Work Trade Program (in lieu of Apprenticeships)

APPRENTICESHIPS FOR 2017 WILL NOT BE HELD ONSITE AT CCC THIS YEAR ~ PLEASE CONTAT OUR ALUMNI AT SUNDOGBUILDERS.NET  or  Please email for other opportunities and connections to our alumni offering full apprenticeships. 

Cob Cottage Company will however be offering several work trade positions during 2017. Please call the office and refer to the information below.  We are also seeking finish woodworkers that want to trade your skills for learning natural building skills, if you or someone you know is handy with wood we could sure welcome you to the Cob family!

Concerned about the world's state of affairs? Ready to be part of the solution? Begin now, start with home. Let us help guide you in making changes in your lifestyle, consumerism, health and well-being, career and livelihood, based on ecological values and Natural Building principles and practices. Create a life that you, your family and community can feel proud of. We now offer occassional work trade positions for committed candidates who are willing to put the effort forth to learn great things.

Work Exchange Program

What we offer:
- 4 days a week working with staff, our working hours are 8-5. The other 3 days you are welcome to continue to work on projects in progress, work with our friends and neighbors on their natural building projects and take time off to enjoy our library and forest.
- During workshops and workparties, participate as a helper.
- Basic meals (we take turns cooking)
- Accommodations supplied.  Sheltered camping or sometimes a cob cottage.
- A certification of complement will be awarded after working with us for 6 months

What we ask for:
- Your focused attention, enthusiasm, clear communication and good attitude.
- Be on full-time during scheduled events.
- $100 / week to help us cover our costs of having you here, first month paid in advance.


THEMES to Live and Learn by

    • PERCEPTION and AWARENESS: of land, surroundings, processes – both ecological and social. Industrial consumerism, history, watching Earth turn, conserve cultures.
    • ECOLOGY of HOUSE: local and distant effects of buildings on ecology and society. Production and consumption in the home. Slowing entropy.
    • DESIGN: creating durable systems; turn problems to assets. Gloves not boxes. Passive solar. Indoor/outdoor rooms. Place making. Siting. LESS.
    • MATERIALS: Geological vs. Biological. Selection for re-use. No waste. Local sourcing. Properties of materials, durability, toxins. Combination.
    • CRAFTSMANSHIP: Quality of work, what is quality? Feel of built places. Effect of beauty on all senses. Durability. Tools, selection and care.
    • FOCUS: Time management. Avoiding bottlenecks, when to multitask. Rhythm enjoyment. Planning ahead, even beyond your lifetime.
    • PERSONAL HEALTH: Body mechanics, conserving your abilities. Safety-dangers. When to switch jobs. Toxins, sharpness, heights, heavy objects. Mechanizing.
    • ETHICAL CLARITY: Aligning your actions with your beliefs. Using less money. Being a model of what you believe in. Working for the future, for all Life.
    • REINFORCING COMMUNITY: Work teams, playmates. Involving volunteers, integrating spectators. Partnerships, collaboration. Cob-toss, co-lifting, carrying.
    • INSPIRING/INSTRUCTING OTHER PEOPLE: teaching courses, giving talks, demo’s. Publishing, Web and paper. Trainees, apprentices, helpers, a whole team approach.
  • A SERVICE NOT A BUSINESS: Listen carefully, how can you best help? What is the trade? Avoid things unjoyful. Cutting out money. Don’t feed banks, lawyers, government or corporations.


We have decades of experience, gradually refining a more ecological way of living. We grow much of our food and you could be involved in that work. The CCC site is independent of public power, water supplies, or sewage. While no one lives here year round, we have installed systems that allow our camping experience to be more like off-grid living!  We have our own gravity-fed water system, composting toilets, and solar power station. We teach not only technical skills but a whole approach to living well in a world of fewer resources.  Whether it be here at our Coquille Oregon site or at Spirit Pines Santuary, you will benefit in a whole approach to sustainable living - in California you will also benefit for the continual mindfulness and resourcefulness of water conservating and living in a community very supportive of that and the environment.


Preparations That Could Help You:

    • Read The Hand Sculpted House thoroughly, and as much as possible on Natural Building and general construction. Here's a brief suggestion list (other good books are listed on the Reader's back page):
        • *The Hand Sculpted House. Ianto Evans, Michael Smith and Linda Smiley. Chelsea Green, 2002. Available at a discount from CCC for $30 cash, $50 for two.
        • *Earth Building and the Cob Revival: a Reader, Cob Cottage Co., 1996,
        • Homing Instinct: Using Your Lifestyle to Design and Build Your Home. John Connell, 1993 Warner Books.
        • The Owner-Built Home. Ken Kern, 1975. Charles Scribner's Sons.
        • Places of the Soul. Christopher Day, 1990. Aquarium Press.
        • A Pattern Language. Christopher Alexander et al, 1977. Oxford University Press.
        • *The Art of Natural Building. Joseph Kennedy et al, editors, New Society, 2002.
        • *Shelter. Lloyd Kahn, 1973. Shelter Publications.
        • *Homework. Lloyd Kahn, 2004. Shelter Publications.
        • *Rocket Mass Heaters, Ianto Evans with Leslie Jackson. Cob Cottage Co., 2008.

      * These titles are available from CCC. Refer to our book order page for details.

    • Visit Natural Building sites (and conventional building sites). Ask questions, observe how buildings are put together, asking yourself exactly how each part is attached and why. Help out anyone who is building anything with any kind of materials. Get to know technical terms; expand your building vocabulary.


How To Apply:

First, phone to make sure we still have an opening. If we have, we'll ask for a Letter of Intent and we will more than likely follow that up with a phone interview.  If you are close, we highly recommend you come for one of our workparties to get to know us and we you.

Our Site:

Our summer-time campus is located in the native rainforest of the southern Oregon coast, half an hour from spectacular beaches. Work began on the raw site in 2001 with many volunteers, visitors and those seeking knowledge. We now have a dozen cob, roundwood and strawbale demonstration buildings sculpted into the landscape that you can tour and learn from. The land is remote and rustic. We wheelbarrow materials to the sites, up steep hills and across flimsy bridges. Don't expect city facilities; Eugene is 150 miles away, San Francisco is 500. Coquille (pop. 4000) is close, 4 miles, with a bank, small natural food store, hardware store, etc. Local people are nice, conservative and very astute. Access passes close to the houses of several neighbors, so for their sakes we'll limit total town trips to one per day for all our needs. Expect all weather except snow. It is always cool at night, seldom gets too hot. Bugs are not a problem.


3 meals a day, mostly vegan/vegetarian and organic not gourmet specialties, so expect basic nutritious fare, nothing fancy. We can't cater to special diets yet there will be a range of options at most meals. Our policy is to use our own produce and purchased bulk supplies rather than buy packaging, buy local whenever possible, and avoid animal fats, products from distant producers and food with poisons on it. Everyone will assist in the preparation of meals and will trade off time in the kitchen.


Make sure you're fit and healthy. Are you at a healthy weight? Do you easily tire? We work long days and the site is demanding. Toughen your feet by walking barefoot a lot, up to a month in advance.


Contact Us:

If you are interested in our programs with us in 2017, please contact us at your earliest convenience. We can be reached by phone during office hours (Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10am-2pm Pacific time) (541) 396-1825, email at, or by mail: Cob Cottage Company PO Box 942 Coquille, OR 97423