Natural Cottage Project 2015 Calendar

* Two-Week  Building Course  * NCP Campuses   *Internships   *Classes

** Parts of this website are under construction as we plan our 2015 season. Below is our current information, with updates forthcoming !   The Staff 

Natural Cottage Project is pleased to announce our 2015 Calendar.  We have a wide variety of offerings this year, from afternoon workshops to an Intensive Cottage Build in July, to internships up to 3 months. Geographically we will range from Michigan to eastern Ohio to central Tennessee, with some fun visits to the Mother Earth News Fairs in North Carolina, Washington, Pennsylvania and Kansas.

Except for our new Cottage Build in July, our theme this year is “Completion”.  All of our projects this year will move along existing buildings with final plasters, finish carpentry, earthen floors or thatch/ living roofs. No two workshops will cover the same material, so this year has us really excited to teach.

For information email or call 440-682-0502.


The Main Event :



 Burton, Ohio   ~ on beautiful wooded land west of Cleveland.   

In this intensive course you will learn about Light Clay, Strawbale and Cob Construction techniques as you help build a small natural cottage on a lake.  Hands-on skills will include foundation, stem wall, round pole framing, window & door bucks plus natural wall techniques that will give you the confidence to building your own cottage. Shade Tree lectures will include Natural Design (Solar, Site and Floor plan) , Drainage, Framing & Wall Systems,  how to accommodate plumbing & electric, and Code talks. Bring your soil to test, as well as any building plans & ideas, so we can have a design charette to assist you. This is a great learning experience !  More details to come by March, 2015.

Contact Chris at or call 440-682-0502 to get on a contact list.

Natural Cottage Project Campuses:

* Uncle Mud’s Land (Ohio)  Classes on Rocket Stoves and Natural Building Skills are held here and around the Cleveland area  This will be the host site of our July Intensive Build. This beautiful wooded land is west of Cleveland and located on a small lake. Projects at Uncle Mud’s Land include several Rocket Mass Heaters, and many creative natural retrofit features on existing structures. You will also find “Free Range Children” on site !

Straw Bale Studio (Michigan) One-month build-study opportunities available

strawbale_lg_180dpi dana lynn driscoll 2013throughout the year. Included is room and board, and all activities and workshops during your stay of one month or more. Internships are available May through October, and there is a January Winternship as well.  $850 per month ($750 if paid one month early).  Partial Worktrade Scholarships available available at 1/2 fee : help out with infrastructure 10 per week.

* Barefoot Builder  (Tennessee) 2014   Be part of a small crew led by expert Natural cob and timber cottage workshopBuilder Christina Ott as you complete the fine detail work on a cob cottage in the mountains or Tennessee. This is a perfect “next step” for an apprentice builder looking to build confidence and experience.

Act fast, only 8 spots are available.   $1950. Discounts and partial Woofing trade available. Click Here for details. or call 440-682-0502.


Natural Cottage Project Small Workshops Calendar

(Strawbale Studio, Oxford Michigan unless over wise noted)

 Jan 3 through Feb 3, 2015  WINTERNSHIP  (Winter Internship)   

group reed collecting Strawbale Studio - photo by Dawn Holtz reed bundling Cheese making workshop A happy group on the Rocket Stove - Potluck tour 7-2014

Participate in all workshops during this time : Rocket Stove, Round Pole framing, Reed Collection & Thatching demo, while helping with sustainable living projects at the Strawbale Studio. We will be reed collecting about 2 half days a week.  Attend the permaculture meet up, full moon potluck. Learn skills such as fermenting and cording as well. 

January 10 & 11, 2015    Introduction to THATCHING Workshop.  This CIMG8606enchanting roofing material utilizes our invasive Phragmites !  Hand-on: harvest reed in a nearby field, see a thatching demo on a small frame, and try your hand at it.  Tour: the 3 thatched structures on site. Presentation: principles of roof design and thatching, handouts, a video.  Fee includes all activities, materials, overnight lodging if needed.  Bring food to share.  $120 prepaid 1 month in advance, or $150 thereafter.  Some partial work-trade scholarship or barter available.  Details and Registration.

