Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Would Not Trade for Anything.

This was part of my senior thesis show...It was from a story my father wrote about my mother and their first date and some things leading up to it. Just an image I found and thought I would share. Take care.

AC Out.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Have you ever wondered what it would be like?

In a seemingly perfect world, there is so much that could go wrong, yet so much that can go right.  It is in simple actions, in which words are not necessary.  How you can tell so much from one little off-set glance or a smirk in which the other did not think you saw. Perception is key.  I always say each of us has a choice. A choice to smile at the off-set glance and wave it off as nothing or dwell on why it must be so.  We put so much pressure on what others think and as much as we would like to believe we are our own person, there is a part of us who knows that can never be the whole truth.

We are influenced day in and day out to believe certain things and behave in a certain manner. There are those who go against the standard that was set and those who follow it.  What exactly is said for those who do not adhere to the societal status in which most follow?  Does it make them any less desirable? 

There are many questions and so few truthful answers.  Has it really come to this? I ask myself why have I become so obsessed with what is supposed to be? Nobody really knows what is supposed to be, if it was, then wouldn't it just be that?  I am in the middle of an identity crisis. Not the typical one you would think.  I just feel that no matter what I do at the moment, I will not be satisfied with the outcome.  I am starting to doubt myself and my actions.  The funny thing is, I know what it took for me to get here, but I feel like I am at a standstill. I am just waiting for something to happen when I know I need to go out there and make it happen.  Nothing ever comes to those who waits, it comes to those who go out there and look for it. I know what I am suppose to do, I just do not know how to get there at the moment. 

I start blaming my job as the root of my problems.  Instead, I should be celebrating my job. Even though I am miserable with it right now, it is the one thing that got me down to North Carolina.  I was able to move here right away because of it. I did not have to stay stuck in Michigan any longer because I knew I would be financially stable down here.  Now, it is my job that is stunting my growth.  Sure, it is the holiday season, everyone is busy. However, my job is so exhausting that it is not allowing me to stay healthy and do the things I need to do to improve my dietary needs.  I do not have the energy to exercise or do anything really. I have become a drone and immobilized on my days off. It has taken me three weeks to get just over halfway done with a set of 40 beerrings. My new body of work, the one that I have been so excited to start up, is still sitting in my sketch book, waiting to come to life.  I need a gate to unlock and show me the way. There are pros and cons to everything, however, I just want there to be pros right now, I am sick of the cons.  I need to take care of myself, but how do I do that and still afford the rent?

ahhh, the struggling survival guide of an unhealthy artist. Food for thought.

continue to pay attention, ya never know how long I will stay in this comatose, you all know I never stay in one spot for long.

AC out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So, I just got used to the idea that it would be another month until Cappy had her babies (Cappy is my Chinchilla) and on Monday morning, I woke up, said hello to them (I have two...the other's name is Novella), went to the bathroom and when I went to play with them, there were two new additions to the family! :) I do not know if they are boys or girls yet, but i think I am going to go along with the Novella theme and name them after the cabins...or would I name that after short novelists? Either way, one of them will be named after Virgina Woolf and we will be calling it Ginnie and the other will be named after Toni Morrison and call it Morri :) What do you guys think? Feedback? Just look how precious they are! :)

That is all I have for today, folks. Stick around, you know I never stay in one spot for too long.

AC out.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This past summer, I made around 60 or so pieces of jewelery for camp.  I wore a new piece everyday and they were all made from found objects. I found new ways to use old things.  I guess that is what I have been focusing on because I do not have a torch or the correct tools to make what I really want to make.  I find it very interesting that throughout my whole career at Grand Valley, GLUE was a four letter word and now that I am out, I use it CONSTANTLY! haha. I know it is horrible and I am loosing some of my technique or credibility or whatever, but they were quick pieces that I used to get my creative juices flowing again.  I guess you could call them sketches. I know earlier, I was talking about how I was not a sketcher, however, I have realized that I 'sketch' in my own way. These photos are two such "sketches". I took apart an old saxophone and created brooches out of them. These two were given as gifts. I will be posting more photos of my pieces as soon as I can, but for now, enjoy these ones! :)

I do not have much more to say right now, but hold on tight because you know I never stay in one spot for long.

AC out.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You know the phrase: "Rome was not built in a day"?

I have been doing a great deal of thinking lately, mostly about my new body of work that I so desperately crave to start working on.  My ideas are solid but my sketches??? Not so much.  I am not the greatest sketcher. I would rather see the ideas in my head and just make it as I work. Which strikes me as a little odd, seeing how I have a detailed plan for everything.  I was speaking with my mom last night and I was getting really frustrated about how I am not where I would like to be with my art.  How I have to wait until I pay my bills to get started on my work. What do I do instead? I sit at my computer and I watch countless hours of mind numbing television.  I tell myself that it is research for my work. I sit here and study relationships; how they develop, how they change; how they start and how they end. Which is half true.  I have decided that my work is about relationships between people. More specifically, about the love that grows within a friendship or a misconstreued idea.  What I have found is that people do not communicate openly.

Not only have I been studying television, but I have also been studying my friends and their relationships with their significant others (because believe you me, it feels like all of my friends are with someone). Weither it be new or old, hot or cold, I have noticed that a very select few of them are truely and actually in an open communicative relationship.  I watch my parents and how they interact after twenty-five years of marriage and it is almost as if they fall in love all over again each and everyday. It is quite amazing.  On the other hand, I am aware of other friends who are suspicious that their honey is not being so faithful or they have doubts about their love to one another. Instead of confronting these concerns, they push them aside as if they would not matter.  I know I am not an expert on this whole "love" thing, but I know a thing or two about proper communication.  I know that if you are not one hundred percent honest with your "someone", then how the hell is anything suppose to be fixed. Are you just going to go on doubting them until you work yourself up so much that you break it off, when it could have been fixed with a few arguements and/or discussions? 

I guess it might just be me, but if I find someone or something is bothering me, I confront it.  I have heard confrontation is scary and hard for most people, but there is a point and time where you need to take control of your life and just go for it. Stand up for yourself and stick to your ground.  If you do not, then it is your fault when the break up happens and if you are in an unhappy relationship (wither it be a blossoming new love or a fifty year marriage) you are sol because YOU did not speak up.  How is anyone suppose to know something is wrong unless you SAY SOMETHING about it!? Stop being passive aggressive and SUCK IT UP CUPCAKE!

There are very few couples that I know in whom I would love to model my relationship after (with whoever the lucky guy ends up being) and for the record, I would just like to give credit to the love birds.  They inspire me and give me hope that love like theirs really does exist and that I am waiting for all the right reasons. So here is my personal thank you.

First and foremost, I thank my mom and dad. They are the reason I am as strong willed and independent as I am.  They taught me to stand on my own two feet before I can lean on someone for more strength and wisdom. 

Next, my Grandma and Grandpa. Six beautiful children, all still married to their first husband (or wife) and almost all happily married, twenty-something grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and still as in love as the first day they met, there is a real rare treat in todays world. 

To Amy and Eric, the crazy love birds who taught me that no matter what, you need to find that person who drives you crazy and pushes you towards your passion and shares it with you, not only that but who will REALLY support you and be there for you in sickness and in health. 

I will never forget the (kind of) newly engaged couple, Cassandra and Dave. (Cassie being my bestest friend). I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be watching this love blossom and grow.  From the first time Cassie called me to tell me Dave told her he loved her, to all the long talks we now have about their wedding next spring.  They have a rare blessing in today's world, sadly enough. It is my favorite kind, the kind I hope to find.

And to James and Jessica, who deserve eachother more than any two people I have ever met.  To a new couple who just make sense. The smiles I see on their faces when they are talking about one another are priceless and never overrated.

I love you all and I thank you for the inspiration and more importantly, being true to yourselves.  These things will always take time and hard work, but know that every ounce of it is worth it.  Never under estimate the power of love.

Stay tuned because I never stay in one spot for long.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

second thoughts

I am having second thoughts about my last post. Should I have really posted that? It seems desperate after reading it again...

Well I am off to work now. I only have a five hour shift, so I shan't be gone long. Maybe when I get back, I will actually work on my letters and try to sketch a few things out in my sketchbook...that is something I have not done in a while. I have SOOOO many ideas for my work now. It is almost ridiculous! A very amazingly wonderful, ridiculous though! :)

Take care my fellow readers. You know I'll never be in one spot for long...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Everyday is a struggle between what I wanna say and what I should keep to myself

"Everyday is a struggle between what I wanna say and what I should keep to myself"
                            -Toby Lightman-

I swore to myself when I started blogging that this was not going to be a blog about the woes that I have for myself, but a positive place to gather all of the positive things about my life, however, there are a few things I need to say help me with cope with the one thing that has been bothering me for quite some time. It might seem a little crazy...but this is me, you get what you get...if you are bored, do not read it. Close the window. I do not care. This post is for me.  I probably should not post this...but oh well. shit happens.

Dear Myself,
       There is something weighing on my mind. For some reason I am finding it hard to say out loud, so it is within these words, that I will find my strength to say it.  I know before I say it, I will sit here, staring at this blank screen before I find the courage to say what I really want to say. I know that what I write down will be the truth and I am more scared of the self realization than actually telling you, but I guess that is all in the same. In some ways you already know what it is I want to say and in other ways, you do not. I know that may sound strange, but there are words fighting to get out and moments where you push everything away so you do not have to deal with the reality of being alone.
       I have known you my whole life. I have watched you go through heartbreak after heartbreak and each time it gets more difficult than the last. You hear people tell you thinks like "it is not you, it is them",  "guys are put off by your strength and confidence", "You know what you want and you can tell within a few minutes that he is not the guy for you, so you move on" or "he is out there and he is going to just sweep you off your feet at any moment".  As it gets more hopeless you feel like that will be the moment you find "him", but instead you find nothing more than your stuffed animal to hold at night.  Instead you come to the realization that "he" does not exist.  It is in this moment that you realize that it is you that is standing in the way of everything. Sure some things can be circumstantial, but how open are you to it all?  This is your biggest insecurity.  You say that you are open to these possibilities, but you open your mouth too soon, you jump the gun.  You are too eager to find that spark that you will not let it ignite.  I know that you do not want to miss an opportunity and you think that you need to let him know how you feel, but honestly, we are not in high school anymore. You need to slow down and just let the wave ride.
       So, now, this is the point where I am suppose to tell you to not give up hope or faith "he is out there. As much as I do not want that to happen, I have to tell you that you have to.  It is not worth your time to be worrying about all of that fairy tale, movie magic crap.  You build yourself up by watching movies and watching romances unfold on television. THIS CRAP IS NOT REAL. It is a screen play. They have writers who tell them what to say and when to save the day. In real life, this does not happen.  So do not expect fireworks every time. Do not be swept off your feet with the next guy who bats his pretty blue eyes at you. Right now, your sole purpose is to focus on yourself and the goals you have set for yourself.  You know as well as I do how you act when a boy pays attention to you.  You loose focus and perspective of who you really are. You begin to dote over this boy, become a hopeless romantic. Then when he does not deliver the same feelings, you try everything you can to make him see that you are suppose to be his "one". You cannot understand how you could feel so deeply for him and for him to just walk away. However, the logical side of you knows that in order for something to work, both parties have to feel the same way.  You try to rationalize these things, when something does not work out, you tell yourself it is going to be okay. The thing is, you have to let yourself hurt, if you do not do this, then you can never truly heal.  Stop hiding behind your work, put yourself out there and be vulnerable
     Every time, you get your hopes up and start dreaming of things before you have the right to. You must make HIM work for it.  You must make him the dreamer.  There is no way for you to know he is all in it unless you let him make a few moves. Stop being the one who opens up first. Leave him with some mystery. If he wants to see you, if he wants to be with you, HE will make it happen, right? HE is out there, he has to be. As much as your heart is hurting and longing for your other half, you have to understand that there is a reason you are waiting.  Not everyone can know what they want like you, you have to give him the chance to make up his mind.  This thought is not instant with men, it takes them a while to commit. Love is hard, it exists, I promise you, but it cannot happen just like that. It will take some time to manifest, just be patient.
      You have to be careful and take your time. Do not rush into anything without thinking it through. Yes, it may be your first impulse to say what is on your mind, what you are thinking, what you are feeling and what you want, but you cannot. No, it will not be mind games by holding these feelings back for a little bit, it is giving everything a chance to manifest into what it is going to be. So hold your breath, be careful in what you say because with the breath you save can be the one thing that saves you from making the same mistake you have already made. Just be wise in your decision because nothing can make up for another broken heart.

*NO! I hate this bull crap. Here is the thing I can write whatever I want to write to try and help myself feel better. This is ridiculous. I am ridiculous. I hate the fact that I am alone. I do not know how to fix it, but I am sick and tired of cuddling with my stuffed animal. I want someone to hold me, to kiss me, to wrap me up in a big huge hug. I do not care how desperate this sounds. I am so frustrated with all of this. I can sit here and write the rest of this corny crap, keep digging down into the bottom of my soul, or I can just tell you all that yes, I did need to get that stuff out, but when it comes down to it. I do not want to be alone anymore. I want to really be loved.*


OOOO DOGGY! It has been a while!

