A PART-TIME truck driver has realised his childhood dreams of owning a luxury catamaran – complete with trailer and 4×4 tow truck – after spending hundreds of hours patiently building them out of used matchsticks.
“Ja boet, I knew I would never have enough money to buy them so I built them out of millions of matchsticks instead,” 54-year-old Piet Lemmer chuckled yesterday,
Dozens of bottles of glue and thousands of matchsticks later, the Port Alfred trucker was so confident of his craftsmanship he personally took the luxury yacht off its custom-made trailer and into the water for its maiden voyage.
“I put the boat in the bath and it floats – there are no leaks at all,” he said proudly.
Lemmer said he first started dabbling in matchstick art three years ago to try and beat boredom – especially in the evenings and over weekends.
“I am a bachelor and I had nothing to do with my time so I started playing around with matchsticks, making small items to give to my friends.
Over the years Lemmer has perfected his technique and now burns all the matchsticks in the box before gluing them one at a time onto specially made templates that he cuts and joins into the designs he wants.
“All my designs come from my head,” he proudly explains. “I am so hooked now I just cannot stop myself – even though the glue is expensive.”
Although matchsticks form the bulk of his artwork, Lemmer also carves ice cream sticks to build rails and other features into the boats, houses and cars he makes.
“Luckily I have found a place where I can buy as many sticks as I want – at least I don’t have to eat dozens of ice creams anymore to use in my artworks,” he jokes.
Lemmer’s proud mother, Anne, says her son even built her the house of her dreams out of matchsticks.
“Look inside the windows, it really does have beautiful furniture inside.”
Inside the house there are household items painstakingly glued together.
Not content with just building the one-metre long catamaran – which even boasts windows and two outboard motors – Lemmer also built a trailer to put it on.
“That is when I realised I needed a 4×4 to get it to the bath and started building a tow truck that even has lights and indicators.”
Inspired to go even bigger, Lemmer has now set his sights on building an aeroplane more than a metre long – complete with moving propellers. “I always wanted my own plane,” he jokes.
Although his eyes take strain, Lemmer says it is all worthwhile when he sees the finished product and hears the comments of amazed friends.
“Over the years I have used hundreds of thousands of matchsticks and dozens of bottles of glue to build all the things I have always dreamed of owning.”
Although Lemmer gives away his art to friends, he hopes to sell his work one day – even if only to cover his costs. — firstname.lastname@example.org