January 17 & 18, 2015   ROUND POLE Workshop. Sat 10 – 5p.  Sun 10 – 4p Round Pole Trellis construction. Ruthie & JustinInstructors, Mark Angelini (permaculture instructor and green wood worker) and Deanne Bednar, natural builder. Learn to harvest, prepare, notch and assemble round poles off the land to create a small structure. Applicable to any small project or cottage.  This is information and training that is rare to come by ! Includes 2 teachers, all materials, training, handouts, lodging.  Bring food to share.   Fee:  $125 prepaid one month in advance, or $150 thereafter.  Limit 15 students so register now. Some partial pay work-trade scholarships or barter available.  Details and Registration.

January 24 & 25, 2015    ROCKET STOVE and FIRE Workshop.  See these stoves Rocket Stove - fired up!onsite: 2 Rocket Stove heated benches, a Rocket Stove Cooker, 2 Earth Ovens, a Solar Cooker, Hay Box Cooker, 2 Pocket Rockets and a Rumford Fireplace ! We will fire some of them up, and discuss the principles of how they work and are constructed.  Then we will construct a mock up the combustion unit of a Rocket Stove, using bricks. You will learn to identify and locate appropriate soil and make earthen mortar and Cob used in the construction and shaping of the stoves and benches.  ! Includes all training, materials, lodging. Bring food to share.  Books will be available to buy.  Fee:  $125 prepaid one month in advance, or $150 thereafter with RSVP.  Limit 15 students so register now. Some partial pay work-trade scholarships or barter available.  Details and Registration.

January 31 & Feb 1, 2015  EARTH PLASTER & SCULPTING.   Try your hand at OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmixing and applying earthen plaster and sculpture to walls.  You can apply these skills to your existing home or your future natural buildings !  It is beautiful, local, natural, soulful…oh, and did I mention, FUN ? !  Instructor, Deanne Bednar is the illustrator of the Natural Plaster Book, among others.  Fee includes all materials, training, overnight lodging in a dorm situation. Bring food to share.  $125 prepaid 1 month in advance or $150 thereafter. Limited to 12 participants.  Register now !   Some partial pay work-trade scholarships or barter available.  Details and Registration.

Natural Building INTERNSHIP  April, May, June, 2015  Attend 1 to 3 months.

sbs happy cleaner, linda gHands-on learning in Strawbale & Cob Wall systems, Earth Plaster & Floors, Thatching & Living Roofs. Students will learn about and practice these skills on structures & projects that are under construction, while living on site (rural, wooded land 1 hr N. of Detroit).  Included are NB Design Classes, some Permaculture Gardening, Rocket Stove experience, foraging, fermenting & community connections + all materials, lodging & food.  Limited to 8 students. Just $750/mo (1 mo. In advance) or $850 thereafter.  Some ½ pay Worktrade & Wwoofing may be available.

TOUR the enchanting Strawbale Studio & grounds ! 6 pm before the Full Moon Tour of the Strawbale Studio, Permaculture Meetup 5-2014Potluck & Bonfire each month. 4:30p during “First Friday’s at the Strawbale Studio” each month, or schedule a Tour for your Group.

Enjoy a tour of Thatched-roof structures (The Strawbale Studio & the Oxford Kids’ Cottage), Living Roofs (The Hobbit Sauna, and Wood Shelter), two Rocket Stove Heated Benches, an Earth Oven and a NEW Compost Furnace, plus a variety of other enchanting & practical projects on beautiful, rural land 1 hr. N. of Detroit.

$10 suggested donation / group rates.

Volunteer Opportunities at the Strawbale StudioIf you feel like helping, while IMG_0588being outdoors in a wonderful wooded rural setting, that would be a great fit for the Strawbale Studio.  Projects vary by season and need, and may include earth plastering, wood collection, gardening and even data entry (if you are into it).  Includes a tour of the buildings & grounds. April through October  1-5p, every First Friday & 1-5p before the Full Moon Potluck.   Check the website for details and to RSVP. No charge.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ or call 440-682-0502

2014 Archived Calendar


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Watch a Time Lapse of the 2012 Natural Cottage Project Workshop!

Participants in our 2012 workshop built this strawbale, timber frame, cob, thatch hybrid cottage. See our schedule below to find out when you can join in on the next project!

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