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Retirement News + Exciting Introduction to the New Team!!

Written by Andrew Morrison

Hello friends near and far!

We are thrilled to introduce you to Dainella and Timbo!!

You know when something is meant to be, and the stars align in just the right way, and unimaginable possibilities suddenly come to light? Well that pretty much sums up our last six months!

Here’s the scoop: Many years ago, Gabriella and I set a goal of moving to Mexico and retiring in 2023 (when I turn 50). One piece of the challenge has always been how to keep the mission of StrawBale.com going strong, even after we step down. So when we were approached by our friends Timbo Scursso and Dainella Nartker several months ago and they asked if we would be interested in letting them take the helm, we felt a deep sense of joy. And gratitude! 

Timbo and Dainella are some of the kindest, and most integrous, fun, and skilled straw bale builders we know. We have gotten to know them well during the last several months and some of the qualities all four of us share is a passion for bringing people together as well as a deep love for the straw bale community. We know they will not only honor the mission of StrawBale.com (to bring the highest quality education possible to the world) but that they’ll actually take it to the next level.

Our very FIRST straw bale workshop!!

Gabriella and I have absolutely LOVED teaching straw bale construction since we began back in 2004. In many ways, it’s been surreal to see how many continents (3), countries (4), US states (25) we have traveled to, and how many participants we have taught at our hands-on workshops (over 2,000). And having met so many of you in person and corresponded with thousands more via email, we can say this definitively:

You, our dear straw bale community, are a wellspring of kindness, love, enthusiasm, optimism, passion, and determination. You have amazed us in your tenacity and courage to learn a new skill (the vast majority of participants don’t have any construction experience), in your genuine care for making this planet a better one, and in your ability to turn your dream home into a reality. 

We have seen many of you forge life-long connections with fellow workshop attendees and go to each other’s weddings, birthdays, and other major life events. We have been completely inspired by your dedication to helping hosts see their dream homes come to reality, sometimes staying after the workshop or even coming back at a later date to see the home finished. 

Truly, you all inspire us each and every day, and we are in eternal gratitude for the amazing experiences we have had while teaching hands-on workshops…almost 100 of them!!

The fabulous Dainella and Timbo team!!

So, all this said, we are delighted to share that once we step down fully in the fall of 2023, the legacy of StrawBale.com will continue under the loving care of Timbo and Dainella. They are deeply committed to offering exceptionally high-quality instruction to the straw bale community and they will be adding to the depth of the blog, creating new content, providing customer care, and eventually leading our hands-on seven-day straw bale workshops. 

As the time for me to step away from StrawBale.com will soon be upon me, I want to let you know that I will personally be teaching all the workshops this year with the assistance of Timbo and Dainella. Next year will be my last one teaching and during that time I will lead 6 workshops, bringing me to a total of 100! 

Navajo Nation workshop this week!

If you have been waiting to take one of our workshops (with me personally), this year and next are your last chance to do so. In the same vein, if you want to host a workshop with me as your guide and teacher, please be sure to get your application in ASAP as I’ve already secured two workshop hosts, leaving only four openings in 2023. 

In the meantime, please join us in welcoming Timbo and Dainella to the family! They’ll be reaching out to you all in the next couple of weeks to introduce themselves. Cheers to them, to all of you, and to the celebration that StrawBale.com will continue to offer exceptionally high-quality resources and workshops. I’m honored to have spent the time with you all that I have, and I look forward to one last hurrah!

As always, happy baling!!

Andrew & Gabriella

45 Responses

  1. I am so excited for you and your wife to begin to enjoy some “different” in your future! Although I have yet to attend a workshop, it has been a dream of ours to build a home. We are patiently waiting for the gaps to open up like a game of “frogger” to help us inch across the unpredictable road of life. I am thrilled at the prospect that we will still have a door to knock on when we get there. Thank you for all the encouraging emails!

  2. So happy for you all!
    You leave this piece of the art of your life in loving, skilled hands and are free to explore the light wherever you may now roam.
    Our memories of straw bale building with you are sweet and dear to us still. Well ..muddy sweet…
    Blessed be and creative be..
    Schula and Ron

  3. Loved all your news update. I took a strawbale course in Fairview Alberta, Canada years ago and was wanting to take a course with you, but alas that is not what the universe had in store with me. Have so enjoyed all the pictures and the strawbale process. I wish you and your wife the best of life and a great life in Mexico.

  4. Congratulations to all of you. I’m so thankful for the work and commitment you both have given so Freely. Thank you

  5. Best Wishes and Happy Trails to you and Gabriella come the Fall of 2023! I’m thankful I was able to attend one of your Strawbale Workshops (in NE Washington state) and be part of the camaraderie each workshop provides. Will send you an email about possibly hosting a workshop next summer here in beautiful N. Idaho.
    Cheers, Joy

  6. So much congratulations on your soon retirement, you have both earned it 10 fold! Your workshop was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had and I treasure the knowledge , friendships, and memories I am lucky enough to have from it! I am sure Dainella and Timbo will continue in your path, and I hope they do a workshop near me so I can meet and support the people who are worthy of such an honor!

