Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life! Choices! Good News! Ranger U ! Part 2

Morning Bloggers! Back again. So where did I leave off...
One day I ran across those pages and notes from that book a year earlier. I decided to combine my wood working with the techniques in that book. I put transfers and stamps onto small cabinets,wooden trunks,old cigar boxes,doll boxes,and old vegetable bins. Anything and everything I could find.
Of course there was some trial and error- New products, new techniques.
Sometimes we make and learn to discover the process- not the final product.
Part of being an artist is like anything else- not everything you make is going to be golden and perfect. You will have those not so good pieces. These pieces will still reflect you- just perhaps reflecting you on an off day.
Art reflects life folks.
Some of these pieces become practice boards. Others, after a year become your favorite pieces. One never knows...
Have you ever made a piece that was so dark and full of mixed emotion?
That you can't be in the same room with it?

Anywho- I was doing the furniture gig- I was happy. However I felt I needed to go further with these pieces. My biggest problem? I had all these fantastic ideas for projects in my head. I wanted fonts, drawings,pictures, quotes, backgrounds, etc. I wanted specific images,certain objects,I wanted to have my own images incorporated. But I lacked an image library,photoshop understanding,no digital camera for my own stuff. Before I started acting, I got out of school with a graphic design background and portfolio. But in the 12 years I was away from the design buisness, alot had changed. Everything had gone tech. I found myself needing photoshop skills, digital camera understanding or at least a photography refresher. I wanted to know how to build websites. I needed to know how to print my own work. These had been things that I had to rely upon other people for. I lacked the computer/digital knowledge. I had limited funds- so I kept relying upon
friends who had certain know how to help me.
After awhile waiting on friends can get old.
I then decided to go back to school.
Learn it all.
Take a photoshop class, web design class, learn how to be a digital designer. So I have been going to school for two years. Taking it all in. During this time I continued my exploration of
altered art & mixed media as a side income and passion.

One day I went into a certain chained "Scrapbook Paper" store. A total fluke. I don't even remember what took me into the store. I just remember it wasn't my best day for appearance. I was sweaty, had on a big blue headband, was red faced, had sawdust all over me, paint on my pants, and shoes covered in solder and paint. My hair was standing straight up due to the mixture of sawdust-paint-and hair product. I had been working on various products all afternoon. The ladies at this store did not receive me with smiles. I believe they actually thought that I was homeless. They actually ignored me. It was the first paper/ scrapbook store I had ever entered. Although I was being ignored by the staff, and having soccer moms veer away from me alarmed for their purses. I was still amazed. The first section that caught my eye was this "Tim Holtz" section- some blonde dude with this cool book.
Something called "Distressables".
He had all kinds of tools and inks. With this really cool paper.
It all screamed take me home and craft with me.
Circus paper, vintage alphabet blocks, old skeleton keys.
His section was next to a section with all this product that was labeled "Nostalgiques", down from that was a bunch of cool items labeled "7gypsies".
I fell in love. I ran out of the store. I went home and got Lesley (the Cat)and dragged her into the store. We spent several long hours. We bought Tim Holtz's book "Distressables", along with a handful of papers, and gel mediums. (Although nobody in the store knew what you did with gel medium)- I still remember asking the young bleached blonde behind the counter-
"Will this work for transfers?"
She looked very confused. I explained what a transfer was-
she then said to me
"Why would you want to do that?".
I never went back to that store.
Instead I went searching for others.
But that night the Cat and I devoured everything in that book. Front to back. Everything. The Cat and I were hooked. We wanted to make everything we saw. Then we did. We went crazy for six months. Then one day I was in Mesa, after a stamp convention. I saw this paper store in downtown Mesa.
It was called "Mystic Paper".
I looked like total crap that day- dressed all raggedy again.
But in here the people didn't care.
The store was filled with a ton of fantastic items. Found objects, incredibly cool paper(no soccer balls and trout paper) various inks, adhesives, and an incredibly cool attitude. Next door and connected was an antique store.
I felt at home.
It all fell into place.
On my second visit I walked around the store waiting to start a conversation with the lady behind the counter. We chatted.
She then asked me "Do you teach?"
Two days later I sat down with the owners- Kim and Jennifer and
we planned my first class with them.
I taught my first altered art class at Mystic Paper in June 2007. A beeswax class with a "Gypsy" theme. The ladies that took that class will always be my favorite. They were eager, patient, and creative. It was a great group. Back to what I said about events that shape us. Had the class been horrible? Had Kim and Jennifer never took a chance on a grubby artist lingering in their store? Had my signifigant other not supported me. Had I not fallen and hurt my back. Life works in very grand ways. Cause and reaction. A string of events.

