Saturday House

(Dec 2007 – Apr 2009)

What is Saturday House?

“A Saturday House is a weekly gathering of several people who meet and do … whatever they want! People work on projects, people talk about ideas, people conspire and hatch plans, and people play games with each other.”

(You can also nap, snooze, contemplate, or meditate.)

See the blog post that started it all.  The Saturday House concept evolved from Lion’s observations of our local Sudbury School, the Clearwater School, that his daughter goes to.

The SODO Saturday House has a place that they collectively rent, but in the beginning, it worked entirely out of people’s houses, and moved around from week-to-week. That means that it cost nothing to start. All coordination happened through an e-mail list.

The invitation is: Bring the work you are already doing on Saturday. You don’t have to, you shouldn’t “lose a day” to Saturday House. Bring what you’re working on, and work on it. Usually a quiet room is set aside at the opening of House, for people who want to work. (And usually a room of rest is set aside as well, for people who want to relax, meditate, breathe, or sleep.)

That said: If you want to be loud and social or talk a lot, there is usually a center of attention (or two) — a dining room or living room or kitchen.

There is no required activity. You can “cruise.” You can sing. You can play marbles. We use the principles of Open Space, (loosely) to describe the ethic.

How does this help sustainability?

Saturday Houses build community organically: Through friendships and meetings, through establishing comfortable relationships.

When people see each other on a semi-regular basis, they get comfortable with one another, they get to know one another, and open their hearts. Ideas pop out of nowhere, and groups form spontaneously. People who never thought of themselves as leaders suddenly find themselves leading efforts that naturally emerge from free and joyous (or tense!) conversation.

People observe others working on the things they care about, and ask “what are you doing?” “Can I help out?” “Did you know that the guy right over there is working on the same thing? Perhaps you two should talk?”

The sparks that come out of connection is magical.

People share knowledge casually, answer one anothers questions. Sometimes, people will take a room, and teach classes. People cook together, play together, read together, and discuss.

Another thing is that there is a reliable space for groups that want to form. Many groups would form, but it can take so long to find a place to meet, a time that works, and so on– that the group cannot get through the initial stages. In theory community centers would address this problem, but somehow, it just doesn’t work out: They tend to be either full, or require a lot of up-front work to check a slot out, and somehow, “community” centers aren’t necessarily places where you are comfortable interacting with people who aren’t in your particular group’s time slot.

A Saturday House resolves all of these problems: If you want to form a group, you just go into an empty room.

If the house is “full” because there are so many people, it just means its time to get a larger place, and people enthusiastically (in our experience) raise the necessary funds. (It worked for us in SODO, at least.)

Another valuable thing is cross-connection. Instead of three different groups all meeting in radically different places, (and arranging the logistics independently, over and over) they are now meeting in the same building. It’s much easier for groups to become casually aware of what each other are doing.

Ballard schedule – upcoming & past

Our first Saturday House in Ballard formed on January 19, 2008.