Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Studio/Workshop Progress Report - How to Eat an Elephant

With all the straw now in place, wire mesh fixed over the junction of posts and bales, the supporting framework for doors and windows installed, and innumerable other details dealt with, it’s as if a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. It’s at this point that I can look forward to the first of three coats of render being applied to the walls in a couple of weeks – what a momentous day that will be!

While I wait for windows and doors to be delivered and the rendering contractor and his pump to become available, there are other jobs to occupy me, the first of which is the construction of a balustrade around the deck. I’m sure it will feel like a pleasant diversion after the months I’ve been surrounded by a veritable mountain of straw bales and endless rolls of wire mesh.

Until I embarked on this workshop building adventure, constructing a strip-cedar sea kayak was the most ambitious project I’d attempted. I devoted countless hours to it over the course of more than 12 months, and it was with a great sense of joy - and relief - that I finally set off on my maiden voyage.

The many hours of enjoyment the kayak brought me as I explored rivers and estuaries close to home are pleasant to reflect upon, and adventures I’ve had with it further afield are truly memorable; however, it was the process of actually building it that I've most often called to mind over the years, particularly when I've been preparing to tackle other lengthy and challenging projects.

I clearly recall being so overwhelmed when I first skimmed through the plans and instruction book that I briefly contemplated returning them for a refund.  Fortunately, I overcame my initial feelings of inadequacy and took the time to assess what lay ahead in a more rational state of mind. A more measured and disciplined approach seemed to be to concentrate on achievable short-term goals rather than be overawed by the scope of the project as a whole. This promoted the illusion of it being much more achievable, and allowed me to inwardly celebrate each step as a mini-milestone as I ticked them off along the way . Without losing sight entirely of the “big picture”, limiting my focus to the next milestone made it easier to acknowledge and enjoy my progress, which no doubt helped me maintain the necessary levels of motivation.

Had I known what I was letting myself in for as I deliberated on whether to attempt the building of my workshop as an owner/builder, I question whether I would have committed to it. Once I'd done so, however, I’m sure that the experience of building my kayak helped me to visualise the workshop project as a series of bite-sized chunks and not be disheartened by the overall magnitude of what I was committing to. As my building consultant is fond of telling me, the only way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time.


No comments: