WE'RE BUILDING A HOUSE! by Terri Loewenthal

for the past two years, i've been working with a small but dedicated group of artists to build a house. in the spirit of what this house will eventually become – a center for learning –  we've been learning as we go. very few of us are actually skilled woodworkers, but this building process has become part of our practice, as detailed in our teacher's book, zen architecture. jesse schlesinger, who organized the class, is far from a novice with wood. maybe you've seen his greenhouse behind the general store? while i'm still figuring out how to correctly sharpen my chisel, jesse has become one with this project. his dedication and focus made it possible.

lead by paul discoe, we've been using the same traditional japanese joinery techniques that he uses in his joinery structures (notable bay area examples include the green gulch zen center and ippuku). all of the major work was performed off-site, then the pieces were brought to the site for assembly. as i imagine any barn raising would be, it was an all-hands-on-deck situation, and after such a long time coming, a truly joyous event.

here's a time lapse of day 1. 

paul arrives with our hand mortised and tenoned beams and posts.

groundbreaking ceremony.

the building begins.

this is jesse. insert your own dedication metaphor here.

the walls were first laced with a grid of bamboo, then covered with clay harvested from the land.

there was plenty of other fun to be had. here hannah leads a rag rug workshop. these beauties will line the floor of the tipi.

awesome people everywhere.

charlie made the food.

felix made the mess.

josey baked endless loaves of bread in this wood burning oven, another recent edition to the property.

did we mention the sauna? eli making it happen.

as unevidenced by this photo, drew is doing design/build for an entirely separate and simultaneous project, the residency space. break time!

it's always break time when you're 7.

dave invited some kite-makers.

and some kite watchers.

a glimpse of the clay bowls that jessica made for the occasion.

no rest for the weary ... eating on the roof, so as to finish it before sundown.

unless of course, you had better things to do.

stay tuned for a time lapse of day 2...