Well guys, it has been quite a while. I really meant to keep this up over the summer, but most of you know that while I am at Blue Lake, my communication skills lack quite a bit! SO, recap of the summer? It will be short, I promise!

Blue Lake was amazing, as usual. I had a pretty good unit of counselors and some interesting camper situations. This summer really helped me grow in ways I was not expecting to, but I guess that is what you get at Blue Lake. It never ceases to amaze me how each summer is incredibly different. I am really glad I went back. I was a little nervous about going back. At first, I was not sure if I made the right decision. I LOVE being with my friends, do not get me wrong, but was I really ready to go through this role a third time? The answer being, yes. As I reflect on the summer, I realize that this is the exact summer I needed.  The friendships I had made in the past summers only grew stronger and I made some exceptionally wonderful new friends.  As a whole, the staff this summer was unbelievable (and that is an understatement).

This summer, felt almost like a test. It was a reality check into what I really want to do and how I would like to go about doing that. I cannot really explain right now what I mean by this, but I do know that I want to build an organization with a camp feel, like Blue Lake. A nonprofit arts camp. Who knows, maybe Blue Lake West really will happen? (haha, right Kelli!?). For now, I still want to go to graduate school. I NEED graduate school. At least that is how I feel right now. No, I do not want to go to graduate school because I feel the need to justify my last 5 1/2 years of schooling by continuing on, but it is to learn more and to work under four of the most influential people I have met(or at least read about).

My mind is all over the place right now. So, for now, I will tell you what has happened since Blue Lake. Well, my move to North Carolina happened! :) I'm here now, sitting in my new apartment in North Raleigh!! YAY! I have a screened in porch that I am going to turn into my studio! It's pretty perfect. It was a crazy move down here and I am not exaggerating at all by saying can ask my dad.  I will spare you all the details though.

I am also working at a portrait studio. I started this past Tuesday and will be going into my second week tomorrow.  It is going really well so far...we will see if I can still say that after our Christmas season...

On my day off, I did not do much. I cleaned up a little bit (there is still stuff EVERYWHERE). I did not really clean that much though. I had a VERY lazy day. I watched season 2 of The Office. Pretty awesome, huh?

I guess the next post will be more positive. I have too much on my mind.

and that is all she wrote...

Monday, April 12, 2010

*curtsey* Ah, Thank You very much! :)

First of all, I must say that I am in absolute awe of how many of you read and responded to my postings. Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. It means A LOT. I hope that I can continue to make this interesting enough for you to stay tuned in!

I got my first paycheck from Quiznos today and what do you think I did with that? I went shopping. There was this dress that I was dying to try on, but could not afford it at the time, so I waited patiently. Well, not only did I look stunning in a completely different dress AND found boots to match, but I got a commission out of the whole ordeal!  I went up to pay and the girl asked me if I wanted any jewelry and without thinking, I said, "No thanks, I make jewelry for a living, I do not need anymore!" and then chuckled because I realized after it came out of my mouth how rude it sounded...The girl was like, "seriously? I am looking for jewelry for my bridesmaids!" I gave her my card and she said she would probably e-mail me tonight! Ha! How random is that! Now, I just have to find a torch. :-/

So, if any of you are in Grand Rapids this Friday, there is going to be a HUGE art event going on downtown. Here is their FB link Art.Downtown (<--click there).  It will be over 400 artists, 25 locations, 2 trollys and 1 night.  It starts at 6 and goes until 11, but there are so many things going on, you should probably come a little early, if possible! It will be amazing! I am volunteering for two hours. I do not know where I will be placed, but at this point, anywhere will be amazing! It is a quartly event that happens every season, so if you cannot make it to this one, there will be more!

31 days until May weekend
61 days until Camp
138 days until my projected moving date

Dang. I am way stoaked about life right now and you all know, I never stay in one spot for long!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood :)

     I have realized that I am anticipating the future way too much right now. So, I have taken a step back and reanalyzed what I am doing for the next few months.  I have a lot to look forward to, but I found myself looking too much to what is going to happen, I want to focus on what IS happening right now. 

