Internships & Worktrade

Strawbale Studio








Experience a Lifestyle of Sustainability

Would you love to have more connection with Nature … and explore a wide variety of Natural Building & Sustainability Skills?
  • This is a unique opportunity to live with others, co-creating a beautiful living model of a natural, local lifestyle.   
  • Attend 1 or more months at Strawbale Studio outside Oxford, Michigan, USA.    



Reed Collecting for Thatching

Harvesting Reed in the field

WINTERNSHIP Jan 5 to Feb 5, 2023 (2024 Winternship will be similar)

Experience a wide range of natural building skills while living & learning on-site. The Strawbale Studio is on beautiful wooded rural land 1 hr north of Detroit. Fire-side Lectures include Site, Design, Foundations.  Hands-on Activities includes Earth Plaster, Round Pole Framing, Thatching, Rocket Stove & Earth Oven.  Internship $950/$850*  ~ 1/2 Pay Worktrade $475/$450*  *Paid 1 month in advance.

“Best. Experience. Ever.”  Doug Reith.


WORKTRADE & SUSTAINABLE SKILLS Program  April 2-28 (29)as, 2023,  June 1-28, 2023,  August 1-28, 2023, Oct 3-30, 2023.

Enjoy an enriching 4 weeks of living on-site at Strawbale Studio on lovely wooded rural land with natural buildings while contributing to the the grounds & program. Help out 20 hours a week (garden, grounds, maintenance/repairs, office) in exchange for room, board & 2 sustainable skill-building classes per week + any classes that are offered to the public. These skills will include such things as Mushroom log inoculation, Living Roof, Rocket Stove Cooker build, cording & lashing. spoon carving, tool sharpening, Earth Oven Pizza and Foraging!  There will be some variation between months based on progress.  “Cost:” / Exchange is 20 worktrade hrs/week.


MONTHLY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM  May 2-29, 2023, July 2-28 2023, September 2-28, 2023

Shade-tree classes  will be taught on components of natural building ~ foundation, framing, strawbale, earth plasters & cob, thatched and living roof systems and use of local materials ~ accompanied by tours of the structures on site. During the month there will likely be one or more workshops for the public which Intern and Worktraders/Wwoofers will help with and participate in.  Hands-on activities will focus on earth Plastering & Sculpting,  basic Round Pole Framing techniques, Thatching earthen floors, oil finishes on benches, detailing of living roofs, site hydrology & creative landscaping and permaculture projects, and any classes offered to the public.  There will be some variation between months based on progress.  Full Internship $1250/950* + 2 positions available for “1/2 Pay Worktrade” option $$625 / $475*  * Paid 1 month in advance.


  • Daily Lifestyle includes foraging, spoon-carving, fermenting, composting, solar oven, outdoor rocket cooker, earth oven, shiitake mushroom production & more.  Buildings on site are the Strawbale Studio, Kids Cottage, Hobbit Sauna, Spiral Chamber and several pretty awesome woodsheds.  Living roofs, Thatched roofs.
  • Community connections: (This is Covid dependent) Typically we have had Monthly Full Moon Potluck & bonfire, Permaculture Meetup (off-site), 1 or 2 workshops or tours per month for the public. There is likely to be less community involvement in 2022 due to covid. We have local farmers, and get our eggs and some of our produce from them.
  • Worktrade activities for 1/2 Pay WorkTraders and Wwoofers at Strawbale Studio include options such as Workshop Prep: supplies, Grounds:  firewood, repair, lawn.  Office: data, editing, publicity.  Garden: planting, mulching, watering & harvesting.  Other: repair canoe.
  • The Strawbale Studio is a place, and also a program with Internships, Classes & Outreach…seeking to joyfully weave  into the Web of Life !  This is a uniquely rich experience. 

LOCATION On this beautiful rural wooded land  1 hour North of Detroit. Six miles outside a lovely small town, surrounded by farms, forests and meadows.  Within 6 miles of the Strawbale Studio there are some very nice outdoor opportunities:  Bald Mountain Recreation Center, The Seven Ponds Recreation Center and the Rails to Trails bike path system, connecting several small towns.  (There is a bike available to use).  Two swimming lakes and a series of connected lakes to explore by canoe.

INSTRUCTION Main Instructor & Coordinator, Deanne Bednar, is the illustrator of the Hand-Sculpted Housphoto 3e, The Cobbers Companion & the Natural Plaster Book, and has 20 years of experience in natural building. Background: Art & Sustainable Futures teacher at the middle school level + Masters in Social Ecology,  Loves to forage, and use materials directly from nature in an artful and practical way!

* GREEN EXCHANGE (Money 🙂 3 Program Options:  Intern, 1/2 Pay Worktrade, Wwoofer* (*available during some months). All 3 Programs include room & board, classes (as described per month) & materials, plus sharing of household activities such as cooking & cleaning.  After filling out the Brief Application and being accepted, fees can be paid for Internship & 1/2 Pay worktrade to Paypal ( or check, or postal money order to PO Box 733, Oxford, MI 48370.

  • Intern = Focus on the Projects.  Cost per month $1250 or $950 prepaid 1 month in advance.  After being accepted, payments can be made by PayPal to or Eventbrite
    • Individuals may be able to receive academic credit through their college programs.  (e.g. Vivien Yousif received credit through American University, Anthropology Dept.)
  • 1/2 Pay Worktrade = 10 hours Worktrade per week toward upkeep (office, grounds, gardens, based on participants skills & needs of Strawbale Studio).  The rest of the time, participate in the Internship & all classes.    Cost per month: $625 or $475 prepaid 1 month in advance.
  • Wwoofer = 25 hours Work-trade per week toward prep for workshops and maintenance of gardens, grounds, office, in exchange for room & board, & 2 enrichment classes a week, and any workshops held for the public.  You can come through the network if you want.   No money exchanged. No wwoofing option during the Intern / Winternship months or Intensive 2 week Classes. Wwoofing / full worktrade is available April, June, Aug, Oct, 2023.

CONTACT: Call, text or email Deanne 248 496 4088 or to indicate interest or ask questions.  You can fill out the brief application (BELOW) before or after talking to Deanne.