Crazy Useful Trades

A modern blacksmith

When cottage industry ruled the world.

It was a time when most everything a person, a family, and a community needed and wanted was made by highly skilled individuals in small shops, using tools, materials and skills that were within the reach of just about anybody.

Cottage industry does not just mean handmade items like ceramics, weaving, woodworking, and blacksmithing. It encompasses a whole world of goods and services, drawn from the past, refined by the present, and passed on to a more pleasant and satisfying future.

On this page, you’ll find a brief outline of the world of cottage industries.   The organization of this page is based on the Walkthrough Principle. I would like to emphasize that the list below is not comprehensive, and is a continual work in progress. Whether you are (or want to be) a supplier of raw materials, a skilled crafts’man, or an appreciative consumer, this list will provide the inspiration and information to help you spark your own personal cottage industry revolution. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to use the contact page, I would love to hear from you!

As a side note, if you’d like to see the blog entries specifically related to cottage industry, check out the blog categories Masters of Cottage Industry and Word of the Day.

Food

Food is an absolutely enormous category. It is by far the single largest current market for cottage industry.

Shelter

Houses
  • Adobe
  • Concrete (molded or poured)
  • Earthbag
  • Frame (steel or timber), with a variety of interior walls and exterior cladding, including brick, cinder block, gypsum board (drywall) shingle, stone, and others
  • Log
  • Straw bale
  • Tent
Roofing
  • Shingle
  • Slate
  • Thatch
  • Turf
Flooring
  • Concrete
  • Stone
  • Tile
  • Wood
Outbuildings
  • Greenhouses
  • Sheds
  • Carports
Outdoor Structures
  • Drives
  • Patios, Porches, and Decks
  • Ponds and Pools
  • Walls
Landscaping

Utilities

Heat
  • Stoves
Light
Water
Waste

Clothing

Clothing is another enormous category, second only to food.

Household Goods

Furnishings
Appliances
Kitchenware
Soft Goods
Cleaning Products
Laundry Supplies
Bathroom Supplies

Tools

Transportation

Communication

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