HERE is what is happening: 

Quiznos is working out quite well. The people there are very friendly, it is like a big happy family, or rather a small one, since not a lot of people work there.  I have decided to look at this job not as a "fast-food" job, but as a new experience and a lot to learn.  Two days ago, I learned how to use a meat slicer. Yesterday, I sliced mozzerella and swiss cheese, turkey, ham and prime rib. I have to admit that I kind of like that weird? Over the past few days of working there, I have gotten to know the workers a lot better and I am pretty happy with my choice (and the opportunity) to work there...(specially since my boss is giving me almost 40 hours a week!)

I have started new adventures in making art as well. When it comes to my art, I always have a plan (kind of like my life).  To venture out from such a formated frame of mind and stretch my boundaries, I have come up with a new project.  Funny enough, it has to do with the future, in a way.  My idea is to make 69 brooches, for the 69 days I will be at camp this summer. I will wear one each day, but they all have to be made before.  I am assembling them quick and easy.  What I want is for them to be like sketches are for illustrators. I need something like this to get my mind flowing again.  They will all be cold-connected (riviting, capturing, sewing and even gluing...if it's not soldered before now, then it's not happening now).  They will be all found objects too. I have a lot of stuff cast in resin from my senior thesis show and I want to use them.  A great deal of the resin pieces have the most random objects in them and it will be fun to find a way to wear them without making the usual setting for them.  The goal is loosen me up and really push my boundaries.  Pictures will be up throughout the summer.  Like Jenny said, I really have to not think about them and just make them.  Hey, I already have about thirteen-ish done! :)

Another artsy thing I have been doing is sketching.  If you know me, I am most definitely a 3-D person.  I CAN draw just because I had to learn how to, but I do not really like it, nor is it my strongest suit.  HOWEVER, my father said that it would put me in an uncomfortable position with my art and within that, I might grow. SOOOOOO here I go sketching :)

A few months ago, I put in my resume and a kick-ass cover letter to Portrait Innovations.  I know they are a chain portriat studio, however, it would be a secure career in my area-ish.  Well, anyways, it would be a good opportunity to know how to work a camera and get paid for it. I would be working with people (mostly children, I am sure) and making them literally smile! Does not sound like a bad gig, does it?  It is really good money too. ANYWAYS, the HR Recruiter sent me an e-mail saying they were interested in working with me to find a position here in Grandville, MI.  Which is GREAT, but I am moving out of the state! When scrolling down to the bottom of the e-mail, it looks like their main branch is out of Charlotte, NC!!! I e-mailed her back right away and tried to sound very professional (and very greatful) but I told her that I was moving out of state and if it is not too soon, I would like to see if there were any positions in, or near Raleigh. I told her that I would be willing to commute if needed.  I am sure it will take a while for her to get back to me, but there is that possibility there! I would actually be able to pay all my bills AND be able to afford a decent appartment all by myself! :) ANNNNNNND I would save money for grad school! :) How cool is that! I could also afford to buy tools and equpitment for my art....

Ok, Ok, now I am getting ahead of myself again, time to pull it back to the now. HA! I think I know what I am doing with my life and it is really exciting.  I am really fortunate to have so many opportunities and blessings in my life. I thank the Lord for everything he has given (and is continuing to give) me.  I am young and happy-go-lucky! Anything is possible right now and that is SUCH a great feeling!

stay know I never stay in one spot for long! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The beginning of a new chapter...

Dear Family, Friends, People I haven’t spoken to in forever and anyone else who cares to read this,

    Recently, I have made a big life choice and instead of hearing it through the grapevine, I have decided to send out a mass e-mail to let everyone know what is going on.  It has come to my attention that a lot of you want to know what I am up to and so in order to make it as efficient as possible, I am starting a blog.  It seems like the easiest way to keep everyone informed and in the loop.  I am usually pretty decent in keeping in contact, but this past year, I have been slacking quite a bit.  It does not mean that I do not want to keep up with you, I have just been trying to figure out the next step in my life and it has kept me quite busy. SOOOOOOOOOOOO, here it goes! (JUST to warn you, it is a long first entry, but when have you ever known me to NOT be long-winded?)