  7. Thanks Andrew,
    Nice work for for the planet. Enjoyed the workshop and strummin with you a bit in the evenings in Eastern Oregon. Mexico sound nice..
    ,Jim in Fort Bragg, CA

  8. Hi Andrew & Gabriella,
    I began following your journey so many years ago. The (what looked like) informative videos made late at night after a long day. I took part in the workshop at Natimuk, Victoria Australia. It was a terrific opportunity and a great experience. I met and shared a week with a really nice bunch of people. I had the best time learning and practising the skills of building and rendering strawbale walls. And a couple of refreshing beers at the end of the day at the local pub, then back into it the following day Lots of fun and laughter all week. Learnt heaps.
    I’ve bought pretty much all the literature and videos you have produced, good quality and very informative.
    Thank you for all you have done for the strawbale cause and natural matetials building across the world. All the best in your retirement.

    Dainella & Timbo,
    Good work taking the batton. I wish you a great future and fun in the world of natural building.

  9. Congratulations, guys! All of you…Andrew and Gabriella AND Dainello and Timbo. I wish you all the best as you start new adventures.

  10. Congratulations to you all. Happy eventual retirement, and wishing Dainello and Timbo a great future. Unfortunately I have not managed to secure a course with you up until now, but follow you avidly and admire you greatly. GOOD LUCK !

  11. Wow . Fantastic news!! Myself my husband Andre and one of our precious friends Paul attended the workshop in 2018 in Chewelah Washington, and I feel it was one of the highlights in my life! Good people great experience, lots of laughs and good eats. The coming together of everyone under your leadership Andrew was such a moving thing. We were all a team. Best of everything to you and yours!! I hope to do another workshop before you retire.

  12. Congratulations. Andrew I took your Oregon workshop…I think 6 years ago. I’m not close to retirement yet but I bought land in a expat community south of San Filipe Mexico. Hopefully in the future we can meet for a drink and some dead-head music.

  13. We consider ourselves lucky to have attended one of Andrew’s workshop in Virginia Beach a few years ago. We ourselves will be hosting a workshop in Phoenix, Arizona on November 3rd through the 6th in Phoenix

  14. Hi Andrew and Gabriella- congratulations on your (upcoming) retirement. We wish you all the best and think of your often. Still loving our strawbale home you helped us build: Meadville workshop (2013). We’re so grateful for your commitment to strawbale building and education. And your generosity of time and talents.

  15. So happy for you guys. Jack and I hosted a workshop with you here in Wheeling, WV in May of 2013. We are in love with our strawbale home more every day. The week we spent with you and 26 other strangers ranks up there as one of the best experiences of our lives. We show our home every chance we get and try to turn people on to the concept. We both retired in 2017 and must say it is the best life ever. Good luck and happy retirement. And thank you again for making our dream come true.

  16. Congratulations Andrew and Gabriella on finding such a great match to “carry your flame” forward. It has been a pleasure following you over the years. Having one of your workshops at Vernonia Springs to teach us how to build our strawbale lodge was a life changing experience. The strawbale lodge has been the foundation of our wedding venue business that is now thriving. As sad as it is to see you go … I am happy to hear you are fulfilling your life plan on schedule. Hopefully you have some other innovative ideas that you will share with us in the future. Best of luck with your next adventure! Jeff & Julie

  17. Congrats! What a blast we had in Atlantic Iowa during Covid! But serious question… can he play the guitar?? 🙂

  18. Best wishes Andrew & Gabriella on your next journey in life. Welcome Daniella & Timbo. I’m thankful to have attended 2 straw bale workshops. I also appreciated your thoughts/observations on life. Good luck!


  19. Timbo, it gives me great pleasure to see how you have progressed through the years no one knows as much as me on how dedicated you are in building a straw bale home we spent many hours on the first homes built. I also am excited that Dainella is going forth with you in this journey. It is only fitting that the straw bale industry needs teachers with hands-on experience. As a final note as one door closes a new opportunity arises thank you for that Andrew and Gabriella.
    Best of luck… Dad

  20. Andrew and Gabriella!
    I live far down south on the tip of South Africa. I have followed your paths, your passionate commitment and desire to make a difference on this planet, with eagerness and longing. I have been wanting to build my own strawbale house for years now. The dream is yet to be realised but I am affirming that one day I will look at my truth window and know I’ve achieved what I’ve always wanted – to make as little impact on this earth and live in a natural space that is warm and cool, as small a footprint as is practical and beautiful.
    Wishing you happiness for the next phase in your life and always the creative and imaginative inspiration for the journey ahead.

  21. You have left such a mark on this planet. Something we all strive for. I live at the very tip of Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. The strawbale movement is strong here and headed by about four inspired builders and architects. I still hold on strongly to my dream to build my own home. At the moment just not enough shekkels in the pocket. I have helped a few people build their houses and even went to a course in Colchester, UK, run by two creative, down-to-earth (literally) women, their company called Amazon Nails.
    Hoping the next part of your life’s journey is equally potent.
    Thank you.

