole-lover (pronounced”moh-leh” as in regional Mexican fare…not the animal!) by dinnertime. When not assessing how many cubic yards of dirt needed for flooring (and other tedious details!), she is looking for wild blueberries in near-by state forests and turns them into delicious muffins for everyone. And just when you think it can’t get much better, she comes with a real sweet dog. His name is Chip.
The Aspiring (& inspiring) Natural Builders:
For Britt, living is playing on a playground of Infinite Possibilities, living her true nature and inspiring others to do the same, with the invitation to release limitations and to live beyond societal norms—to listen to their own voice and sing loud and true!
Most recently, she has taken a leap and chosen to leave a position teaching English as a Second Language in Vermont.
Choosing to participate in the Kleiwerks four-month Women’s Natural Building Apprenticeship combines her love of playing in the mud, delight in creating natural dwellings and artful observation as a professional photographer.
With her experience in the Peace Corps and her extensive travel and language background, she imagines co-creating global community building projects that are an extension of nature.
Britt’s love of diverse cultures and the natural world continue to inspire her to create new ways of living and being, and invite the opportunity for transformative living wherever she is.
You’ll find her, or if you can’t find her, she is likely creating her own path through the woods, on foot, skis, her bike, or climbing a tree, or behind a camera lens, surely loving life and enraptured by the beauty and wonder of nature!
Karen George formerly of Indianapolis, Indiana joined the WASI women from her home just up the road in Asheville, North Carolina. At home Karen is involved in teaching dance to kids, brewing beer, playing with her four dogs and dancing with the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theater (which takes her around the world).
Here with the WASI women she is a natural building superstar, always jumping in to work on whatever needs to be done. Karen has found a new love in timber framing and has transformed before our eyes into an axe wielding timber framing mama. Karen’s work hard, play hard attitude is infectious to those around her, she is a joy to live and work with.
Karen most identifies with Beaker from the Muppets, a chisel, jeans that are worn in to the point of holes and riding on the back of a bird. She enjoys playing little tricks, swimming and laying on the dock. Her most prized possession is her niney.
by Liz Johndrow
Kate helps me smile a lot. She is positive, engaged and curious about pretty much everything, and she has this infectious laugh that has a giggle quality to it. She spins a mean fire and juggles several beer bottles(well, a few anyway) with finesse. She has a lovely and calming presence in our tight group of 11, yes count ‘em, 11 women living in community for 4 months.
As her instructor I really appreciate her diplomacy, inquisitive nature, steadfastness and strong math skills as we find our way through this building project! And she has become our main (and talented)videographer in just a few hours of self training! Go Kate!
In the past years she has been involved in all sorts of environmental advocacy, campaigned for renewable energy in college, petitioning to protect America’s forests and working with students at UC San Diego and Los Angeles Valley College to push for strong climate legislation in Congress.
When she’s not slinging cob and wielding chisels and saws here in NC she lives in Austin, TX with 13 other people, 1 dog, 3 cats and soon to be a bunch of chickens.
Kate now wants to do natural building all the time everywhere!
Katie, originally from Wooster, Ohio, lives here in Flat Rock, NC. She works at Flat Rock Bakery and makes incredible breads and cookies. She enjoys spending time outside and reading non-fiction. She is knowledgeable about plants, and I’m always learning something new from her.
Katie is a fun, grounding lady. She keeps me real and reminds me not to take everything so seriously! She is a hard worker and a wonderful problem solver. Always willing to jump into whatever crazy task lies ahead, Katie tackles some interesting situations like taking inventory of 900 pieces of slate, mixing and pouring concrete, and cleat additions, with ease.
Katie’s favorite children’s book is “How to Start a Day.” She loves hoodies and wrap skirts. Her favorite color is cerulean, and she most identifies with oak trees, as they have a strong, protective feeling about them. She loves Colorado and imagines going to live there again someday. She draws little hearts on herself most days, and her favorite way to end a day is sitting on the dock by the lake being thankful for another incredible day.
A constant source of optimism, goodness and positivity, Kelley joins the WASI team from the Poconos region. Originally from Reeders, PA, Kelley grew up running free on her family’s farm, which has been passed down for many generations. Most recently, Kelley has been living in Spain, teaching English and traveling around Europe.
Kelley is very artistic and creative. She enjoys creating art in any form, from drawing and painting to sculpting and designing. She graduated from Philadelphia University with a BS in Interior Design. She also enjoys reading as well as watching horror movies and documentaries. She likes to spend her free time stumbling on the internet, playing outside and smiling.
Kelley plans to use the natural building experience she gains this summer to create an educational retreat center on her family’s land. It will be a center for learning, teaching, and facilitating the sharing of ideas. She hopes to have a hostel for international students. Courses may include growing your own food, natural building and yoga.
Her favorite vegetable is the sweet potato.
After over 20 years as a chiropractor, Mary is answering the call to continue to work with her hands to bring forth change in the lives of others, this time through natural building! She has chosen to add natural building to her bag of tools and skills to facilitate living more consciously on the planet at this time of heightened planetary evolution. She recognizes that food, water and shelter are basic needs for all and that our connection to the earth and to each other is essential for thrival on the planet at this time.
Mary’s thirst to learn about building is evident from the questions she asks, books she devours and her engagement in the Women’s four-month Natural Building Apprenticeship. Mary wants to expand her knowledge and experience by continuing to learn about natural building, constructing masonry ovens, and becoming well-grounded in the practice of permaculture.
Home for Mary, is in Vermont, where she lives with her 15-year old son, Casey and her standard poodle, Greta. Nature feeds Mary’s soul and she often heads for the hills to walk, hike and bike. Living simply and traveling widely makes Mary’s tail wag and she is looking forward to many new adventures around the world as she combines her healing practices, natural building skills, and her enthusiasm for Living and participating in the creation of a world that works!
Victoria was inspired to participate in the WASI Apprenticeship in NC to bring natural building skills and experience to her home community in the Rio Grande Valley, on the Southern border of Texas. With her commitment to find solutions for affordable housing and build resilient community, she plans to return to her community, join with others who have experience and interest in natural building and create a natural building collective to train others. She sees natural building as a way to bring people together, build bridges between diverse groups, create community, and learn skills to create healthy, affordable and resilient community.
Above and beyond her love of natural building, Victoria holds her three year old son Paulo Esme in her heart and knows that though she is spending four months away from him, what she is learning and experiencing during her apprenticeship will positively influence his life and his future!
Victoria is a firm believer in using sustainable and affordable practices when it comes to transportation and can be seen riding her bike as her means of transportation and for pleasure. When not building, working or riding her bike, she is making music. She plays a guitar, sings, composes songs and has started a raw punk/ D-beat project with friends back home, where she is front-woman and vocalist.