    In December, as most of you know, I finally graduated from Grand Valley with my BFA (Bachelors of Fine Arts) in Metalsmithing and Jewelry (*insert applause here*) and have been on fire with making my art.  My senior thesis show was a huge success (thanks to everyone who came! And if you did not come, please feel free to check out my photo album of that on facebook, titled: ConvergeDiverge). After all of the excitement, I went home for just over two weeks, which is longer than I have been home in over three years combined, and had a nice relaxing break with my family.  I came back and the job search was on! Unfortunately, the art scene in Grand Rapids is not as vivacious as other cities, and finding an artsy job here (or in Michigan in general) was not very likely.
    During my senior show, I met one of the assistants at the PAC Gallery (shout out to Alison Jones) and found out we had a lot in common! We started chit-chatting about our lives and what-not and at the end Alison had asked me to help her curate a few shows at the Mustache Gallery in downtown Grand Rapids. UMMMMM YES, PLEASE!
                      *side note: For all of you who do not know, I am really interested in curating
                                    shows and getting involved to promote art in the community*

It was amazing! I learned a lot and hopefully, at the end of everything, did a good job. ☺ I really enjoyed working with Alison and wished that I could stay in Grand Rapids. I think G-Rap is a great city and full of some really cool things. It has grown so much in the past six years I have lived here. It is one place that I will miss.
    Along with all the stuff I had going on here, I was searching for something more.  Something was tugging me in a new direction and I believed it was the need to know more!  Soon enough, I was at the computer researching graduate schools and places to live.  At the beginning of my search, my mind was set on getting my MA in Museum Studies, so I developed a trip around that.  I am very fortunate to have AMAZING and WONDERFUL parental units who have supported me from day one.  My father said that if I were to propose a trip to him, to visit schools, then he would pay for it.  THANK YOU DADDY! ☺
    There are not too many schools that offer a Museum Studies program, or even one that I would be interested in. I was looking for something very specific.  I wanted a program that was centered on the actual art history of things or rather just art.  In my research I found a good chunk of schools that offered a MA, but in more concentrated areas of Public History, non-art museums and archeology (although, ever since I was little, I had always dreamed of becoming an archeologist…hmmm). FINALLY, I found a program that seemed PERFECT! University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. It was actually a “Museum Communications” program and offered all the core classes I was looking for. All right, AWESOME, that would be my first stop on my trip. Second was University North Carolina Greensboro and third was East Carolina University.  Although ECU did not have a museum studies program, they do have one of the best Metalsmithing Schools in the country right now (I’ll get to that later) and I needed to see this place for myself. Besides with faculty like Linda Darty and Bob Ebendorf, I just HAD to check them out!
    After I had been in contact with all the professors and set up times to meet, I had found out that UArts did not want just a meeting, they wanted an interview! I had not even applied to the school yet, and they want to interview me!? Dang, I am good! Haha. Two weeks later, I set out on my long road trip to Philly. It is a good thing I have done this drive a few times back in the day…I was mostly familiar with where I was going.
    Arriving in Philly was easier than I thought. Finding a parking spot? That was a whole other question.  Apparently the Travelodge does not have parking within their hotel. I was not prepared for that and either was my suitcase.  I found a garage to park at two blocks away in Philly’s version of “Little China” and walked the two blocks back to my hotel in the heart of Philly at about seven o’clock at night with about forty extra pounds on my back. OH, did I mention that I was in a not-so-nice part of Philly? YIKES! It is all right though; I kept my cool and just looked straight ahead.
    That night I did not get a good amount of sleep.  For one, I had a big interview tomorrow at one and I had almost no clue where I was going; two, I had cable for the first time in months; three, the sheets and blankets were NOT warm at all, they were paper thin and I ended up using my winter coat and extra blanket to keep me warm that night.  When I awoke the next morning, I got ready WAY early and then, thought I was going to be late to UArts.  Nope! I was there fifteen minutes early and Professor Vosburgh was very impressed…weird that he was impressed that I was early…but cool, I guess. 
    The interview ended up going VERY well and I enjoyed hearing about the program and talking to him about what my plans were.  I really loved the program and its projects.  I was impressed with the amount of “real world-hands on” coursework they had, but it was my first stop and I had to keep an open mind for the rest of the trip.  Later that night, I met up with an old friend and had dinner at a little pub I had been to before on a recent trip to Philly the year before for a Metalsmithing conference.  That was nice and refreshing to see a friendly face and have a great conversation. 
