Two years ago this fall, and close to the end of my rope, I was out looking for work. Things were tough all over, and I had applied to just about everywhere for just about anything. While out for art supplies one day, it dawned on me half-way across the parking lot to Michaels, that I should put an application in there. I doubled back to the car and grabbed a resumé and low and behold, when I came back out again, I had a job!
And for an artist, what better job? You get to talk to people and help them with all the stuff you know and love best, and it’s like being a kid in a candy store whenever a new product line arrives. And if that weren’t enough, there’s an employee discount for purchases of supplies. Wow–and get this–they pay you too!
As part of the job, I was given training in the custom framing department. This included professional techniques for mounting and preserving artwork, and choosing mats and frames that best bring out the colours in a picture and suit the surroundings where it will hang. Invaluable knowledge for any artist, and I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to get that experience.
Another thing. While for most of the week, I am happily holed up, listening to CBC radio and painting, it’s a great break and very satisfying to come to work, mix with people and be part of a team. (Joanna says it’s good for me.)
One morning, we had a surprise visit to the store by the President of Michael’s Arts and Crafts Canada and representatives from Head Office who flew in from Texas. We were all called to the front of the store, and to my astonishment, they presented me with an award of recognition for the work with fallen soldier portraits.
A few weeks later, a huge package arrived unannounced in the mail from one of Michael’s suppliers, Colart, the North American distributor of Winsor & Newton products. In it was an incredibly generous supply of the large, studio-sized tubes of oil paint, mediums and brushes, donated in support of the fallen soldier portraits.
At a time when I was feeling downhearted and discouraged, I cannot tell you what this meant to me, to have my work recognized by the Canadian President and by Head Office and to receive such a generous donation of supplies. What also really gets me has been the day to day encouragement and the genuine wish-you-well I’ve received from fellow employees at the store.
In June, I was granted a leave of absence to go out and do the traveling displays. Now returning to my shifts, it’s so great to feel welcomed back again.