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Our Team

Staff who aren't comfortable having public photos of themselves have submitted a photo of their pets instead :)


Organizational Director, Founder, Lead Instructor of Heartland Kinbaku


SweetZephyr (they/them) found their way to rope after 14 years of serious recreational exploration of martial arts, circus and rock climbing. They are fascinated by rope as a movement practice, meditation, and rich experience of relationship. They identify as queer, nonbinary, and a switch, and have been tying for about 8 years.

Since 2018, they have traveled to Europe and Japan multiple times per year to study with various instructors. Over the years, their practice and teaching has been most influenced by Nawashi Kanna, Riccardo Wildties, and Naka Akira san.


They are a founder of Oakland Rope Collective in San Francisco and Heartland Kinbaku in Chicago, and served as a steering committee member of NARIX, a North American peer to peer education and community event/organization from 2018 to 2022. 

When they’re not playing with rope, they can be found rock climbing, petting dogs, reading nerdy fantasy novels, or giggling at memes.



Instructor, Bottoming Instructor

ClaraRosa (she/her) is a rope fetishist, pushy bottom and gleeful sadist who had an unhealthy fascination with kidnapping scenes as a child. She has been bottoming and tying since 2016 and sharing her enthusiasm for rope since 2018, notably through Hitchin' Bitches Chicago and Rope Bite Chicago. She can be found tying or getting tied at her home dungeon and at rope events all over the US. She believes firmly that rope is for every body, of every gender, size, shape, age and ability level. In her personal rope practice, she enjoys rope both as a medium for fantasy enactment and as a means of emotional connection and catharsis. ClaraRosa works in the medical field and has made her home in Chicago for over a decade.

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Teaching Assistant

Brendan (he/him) started studying rope as a way to explore a new way to connect with a partner. This evolved into a love of the technical aspect as well as the aesthetic and physically challenging components involved.

After studying as a top, curiosity has inspired him to learn what it’s like to bottom, and is learning to switch. He’s very excited to help new rope enthusiasts in their journeys. Outside of rope, he enjoys playing in a band, board games, and exercise. 



Teaching Assistant

Cathy (she/her/ella) started learning the ropes in 2015 without any structure, rhyme, or reason. As a top, she uses tying and bondage a vehicle to connect with others through the senses. As an Afro-Latina, she dreams of a diverse, safe, and empowered rope community.


Cathy is a proud Jersey Girl, plant lady, crafty bitch, and board gamer. When not tying, she is of service to the vanilla community and 12 Step community; connecting with friends; and learning about life things.



Teaching Assistant

Kiki has been tying since 2018, but finally took to it upon seeing the diverse instructor representation at Heartland Kinbaku.

She's a huge pedagogy nerd and spends a lot of time daydreaming about better ways to teach. Outside of rope she lifts weights, concocts cold brew recipes, and writes about issues of concern to tech workers. She's a big fan of punk, metal, and early aughts alt rock, so hit her up with your favorite stuff. She painted the art in the Heartland Kinbaku studio and chronicled it on her art instagram, kiki_lovescoffee


Little Shrike

Teaching Assistant

LittleShrike (she/her) initially experienced rope as a bottom through a one-off photoshoot almost a decade ago. It was in that moment she found being in predicaments could bring profound satisfaction both emotionally and physically.

While always a bottom at heart, she has since embraced learning to top in order to gain a fuller understanding of the power of both roles in a consensual space. When not doing rope she usually can be found doing some other athletic pursuit



Teaching Assistant

Sakura (he/him) is an unassuming rope switch who as a kid would tie himself because it provided exhilaration and euphoria. His rope education began in 2016 with in-person classes and conferences. One of the things that brings him joy these days is teaching others about shared passions. So, he started teaching rope in 2020!

He is an advanced student and TA with Heartland Kinbaku and his rope is generally inspired by Nawashi Kanna, Barkas & Addie, and Naka Akira.

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Teaching Assistant

Bio coming soon!

Field of Flowers


Self Suspension Facilitator

Technora (she/her) is a self-suspender who also enjoys partnered tying.  She draws inspiration from a multitude of sources ranging from circus rope to Japanese kinbaku, and her favorite ties usually include mobile or dynamic suspension.  She is frequently driven by novelty and the puzzle of unknown knots- a favorite activity are challenge ties in which she picks something exotic she has little experience with and reverse engineers it.  When not playing with rope, Technora can be seen frequently at community events and workshops.

Pampas Flower
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