I have had a few blog readers ask if I will talk about meeting craft industry “celebrities”. I do have a few good stories and today I thought I’d share one that is pretty darn special to me.
The first few times I “met” Tim Holtz would have been as a local store manager attending (as a buyer) trade shows. I remember thinking he was straight up awesome + really good at teaching about his product.
In April of 2005, I met up with Tim at Scrapbook Territory. When I say “met up” I mean I spent what was to my budget a good deal of money to take a class from him. It was worth EVERY cent. Truly the best three hours – and my first ever break from then 2 month old Elizabeth. (In the picture you can see Tim holding up her current photo… wild. She’s starting Kindergarten this month!!
This layout celebrating that meeting/class makes me cringe – but darn it I was trying SO HARD to find my style and do my own thing. If you want to read more about my creative journey you can see the posts so far here. What did we make in class?
The class was all about distress inks, and much of the knowledge I gained (as well as at least 10 ink pads that I purchased) are still with me and working today. I totally loved how grungy and vintage his style was – and I really started to get that I too am a lover of vintage style.
What really got me about this class was how he taught. The play and variation, the personal expression that he encouraged, and especially the boxes of treasure to sort through and use. Rather than a kit, we could play and enjoy a huge variety which resulted in everyone having a totally custom little book.
It was an important creative day for another reason – I had a major breakthrough on this day. You see I’d recently announced that I would not be returning as a store manager but instead stay home with Elizabeth. I still wanted to work creatively, but my confidence had taken some brutal beatings.
But something happened in this class, something that would stick in my mind and become an anchor that kept me going, tiny as it was. I turned a screw around.
You see how I have one screw facing each way in my binding? I will never forget what happened as Tim was walking around in class. He picked up my book and asked how-why – just how had I thought to do something so cool and funky? My response was that it had seemed obvious I liked both sides and wanted to see both front and back. The kind words and creative praise I received as he continued to look at my book meant the world to me. Truly – it was EXACTLY what my confidence and creative spirit had needed in that moment.
I kept that praise and positive experience close in my heart and as a part of my confidence as I tried to make it as a freelance designer in this industry. I would remind myself that I had GOOD creative ideas in my brain and keep going, chin held high.
Over time I needed to lean on that memory less and less, to the point that it faded into more of a fond memory than anchor to my creative confidence. My respect and admiration of Tim Holtz grew nearly as much as his product lines. The way he stands behind everything he does, produces excellent quality items, and truly is passionate about what he does has always been admirable to me. Every trade show rolls around, and EVERY time I think “there’s no way he’s got something new and cooler than last time”… and yet he does. EVERY year.
I’ve seen Tim demo here and there at trade shows, and I even got tomeet up at Winter 2010 CHA – which was extra fun. I tell you he sold me on everything… even a die cut machine. (I know that’s SHOCKING for me – more on that some other day). He also challenged me to try his scissors (which I now consider my #1 pair) and I found myself noting that over time, even with all his success, he’s still very much “Tim” and is still very much a person I’d want to hang out with.He’s still doing things his way and I still consider myself very much a fan.
So imagine how I felt when he e-mailed me and asked me to be a part of this…
My reaction was first to wish for a time machine, travel back to April 2005 and tell that low-confidence new mama (me) to keep up the good work and give her a wink. Then I did a dance. Then I looked behind me to make sure the email wasn’t for the person standing behind me… it wasn’t.
So, that’s my Tim Holtz (celebrity crafter extraordinare) story so far. Now I get to work with even more of his stuff – and can reasonably e-mail him a bit more without being considered over the top fan or crazy lady. Excited? That doesn’t even begin to cover the range of emotion I’ve got going on – I think INSPIRED is a better word, because at the root that’s how I really feel.
Inspired to chase down my craziest ideas. To create. To do things MY way because it feels right. To be me. You’ll be seeing more projects from me right here too – so it’s a great thing all around.
Thanks to Tim – for being more of a part of my past than he knew, and for this fantastic opportunity… and new chapter in my creative journey.