[GSBN] The saddest news...
bdco at adam.com.au
Tue Jan 10 21:44:01 CST 2012
On behalf of Ausbale (Australasian Strawbale Association) all our members from Australia and New Zealand are saddened by the passing of Judy.
We have heard about the great work that she and Matt put into the industry of strawbale.
Matt please accept our deepest condolences
From: GSBN-bounces at sustainablesources.com [mailto:GSBN-bounces at sustainablesources.com] On Behalf Of strawnet at aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, 27 December 2011 6:47 AM
To: gsbn at sustainablesources.com
Subject: [GSBN] The saddest news...
Dear friends and colleagues, I have very sad news to pass on. Our inspired and inspiring friend, colleague, leader, mentor and more, Judy Knox, lost her battle with cancer early Saturday morning. Here is an excerpt from a message from her brother Tim that we received this morning:
On Christmas Eve we heard the heartbreaking news that Judy has finally lost her battle with cancer. Matts and Judy's daughter-in-law Donna were with her when she died peacefully at 1:45 am on Saturday. Philip had been helping out for several days and he and his children were all in the house. We understand that she had gone downhill very fast in the previous two days – she had been having great trouble breathing and she and Matts had been considering a hospice, but then things spiraled downwards.
For those of you fortunate enough to have met Judy over the years, or who know what an extraordinary human being she was, you will recognize the enormity of the loss, and at the same time what unimaginably good fortune to have had her in our lives and work for all these years. I first met Judy and Matts in 1991 though I had been hearing about them for a couple of years prior to that meeting. They changed my life in innumerable ways.
Rather than try to find words to describe her this morning I realized that I could share an excerpt of the "Straw Bale DEtour" column I wrote for the Women's Issue (#61) of The Last Straw journal - TLS being one of Judy's many contributions to the world – about some of the women who have been instrumental in creating and shaping the straw bale revival. This is the part related to Judy:
It is not a DEtour to take the time to honor at least a few of the women who have helped lead the modern emergence of straw bale construction. It is, however, a very risky thing to do because I know that I leave out some who are worthy of mention, people who either never came to my attention or have slipped through the ever-more porous sieve of my memory. So apologies in advance to those not mentioned here, and please trust that I have real gratitude for you and your contributions. I will name a few who I know helped open the door for many others who have been drawn into the realm of straw bale and natural building.
I can't imagine starting with anyone other than Judy Knox, who I’m quite certain is responsible for the humane and generous character of the straw bale revival. Judy came to a leadership role in the straw bale revival somewhat unwillingly, seeing it as a distraction from what she saw as the larger work she had been engaged in – a coherently integrated set of activities around the rights and well-being of children, community empowerment, education, micro-economics, international relations, environmental stewardship and more. When the New York Times put an article about straw bale building and Judy and Matts Myhrman (her husband and co-conspirator in their little business that emerged from all this, Out On Bale) on the front page of a section of the Sunday Times, the world (literally) beat a path to their door with a flood of mail arriving daily and the phone ringing off the hook for months. As a result of the depth and breadth of her experience and her commitment to action in service to larger ends, once swept into the strong and rising current of the revival, she realized that they would not soon return to their former lives.
In her unique and powerful way, she saw straw bale construction as a vehicle to empower people, especially women, to go, as she put it so clearly, "from 'I can't' to 'I can!'" And it was her attention to the human and personal potential of this movement, that shifted the revival to being much more than about a building technique or material, or a more environmentally responsible way to build. It was all of that, but she also nurtured a foundational aspect of the revival, helping people see what they were capable of doing. She has always been on the lookout for champions—a champion of champions—seeking to pull people into their fullest potential. She certainly had a big influence on me.
The structure of the Out On Bale Workshops, which I was fortunate to be invited to attend and eventually to teach, paid as much attention to the process, and the possibilities emerging from the workshop participants, as to the importance of sharing the most current and best technical information available. As a result of Judy's focus on process, those workshops became a safe place for everyone to explore possibilities about their own capacities and for each participant to share their deepest feelings about what was most important to them. This was also about building people and community. And thus the straw bale community was seeded with a communitarian spirit and a generosity rare in building circles. Judy and Matts made it clear that this was a building system that was part of the commons.
The Last Straw grew out of a vision of having a vehicle to expand that community and enable those of us in it and coming into it, to take responsibility for guiding what we were creating with our ever-growing collective knowledge, which occasionally rose to the level of wisdom. While Matts was tirelessly, inquisitively, brilliantly, and, thankfully, often hilariously exploring and working on the physical and technical and historical details, Judy was attending to the health and well-being of the movement and all of us who were involved with it. Judy's initial and essential framing of the revival in terms of community and personal potential carried forward and out as straw bale construction echoed out into the rest of the world. I know how deeply her focus on these things affected me then and how it resonated in me and became part of who I am and how I do what I do in the world, a gift for which I am profoundly grateful.
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