My name is Carmen Shenk. Many folks know me as the Tiny House Foodie because my husband and I closed our restaurant and went tiny (our home was 125 sq ft) in the fall of 2014. We learned a lot of lessons the hard way that became my first book, Kitchen Simplicity, Book 1 in the Tiny House Foodie series. The book is comprised of the practical and philosophical lessons I learned from going tiny (it is not a cookbook). The next book in the Tiny House Foodie series is Mennonite Clean, a Pure & Simple Home, publication date TBD.
I am an artist and I have owned two art galleries through the years and worked in 15 different art media – one favorite was my work as a jewelry designer, and another favorite is my work with art glass. I could happily explore the many ways to use color all the days of my life, but these days I most enjoy painting and weaving… and sometimes I even fantasize about making my own clothing. If I don’t have my hands in some creative project then I tend to rattle loose around the edges. I am an artist in the sense that this is what I do… I create things… and worked for years as a vocational artist, but in recent years as my work has turned to writing, being an artist has become my avocation.
I am a follower of the homeless man from Nazareth. Recently I have given some thought to writing about the epiphanies of my life. I grew up in a Mennonite subculture where women were expected to be seen and not heard, and yet I happily travel and speak about simplicity in the Tiny House movement and I talk about the epiphanies of my life in communities of faith. Recently I have felt called to write and speak about how I found my voice and place in the Kingdom as a “Woman of the Cloth” and I suspect that this story will also turn into another book.
Last but certainly not least, I am the owner of a innovative Pipe Organ Conservation company called Geshenke as Glas. We are the first in the world to create pipe organ pipes from glass, and may also be the only woman owned pipe organ company. In addition, we do pipe organ and piano conservation, tuning, and voicing with clients in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and in the Washington D.C. area. We have a piano and pipe organ workshop in Staunton, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley.
We also have a Skoolie (Bus turned into a home) that Xaver and I have created in a Ford E450 Diesel bus. You can find us and our Skoolie at Tiny House Festivals and even get a tour of our 128 sq ft Skoolie home online that gives you a feel for how it looked early on before the kitchen was finished. Like any home, it will continue to be a work in progress as we make adjustments.