Model Cars and the Creative Craft

Joe Webster tries to learn life and work lessons while building a model car, and getting frustrated with decal placement…

A Mustang GTO isn’t in the cards for me. And that’s cool. My life is blessed in lots of other ways. But a model, I should be able to do. Here’s what I learned while making one.

Significant work isn’t done in one session.

In the case of my car, taking breaks wasn’t optional. Glue has to dry. Paint has to dry. Annoyance with the project set in, and I needed to get away. The best art and web projects are the same way–the team pushes itself to exhaustion, steps away for a while, and then repeats.

Instructions are nice. They shouldn’t always be followed though.

This was no Lego set. I found lots of instances where things would have turned out better if I’d done the steps in a different order–like placing the exhaust pipes last, instead of right in the middle of the assembly. They probably broke off 4 or 5 times altogether. For creatives, you learn the craft and the rules in school. You learn different rules on the job. And then you break them.

Mistakes are inevitable.

Perfection just isn’t possible. I made tons of mistakes along the way. Some could be fixed, some could be hidden, but others are out in the open. My car doesn’t look like the picture. Work projects are imperfect, too. You do the best you can, with what you know at the time.

Some of your best work will never be seen.

I did some great work on the interior of the car, and the insides of the engine. Then I covered them up with other pieces. Only I know they are there.

When you’re done with a thing, you will know how you should have done it.

Now that I’ve built a model car, I’m sure I could do better next time. The same was true for my first WordPress site. It was bad, but it worked. And I knew I could do better.

And So…

There are obvious parallels between this and the creative/craft work that we do at Webster. But instead of talking more about that, I will say… what kind of kid builds these models? I’m 41 years old, and it was a struggle. Some parts were just impossible–I mean, how can anyone place those decals like they show in the instructions??