Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Studio/Workshop Progress Report - Endless Details

Tony is a very helpful and energetic neighbour who seems to know everyone in our little town; he was therefore well-placed to co-ordinate an effort to dispose of the mountain of surplus straw bales stacked in the centre of the workshop. Thanks to his involvement, they were gone within a couple of hours once buyers had been found and a pickup date agreed upon. A convoy of local orchardists and gardeners descended on the workshop on the designated morning, and as I slid the bales down a ramp I'd hastily constructed out of one of the window openings facing the road, they were quickly loaded onto an assortment of trailers and tray-back vehicles before they were whisked off to new homes. The congestion I'd experienced for months was gone, and an unimpeded view from one end of the workshop to the other materialised as if by magic!

There's been a prodigious amount of work involved in stuffing gaps with loose straw -  either between adjacent straw bales, or between bales and adjoining timber posts - and in covering the posts that border door and window openings with wire mesh. There's a danger of cracks developing in the render due to differences in rates of expansion and contraction wherever different materials meet, and the wire mesh alleviates that concern to a large extent, much as rebar does in a concrete structure.

Because the double-glazed windows and doors are horrendously expensive, I've practiced avoidance behaviour over the past couple of months and have yet to commit myself to confirming the order. I've carefully measured the window and door openings a couple of times, and all that remains is to double-check my measurements against the overall dimensions provided on the manufacturer's quote one last time. I know I can't postpone this step much longer but it's still making me nervous!

One of the remaining tasks on the "to do" list is to build a timber structure above the top-most bales at the gable ends, stuff it with straw and cover it with wire mesh. Aside from that, there are any number of small, finicky jobs on the horizon as I inch towards the point at which I'll be ready to engage the rendering experts.

Eighteen months into this project, I find myself continually devising new mind games to give myself a jolt of enthusiasm and help persuade myself that I'm at least entering the home stretch; for example, I regularly remind myself that whatever small task I manage to complete on any given day constitutes progress, and is a positive step along the seemingly endless path to completion.


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