    The next day I was off to my next destination.  My next meeting was not until Thursday and it was a Tuesday morning.  So, what did I do? Well first I stopped and had lunch with the wonderfully talented illustrator, Jacqueline McNally, in Baltimore and then headed diagonally to Scottsville, VA.  It was dead center in my journey from Philly to Greensboro and who happens to live there?! Why, only some of my favorite family members! I was so excited to see them! It had not been quite so long since I have seen them, but it had been TOO long since I was able to spend some quality time with them. I stayed at Amy and Eric’s and I happen to have come in on Uncle Donny’s birthday, where we had YUMMY soup and grilled cheese OH and birthday cake! Carey, Taylor and Dillon were there as well! Later that night Aim and I kicked Tay and Eric’s butts in Wii Bowling and then I got mine handed to me in golf…The next day I had a wonderful day with Carey and a relaxing evening with Aim and Eric.
    Each day was passing so quickly. It was already Thursday morning and I was off to Greensboro where I stayed with a good friend, Dan Clouse!  I had got there just in time to grab some delicious Mexican food and then go to my meeting.  I had a little bit to kill before then and Dan showed me around their Art Building…which, I have to say is GEORGOUS! Then I walked through the Weather Spoon Gallery and headed to my meeting.  Let us just say that I basically walked in and then walked right out.  It was a half an hour long and the professor was pretty much telling me to go somewhere else.  He had failed to mention in the TWENTY e-mails that we sent back and forth that it was a Museum Studies CONCENTRATION in Public History. NO THANK YOU. Although, it would be interesting, it was definitely not what I was looking for. SO, since I had a lot of time to kill and Dan was still teaching, I headed down to the little “main street” and popped my head into a few vintage stores and almost bought some really cool books, but alas, I needed to save my money for gas…I mean I had to get home, right?
    Later that night, Dan and I had dinner at a psychedelic pizza place and headed to a local brewery, where I met a few of his friends. We had a few drinks, some good laughs, but ultimately I was TIRED!  I woke up the next morning and Dan had a full day planned. We went to the studio where he is taking some pottery classes and he gave me a tour of the town.  Later, we went back to the Weather Spoon Gallery to see the featured artist, Leonardo Drew.  If you do not know who this guy is, you NEEEEEEED to check him out!  He is incredible. Absolutely inspiring!  I guess you could say he is like a contemporary Louise Nevelson…kind of.  I was taken a back and fired up more than ever to get back into the studio and work. Just AMAZING.
    My next meeting was not until Monday at ECU, so I stopped again in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Jenny, one of the other artists I showed with, and her boyfriend Matt, just moved down there.  Also, my old roommate Brandon lived there.  I stayed with Matt and Jenny for the weekend and had a really nice time and pretty much fell in love with Raleigh.  It reminded me of Grand Rapids, but a lot bigger. There was more of an art scene and there were plenty of galleries and museums all over the place.  Besides Raleigh is pretty much center to all the other places that I was going to in North Carolina.
    Finally, it was Sunday night and getting to the end of my journey.  One last stop before I drive the fourteen hours back to Michigan.  Luckily, I have friends all over the place, thanks to Blue Lake, and was able to stay with my friend Nathan.  He lived within walking distance to the school.  Even though both him and his roommate gave me directions, I still ended up walking the wrong way and was forty-five minutes late to my meeting. BAH!
    I walked in and immediately felt home.  It was a combination feeling of being back at my old high school and GVSU.  I met with Professor Eagle and he gave me an hour and a half tour of the school! Along the way, he introduced me to faculty and other art students as either a visiting artist or a potential grad student! Ha. Everyone was so supportive and welcoming.  They stopped and asked me a few questions and I even had a ten-minute conversation with the Director of Art Education!  Their facility is quite incredible.  I believe every discipline had a room for undergraduates and another separate room for graduates, and of course all graduates had a studio. 
    After my tour, Scott took me into the metals studio where I met Tim Livine and Bob Ebendorf (unfortunately Linda was just getting back that day from a conference and was unable to meet me).  Tim and Bob welcomed me right away and made me feel at ease.  We sat down and I handed them each a resume and started talking. Luckily I had brought my computer with me because they wanted to see some of my work.  We then proceeded to have about a two-hour critique on my art, my life, and where I saw myself in the future.  Surprisingly, I was completely comfortable talking about my work.  It was a new body of work, so it has not developed all the way, so I was nervous I was not going to be able to get my point across, however, I did it (and quite well, I might add).  Everything was so natural and fluid.  For once in my life, I was able to state exactly what I wanted and how I was going to achieve it. I had not only surprised them in my decisiveness, but myself as well. 
