(Photo by Kelsey Klont/TCJ: (L to R): Ron Partridge, Andrew Blanche, and George Blanche with the deer picture Andrew made for Ron.)
Nothing is better than a handmade gift that you give somebody and that is what Andrew Blanche has been doing for the last few years.
Andrew, a Charlotte local with special needs, makes diamond paintings, some that are the size of area rugs, and gifts them to his close friends and family. Diamond paintings have become a recent trend involves arranging small rhinestones onto an adhesive surface that creates beautiful images. This craft is a very tedious process placing small individual diamonds onto a large area.
Andrew was introduced into his now favorite hobby by his Aunt Diane, which was a couple of years ago, and since then he has made 45 stunning diamond paintings and has gifted them all to loved ones. The intention with these diamond paintings for Andrew is to encourage people that they can do stuff that they get enjoyment from, that you can do anything you set your mind to, no matter the circumstance. One of the biggest incentives for Andrew, personally, is that he gives them to people and that they enjoy them.
This past summer he made a painting of a field of deer and surprised his longtime neighbor and friend, Ron Partridge, who is an avid deer hunter. Andrew’s father, George Blanche, called Partridge over and then the surprise came. Partridge was so moved, and still is moved today whenever he sees the image, because of the thought behind it for Andrew to make it for him. Partridge also told me, “Yes I am a grown man, but I did have a few tears in my eyes when I saw the picture, it just means so much that he thought of me to make one for me. Andrew surprised me with it, had it behind his back and pulled it around and I was shocked.”
From having met Andrew and George it was impactful and inspirational to hear the triumphs that Andrew has accomplished although he faces more challenges than most, but that does not stop him.
Some of Andrew’s favorite hobbies are other art projects such as sticker by numbers, and helping his dad around the house, he has even assisted in laying the floor in their house alongside his dad. George told me, “I have learned a lot from my son, Andrew, seeing him flourish and not be defined by limitations, it is great.” Other sources of enjoyment for Andrew include bowling on Thursday mornings with his special needs friends, as well as participating in the Special Olympics.
Moving ahead, Andrew still looks to continue making his gorgeous diamond paintings and surprising his family and friends and continue doing things that bring him enjoyment.