My beach hut model

Week 30: The secret’s out.

I have a confession to make… I have been working on a secret art and craft project for the last few weeks which I haven’t let any of you in on. I am sorry for this, but I couldn’t even hint towards it as the recipient of this project is a reader of the blog. And I wanted to take every precaution to ensure that she didn’t find out what I was up to. Which is why I even had to fit in some extra work on the floral trio so that she wasn’t suspicious about why I wasn’t posting anything.

SO, despite my somewhat sparse posts, it has been a very busy time! This project was for a very great friend, the one who I have been doing the illustration work for her wedding. I wanted to give them a really special wedding gift. So I came up with a grand idea that I was really pleased with… I’d give them a beach hut model customised to the design we all came up with together (my friend, her new hubbie and I) so they could always have a memory of their wedding theme and the fun little time we had working out the designs! They have a lovely chilled, beachy-feel home so I thought it would look really fab with their decor too. I was really pleased with this idea as I do like to give a personal gift… so I set to work contacting some model maker/set dresser type people to see if I could find someone keen to do a commission piece.

BUT. Could I find anyone who had time or inclination for this project? No! I thought I’d be able to find an artist keen to get a little extra work but I didn’t even manage to get a quote from one. It seems artists around here are busy people (pretty encouraging don’t you think?).

I think you’ve guessed what comes next… yep, I decide to take it on myself. With no real 3D experience and definitely no wood-working knowledge! It was suggested by the receptionist at my work who I’d been talking to about the project – she simply said “Why don’t you just do it? You’re creative and it can’t be that hard, you just need balsa wood and some glue…” I completely dismissed this at first, no, no I couldn’t possibly manage it. I mean, I’ve had no experience… but the damage was done, the cogs in my head had started whirring. And when that happens I know it’s only a matter of time. Over the next couple of days I’d find myself randomly looking up how one might build a dolls house if one wanted to. And what paint would one use on balsa wood if one was so inclined. All completely hypothetical of course…

I soon realised it was inevitable. I wanted to do this project, so I may as well get cracking and work out how to do it! I only had about a month until the wedding so it was now or never. I gave myself the let out clause of if it all went wrong then I’d just buy them a present. I’d have lost nothing. I’d give myself a few weeks to give it a go and if it seemed impossible I’d have a rethink and scour the shops.

Happily it all worked out! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy at times – there was splintered wood just when I really didn’t want it to snap, glue setting just before I could move it into the right place, racing heart beats when it came to the difficult one-chance-or-you-blow-it building work. But it did work! I persevered. I kept calm when things didn’t go my way. And I am so happy with the result. I handed over the present at the weekend and they loved it. They were really touched by the work I’d put in and it’s going to look so lovely in their cool beachy style home.

So here’s the original illustration from their wedding invitations and the final little beach hut gift:

digital artwork from wedding inviitations
Digital artwork used on wedding invitations
My beach hut model
My beach hut model

I took plenty of pics whilst it was a work in progress so I’ll be writing more posts of how I did it and reclaiming the weeks that I’ve been unable to blog for!

So my advice is, if you ever wonder about doing something and whether you can manage it. Just do it! Take the bull by the horns and give it a whirl. There is nothing to lose and you might learn a new art-form along the way. I really enjoyed my little beach-hut journey. It was very fulfulling and am really proud of myself for achieving it. I’m so pleased all those other artists said no :o)

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