One of the things I like about being a woodworker is that the work comes in projects. Discrete projects that have a beginning and an end, and then a new project begins. And within any given project, there is the possibility of good things:
- Getting to know a new customer
- Making something that's out of the ordinary
- Learning new techniques
- Creating a product that's meaningful
When a project hits on all these cylinders, it’s a rewarding experience. This post is about a project that hit all those cylinders, and more.
I answered the phone one day to hear a kind lady from Hospice Support of Fauquier County. She asked if I would be interested in making a wall display for their office in Warrenton, VA. She said they thought a Tree of Life would be a good theme, but they were open to other ideas. That call led to a visit where I learned about this wonderful organization. Hospice Support of Fauquier County is a nonprofit organization that provides non-medical supportive care to people with life-threating or terminal illnesses. Of their many services, the most visible is their medical equipment loan closet. Walk in, fill out a form, and borrow from their ‘closet’ of wheelchairs, walkers, and other supplies that are available to our community. They provide an amazing service, and I was immediately on-board for an interesting project.
They wanted a way to recognize volunteers and donors. The idea was to add names over time to a public display. They thought a Tree of Life, with engraved leaves, was a meaningful symbol of this concept. A wall in their office was the proposed location for the display. I took measurements and asked for a couple of weeks to research and come up with a proposal.
Designing a wall display became more involved than I first expected. I began by drawing the room in a program called SketchUp. Once drawn, I had a scaled 3-D representation of the room to work with to determine the display's best proportions. Once drawn, I could produce renderings (in a program called Podium) to see what different ideas looked like. For the tree, I decided on an image that included a full tree and its roots. The tree’s image worked well within a square that I divided horizontally through the middle with a horizon of our local Blue Ridge Mountains. A bright sunrise rose above the horizon, and the tree’s underground root system extended below. A little tweaking brought symmetry, which made everything look just right.
Although this image was clear in my mind, I couldn’t draw it well enough to accurately convey it in a proposal. So I made a scale model of the display. The model communicated the idea well, and it helped me learn what to expect in making the final product.
I presented the proposal to Hospice Support’s Board, and they rendered a decision to proceed. In a future post, I’ll share details and photos of how the project went, and the final product.