What we do

What We Do

We have developed The Canelo Project as a center for learning, research, demonstration and cross-cultural gatherings.  Our ongoing annual activities revolve around workshops, tours, intern programs and writing particularly traditional technkques of natural building.

Natural Building

The focal point of our work is handcrafting simple, small-scale and comfortable shelter that is built primarily with local and natural materials. In that pursuit, we have evolved a unique straw bale and clay wall system that is finished with beautiful clay and lime plasters, sculptural wall carvings, earthen floors and clay ovens.

Mexico Building

We, Bill and Athena Steen, as the founding directors of The Canelo Project, have also taught and worked extensively in Mexico, taught workshops and lectured throughout Europe and the United States.

Art & Community Projects

We have also become increasingly involved in museum art projects that include the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C., the National Botanical Gardens – Washington D.C., the Denver Art Museum, the Ceramic Research Center – Arizona State University and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Local Food & Homestead

Our family 

Our sons, Benito and Arjuna, on occasion, have involved themselves in our projects.  They have grown up in the midst of various Canelo Project workshops and projects and in the process have developed their own individual paths.  Benito has become talented in sculptural metal and artistic plaster work while Arjuna (Oso) has become a fine finish carpenter and straw bale builder.

Benito and Kalin have started making instructional videos on Natural Building and crafting with earth. See their YouTube channel The Nito Project to subscribe for more.

Other Information