Williams Kitchen – my therapy
Is there an innate human need to create? This summer I assuaged my built up stress accumulated from over exposure to the high demands of life with an immersion into my creative side. I built a camper trailer. As people asked what I was doing, I described the work as therapy. The trailer is completely of my own design. As I began, I had a global picture of how it would turn out, but the details emerged in the process. The creative act of designing and building served its purpose. My therapy was successful. I feel reunited with me.
My wife likes to cook. She seldom follow recipes – preferring to tinker on her own. She finds great joy in the garden, rearranging plants that please the eye. Her motivation draws from her need and capacity to create. From the time he was three years old, my son wrote and illustrated books. He would spend hours adding flair and detail. His motivation, I believe, came from the act of creating.
So many teachers describe their love of kids as the reason they teach. While the relationship developed with children provides great meaning and satisfaction for me, I have always thought a fundamental reason I feel whole as a teacher has been the ability to create – to create a dynamic learning environment. Teaching is a deeply creative act. Whether my students are 10 year-old kids or adults, there is equal opportunity to create dynamic rich learning environments.
I picked up the trailer bed in a box, waiting to be bolted together.
So back to my trailer. It is built on a 4′ x 6′ trailer bed. Doors on one side open to a kitchen counter with 4 drawers. The entire unit slides out to provide a 2′ x 4′ working countertop. Doors open on the other side revealing four large drawers serving as the bedroom dresser. The back has shelves for storage of equipment and food, and access to a bottom opening for large items. The door in the front opens for more equipment storage. The whole trailer carries an aluminum skin – sporting a look not unlike a classic Airstream camper trailer.
Creating a base
Preparing the frame
The construction took longer than expected, largely due to the long moments when I sat and stared – waiting for inspiration to arrive with a solution to a problem that had been vexing me. This included multiple times that I had built one part only to take it apart and rebuild with a new plan. My daughter drove away with the trailer last week. I feel a loss – and angst for several parts that I want to redo. I lie awake at night thinking of improvements and refinements. I rode my bike 30 miles today in the “Saint Paul Classic“, an organized bike ride around a beautiful city. As the miles rolled by, my thoughts continued to work their creative ways and sprout new ideas. I can’t not think that way. It is who I am. I think it is who we are.
Is there an innate need to create? I believe there is. I think it is a foundational component of what makes us human. And so, I will continue waking up in the middle of the night thinking of how to fashion a better frame for the trailer. I will continue to amble into the garage shop to tinker. My wife will continue to share her poetry with me. It feels good.
The kitchen cabinet
Covering with 1/4″ plywood
Ready to skin
- Applying an aluminum skin
Finishing with trim