An Interview With Catherine Wanek

Insight into photographer, author and sustainable building advocate Catherine Wanek.

| July/August 2003

Home: Kingston, New Mexico

Profession: Photographer, author, tireless sustainable building advocate

Recent achievement: Spent a year traveling the United States and Canada taking pictures and writing profiles of straw bale houses for a coffee table book, The New Strawbale Home (Gibbs Smith, 2003), which features 150 color photos of 40 environmentally conscious houses.

Vitae: Founding member of Builders Without Borders. Owner/operator of Natural Building Resources, a mail-order source for books and videos on sustainable construction. Video producer of the Building With Straw series and The Straw Bale Solution. Former editor of The Last Straw: International Journal of Straw Bale and Natural Building. Co-editor of a book of collected essays, The Art of Natural Building (New Society Press, 2002).

Bale-toting experience: If she’s not framing straw structures in her Nikon lens, Wanek likes to frame up straw bale houses. She’s helped build a wheelchair-accessible summer home for her parents and a straw addition to the family-owned Black Range Lodge.

Why she does it: “I put my energies into natural building because it makes a difference for my neighbors and the entire planet. My photos in The New Strawbale Home prove that when you create a sustainable home, you don’t have to compromise on aesthetics or comfort.”

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