  22. oh noooooooo!!! (selfishly!) – because my dream of one day building my own strawbale home, with you guys leading it, has continued to be my inspiration, since even before the West Virginia Sunny Hollow workshop for which I trekked across all the way from the UK…. (urg, that’s a cringeworthy sentence! But you know what I mean)
    But wowwwww, congrats to you both, and to your coming decades of joy in Mexico! Stay in touch??
    And huge welcome to Dainella and Timbo – you have such HUGE boots to fill!

  23. Congratulations on your new adventure. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed all of the workshops I took in years past. It always gives me such joy to know I participated in something so much fun and so giving back. This glorious planet of ours needs so many more givers like the two of you.
    Thank you and may you continue to have great success in your future endeavors!

  24. Thank you Gretchen. I loved our time together and I still tell the story of showing up in Corvallis (I think that’s where it was) and you were on the kitchen crew! I still don’t know how you discovered that class location and got on to the crew, but I’m glad you did!!! Such a joy to have shared time with you over the years.

  25. Hello Anna. So great to hear from you. I know that you will continue to find inspiration towards your dream home. Timbo and Dainella can become your guides. They are amazing people. You’ll love them!!! Speaking of loving something new…I love that you included the sentence, as written. For an accomplished author, that takes some doing. HAHAHA!!!! 🙂

  26. Thank you Heather. I hope you’ll share pictures of that truth window when you realize your dream!! I can hear the passion and commitment in your words. I look forward to seeing it come to fruition!!!

  27. Hi Ralph. Gabriella and I are so happy that Timbo and Dainella are taking over the helm. We have worked hard and dedicated much of our lives to the website, workshops, and the desire to inspire others to be the best they can be. Timbo and Dainella give us the joy of knowing that our baby is in the best hands possible. We are so excited to see them continue to shine!

  28. Hahaha. Timbo and Dainella don’t play the guitar (yet) but they bring their own magic to the workshops. 🙂 I must say that I was beyond grateful to be able to continue to hold workshops even through the worst parts of the covid pandemic. I’m grateful for people’s willingness to mask up and take care of each other. I’m grateful for people’s desire to connect with each other, even if it means doing so from a distance. And I’m grateful that people continue to step up and help others build their dreams. Wishing you the best my friend!

  29. Thanks for the kind words Jeff and Julie. It was a blast to work with you and I’ll always cherish the fact that our son was a participant at your build. It was special to work along side him in that way. You’ve built something beautiful, so no wonder you’ve found success. Best wishes to you both and all our love from Mexico!

  30. What a special event your workshop was too Nancie (and Jack). An amazing group of people, AND we even got invited to share in your neighbor’s son’s graduation party. That was when we suddenly realized that we had professional clowns, jugglers, and other hidden talents among the group. To this day, I tell stories of your workshop and I share the “magic knot” I learned for tying my shoes from one of the participants. I still use the knot every day!!! Sending you and Jack our best from Mexico.

  31. Great to hear from you both! I think of you and your build often. That was the first time I even rode to the top of a cherry picker too! What a view!!! I’m so happy to hear that the home continues to bring you love and joy. Wishing you the best.

  32. Hi Judy. So great to hear from you! That was a special week for sure. Although, to be fair, I can truly say that about every workshop experience I’ve had. There is something about the people, as you say, that come together to create a special build for the hosts. What a gift it has been to be a part of this community. I hope to see you at one more workshop next year…before I retire. 🙂

  33. Thanks for reaching out Peter. Nice to hear from you. That was a great week for sure. Nothing like a quick walk to the pub at the end of a hard day’s work. That was a nice benefit of an “in town” workshop. AND, I didn’t die when Enga took me rock climbing the day before the workshop, so that’s a bonus too. Nothing like climbing with a pro after not having touched a climb for 20 years!!! Best to you moving forward.

  34. What a kind message Beth. Thank you for sharing this. I love hearing what a touching and important experience the workshop was/is for you. I feel the same way and it’s not lost on me just how amazing the groups of workshop participants are. I’m blessed and grateful for the work I’ve been able to do along side such lovely people, such as yourself. I know that you’ll love Dainella and Timbo as well. They are fantastic people and Gabriella and I are so happy to be handing them the helm.

  35. You’re welcome Lori and thank you for sharing your gratitude. It means a lot to us. We have been blessed by an amazing community of people and we are so happy that Timbo and Dainella will get to share that experience moving forward.

  36. Thank you so much Loraleigh. And who knows…maybe we will cross paths at a workshop next year. I still have one more season to go! If not, thanks for the well wishes and we offer the same to you from Mexico.

  37. Thank you my dear friend. It is exciting news indeed. Maybe we will get to see you more often now…of course, being that you moved so close to us in Oregon and then we left for Mexico…that may be harder. You’ll just have to take a quick trip to paradise!!! Love to you and John, as always.

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