Building in Seattle

I’ve built stuff before. I helped with the tree house; I framed walls; I built a garden at PSU. I even built a skate ramp in my mom’s backyard when she was in Canada. But somehow I’ve become comically bad at building as I work with Habitat for Humanity in Seattle.

Today we finished a wall. For the third time. We built it, realized the plywood was on wrong, built it again, realized the entire room was backwards, built it a third time. I think it’s good now. I was talking with one of the other Americorps members about if volunteer labor ever makes it hard to make a quality house. What I found out is that most professional crews are good at what they do, but they’re also rushing to meet a deadline. When they mess up they don’t go back and fix it- they get a sledge hammer and pound it into submission or they just keep going. We pound things with a sledge hammer every now and again but as I found out with the wall, we’ll do what it takes to make something right.

I guess the rest of my mishaps have been pretty minor. A quarter of an inch here, a sixteenth there. I’ve become the master of shims, going slow, and fixing stuff. And I think I’m getting better and our house’s are freaking really good houses. Way better then the mass produced stuff you see sprawling through the suburbs. This is a kind of building that I really enjoy. I’ve made stuff before but I’ve never made anything that Bashir’s family is going to live in.

Finally, because I’m supposed to be holding down the art side of this art/travel blog. Here’s some paste ups that caught my eye while exploring downtown Seattle.

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