My point with all this?
I'm going to be Rangerized!

The other day I received my acceptance letter from Ranger University! An intense weekend at Ranger headquarters in New Jersey. Three packed days filled with classes taught by Suze Weinberg, Tim Holtz, and Claudine Hellmuth. So that I can become a certified Ranger instructor.
What a great fall this is going to be.

The best thing of all. Remember the two books I mentioned that
inspired me so much. One was Tim's Book "Distressables.
The other, the first one was "Collage Discovery Workshop"
by Claudine Hellmuth.

I love the way life works- two books , two artists, huge inspiration. Now I get to go meet and learn from them both.

My point once again- life has a way of pulling it all together.


Jennifer and Kim said...

Finally, the announcement has been made and we couldn't be happier for you! And, I don't believe you were grubby the first time you came in.

Lindsey Michaelree said...

What an AWESOME story!!! Congratulations to you my friend! This is so cool, it totally made my day. Whoo Hoo, Ranger University here he comes! Thanks for sharing.

JWood said...

OH MY! That's great news! Pretty soon you'll be teaching at Ranger U!

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

Congratulations, Mike!! They couldn't have picked a better guy! And I just loved the whole story. I have been popping in all day watching for the ending. I was actually at Mystic talking to Kim when the post finally showed up and we read it together. Again, congratulations!!

Tricia Samsal said...

Wow! I'm so happy for you! What a little beeswax can do for you! hee hee :) I hope you get to learn alot and take it all in. And take lots and lots of pictures. I can't wait to hear all about it! Congratulations, Mike.
Tricia S.

Char said...

Hay Congrats you. Pretty soon we'll be able to say we knew you when. Could not happen to a nicer guy. Best of luck and enjoy. T&C

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Mike!! and VERY well deserved (I think Mr. T has got some stiff competition in the talent, creating and design category with you, so he'd better look out! ;))
I applied to both sessions this year (better luck next year for me)--if anyone should get in, it's you...You are going to Rock the Cazbah. WOOT WOOT WOOT!

Tina said...

OMG!!! how wonderful!! That's the BEST thing Mike!! Can't wait to hear more!!! BIG OL'HUGS for you!!!

Jack and Cat Curio said...

Thank You all!

Road Trip With Ruby said...

Woohoo...are we all proud of you or what? Couldn't happen to a more deserving, talented guy! I'm so glad that I can say I knew you when. I hope you'll still teach us Photoshop when you hit the big time!

Chia said...

Congratulations Mike! I know you will have a blast!

BTW, your contact buttons weren't working for me. I had something I wanted to whisper in your ear.

CeCe said...

"Life! Choices! More than good news for the university! They made the RIGHT choice in admitting you! I did not even know there was such a university. Now my MTSU degrees seem pale and unimportant. I want to sign up now for your first class after your graduation!

Heartinmyhand said...

WOW, Mike that is fantastic.A great big CONGRATS!!!!!!!!! Could not have happened to a greater more talented person.It is because of that bees wax class I took with you that I'm now an altered junkie.
Don't forget us little people.
Hugs to you

Maija said...

Fabulous news, Mike, and so well deserved!!!
I am so excited you have this wonderful opportunity to take your work to another level!!

Anonymous said...

Rock and Roll Mike!! That's awesome. Congratulations and best of luck. I'm sure you'll be brilliant. I am soooooooo lame because I have yet to take a class with you. My schedule is crazy and I need to get my butt in gear.

Nicole (customer of Mystic Paper)

PS: When you're rich and famous, don't forget us little people! ;D

Debra McWm said...

The first time I met you was at one of the Tim Holtz workshops at Mystic Paper when you sat across the aisle from me. I thought you were just another TH groupie until I saw your shadowbox. OMG!
Now you're going to Ranger U, and I couldn't be happier for you.
You are a wonderful artist and teacher, and an incredible spirit. I am blessed to have known you.

Pam said...

What an honor to be going to Ranger U! Isn't life intereting!!!! Many twists and turns but with a little creativity and direction those twists and turns lead to the unexpected and the wonder of new things.

Congratulations! Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.


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