MudStrawLove, LLC is run by Steve Kemble and Mollie Curry. After years of developing our individual skills, we met during a natural building colloquium (Build Here Now!) at Lama Foundation, a spiritual community located in northern New Mexico. We eventually moved to Asheville, NC and combined our businesses (Sustainable Systems Support and Earth Circle Natural Building) and lives to become MudStrawLove, LLC. We collaborate with other experts in the field when appropriate. We also like to employ our trainees during specific construction projects.
We greatly enjoy training enthusiastic folks in appropriate natural building techniques that will be part of reducing our impact on the planet and healing our relationships–with Earth, with Self, with Each Other. The process of physical manifestation (building!) is dear to our organization. By integrating minimally-processed natural materials, energy efficiency, affordability, connective design, durability, water management and more, we aim for a perfect marriage of beauty, practicality and sustainability.
Steve worked summer jobs doing construction while he was in school, and started his career as an engineer, where he developed a great capacity for detail and integrated design. He went on to become a certified Permaculture designer in 1990, which led him on the path of natural building. Steve jumped into straw bale building “with all fours” by attending the first ever workshop on the subject in 1990, taught by Matts Myhrman of Out On Bale (un)Ltd. He immediately went home, designed his own house and sponsored the second straw bale workshop (spring 1991) at his Permaculture homestead in Bisbee, AZ. Under the name “Sustainable Systems Support,” Carol Escott and he produced the first ever video on straw bale construction (inspirational and educational) in 1992, followed in 1994 by their internationally popular step-by-step hands-on video and book: How to Build Your Elegant Home with Straw Bales. In 1998, they built an earthbag house in the Bahamas, which has been written up in several instructional books (see our Natural Building Resources page).
Steve applies his skills in design, innovation, and hands-on application, along with a focus on care for the earth, to all of his work in natural building. In the course of numerous projects over the years, he has figured out ways to build straw bale and other natural building structures efficiently and effectively and has incorporated his discoveries in his designs, advice and teaching. His booklet of Straw Bale Home Plans is available for $5.
Steve also pursues percussion persistently and passionately! Hand drums from Africa and other traditions inhabit his heart (and house) and call to his hands. He has played drumset since age 10, and now plays in a marimba band with his wife, Mollie, where he builds most of the instruments.
Mollie got involved with natural building when she moved to Earthaven EcoVillage in 1996. She has taught natural building workshops, often at Earthaven and in the Western North Carolina area, since 1998. She has taught cob, plastering, straw bale, straw-clay, earthen paint, earthbag, and carpentry, as well as permaculture. Being involved in many of the natural building projects at Earthaven, as well as teaching and doing projects in other locations, has informed her building experience. Being an “earth” person, cob, plasters and earthen paints (alis) are her favorite things to work with. She has run her own business (Earth Circle Natural Building) since 2003.
In the early-mid 90’s, Mollie worked as a wilderness ranger for the Forest Service, backpacking, clearing trails, contacting the public and spending much time alone in the wilderness. She has written several articles for various publications (including the Permaculture Activist and Communities Magazine) on natural building, permaculture, and other practical, spiritual, and emotional topics, including Beauty.