    I told them that this was a new body of work. It was still a baby and definitely needed to be refined. I was not looking to apply until at least the fall of 2011, but I wanted to visit the schools and feel out the areas in which I would be applying. I told them my first instinct was to go for Museum Studies, to be a curator, but through my travels, my idea started to shift.  Museum Studies was not what I wanted. Sure, I wanted to be a curator, but of a gallery, not of a big huge museum. 
    You see I have always wanted to own my own gallery and have a studio attached to it. A studio where I could do my own work, but also teach people how to be metalsmiths and potters.  Not just anybody though. I want my facility to be a place where mentally and physically handicapped people can come and learn these tedious, but relaxing techniques.  I do not want to be the art therapist (that is for my Lynne to do), I want to have the equipment and facility for them to come and learn.  This is why I think it is important to have a background in art. I do want to teach, just not in a traditional classroom. 
    Once I finished, the room was kind of quite for a moment and we continued to talk.  They explained that there is a Gallery Assistantship as well as a type of Gallery Management course.  This would be perfect, I thought to myself.  After everything, Bob showed me a few more things and then dropped me off in the Graduate Metals studio, where I hung out and met some pretty cool people. They were all so nice and inviting.  This is the kind of school I was looking for.  Although my body of work is not ready for this place, I will be quite soon.  I tagged along to a gallery opening where I met the head of the MFA department and the Director of the Gallery I would be doing my assistantship with, if I were to get in and get it. 
    The show was in light of the speaker they had coming that night. I cannot remember his name at the moment, but he wrote Three Cups of Tea.  Apparently this is an upcoming book and I will definitely have to pick this one up! ☺ After we got back from the show, I decided to head back to Nathan’s, freshen up and head over to the gym, where the author of Three Cups of Tea was speaking.  Nathan had a lab that night, so I did not feel bad about it at all! The speaker was amazing and I am so glad I went.  It was a life-changing event and I think I sat in my car for about ten minutes just trying to process what just happened. 
    Yes, this trip is coming to an end; I thank all of you for reading THIS far into it. I still have a few more things to say.  At the end of the Monday, I was just blown away and on cloud nine.  This is destiny calling my name! I now, know what I want to do, but I decided to sleep on it for a week and come down from the amazing life-high. The next morning, I packed up all of my stuff and headed out. It was a long drive and I was NOT going to make it.  SINCE I have friends almost everywhere, I was able to stop in Dayton, Ohio and stay with my super-star, Charis.  It was so great to get to see her, even if it was not that long. I arrived late and left early, but I was able to relax. My trip had basically ended and I no longer had any doubt about my next step. 
    Before I left Dayton, I had one more stop to make.  As many of you know (well only my family, really), my great grandparents are from Dayton and have been buried there.  It has been just over a year since my Great Grandma Haught had passed away and she was one of my biggest supporters (and probably still is), along with my Great Grandpa Haught who passed away when I was eight.  Both of them have made major impacts on my life and even though they were with me on this whole journey, I had to see them and be with them.  I found the Moslem, sat down and talked with them for about a half an hour.  It was a very emotional moment for me.  I know they are finally together, but I miss my grandma a lot.  I am so, incredibly lucky that I was able to have twenty-three years with her, but I still cry every time I think about her. This, visiting with them, was my favorite part of the trip. 
    As I made the final drive of my journey, I was able to really reflect, mostly because my CD play had jammed up an hour and a half into my trip, but because of the rush of a week and a half I just had.  I got home to my mom, brothers and dogs, and took a huge breath and sigh of relief. I now have my plan. Since you have read this far, I believe you won’t mind reading this part, too much…

    MY PLAN: I just got a job at Quiznos Subs for a few months and am still working at the Gardens (just catering) until I leave for Blue Lake (yes, I am going back for a fifth summer! And I could not be more excited).  After Blue Lake, I will be going home to Tecumseh for a few days and then venturing down to North Carolina, where I will stay with my friends Matt and Jenny for a week-ish (hope that’s ok with you two!) and finding a job and a place to live. I will be claiming residency, taking a few classes at a community college to brush up on my writing and art history all the while, creating art and building up my body of work.  Once I feel that my work is adequate enough, I will apply to graduate school at East Carolina University and get accepted (I hope).  It is a highly competitive school, but I am ready for this and I want this more than I have ever wanted anything before.  So, LOOK OUT WORLD, HERE I COME!

                      *Side Note: This will probably be one of the longest updates I will ever have, but  that is just because I  

                       got back from this amazing trip and I wanted to give details and how I arrived at my decision! So stay 
                        tuned for more updates, for I never stay     in one place for too long….*