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Florida, United States
I entered the graphics art field after I found out that the one year of college I suffered through wasn't for me. My first job was at a parade float company in my hometown of Brazil, Indiana...yes, that's right...Brazil. I learned how to build floats, among other things, and had my first lessons in silk screening. It was "rock and a stick" silk screening in those days....no computers, no automated machinery.....everything was done by hand. We had no photographic equipment, so I hand-cut the stencils, adhered them into the silk, and did the runs myself, with the aid of a helper....each one of us on our respective sides of the squeegee. Mostly, we printed banners for centennials, so we had to use a very thick textile ink that wouldn't soak into the material, and took a long time to dry. If we were lucky enough to have a third person, that person would hang the banners we just printed on a round pole that were then stuck in a series of holes that were drilled in a two-by-four that was nailed to the wall. If a third person wasn't available, one of us would have to hang the banners. Ahhh....those were the days..... I moved to Chicago after I had worked for the float company for five years, and found a job at a company that silk screened display backgrounds and embellishments for department store window displays. Again, everything was printed by hand. I was the one and only stencil cutter and cut 4' by 8' stencils that sometimes took several days to finish. A new innovation came into being when transparent inks were introduced. We could print one color over another color and make a third color. We could eliminate several runs and come out with several more colors. This was a very cool thing, although it was very confusing for the stencil cutter....me. We had a lot of very impressive accounts at this company....Nieman Marcus, Macy's, and Marshall Field's, to name a few. It was thrilling to see the work I had participated in being displayed in the windows of these stores. I wish I'd taken pictures of some of the displays, but I didn't have the presence of mind to do that in those days. I had always considered graphic arts a way to earn a living while I was persuing my real dream of entering the entertainment field, so while I worked as a silk screener during the day, I hit the piano bars at night to "sit in" with several of the local piano players around Chicago. I also appeared in several musicals in the local theatre community. There was a buzz in the community that a director from Lexington, Kentucky was looking for someone to star in two productions at a local dinner theatre, so I auditioned and got the parts. This move would change my life forever.... In Lexington, I met a gal who was also in the entertainment business, and we joined together to create a two-girl comedy/singing team. We played clubs all over the United States, and in 1970, wrote and starred in a 7-person revue that played Baltimore, and had the distinction of being the longest-running show in Baltimore history at that time. Our manager came to see the revue, and suggested that we go to Viet Nam to entertain the troops. We did a 2-month tour of the Far East, visiting the Philippines, Okinawa, Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan, and found the experience to be one of the most rewarding of our lives. Most of the troops were just kids, very homesick, and grateful to see American women. It was a very sad situation, especially when we visited the hospitals. The Viet Nam war was not a "popular" one, but all the protestors against the war, should have seen what I saw. Seeing those "kids" who were fighting for us put a face on the war for me. I have, and always will support our troops, no matter what. They're the bravest people I know. God bless our fighting men and women! After I returned from the Far East, my partner and I toured the States again, playing clubs all over the country. When we came off the road for the last time, we both decided we were tired of it, and I went back into the graphic arts field, where I've remained ever since. I was looking for some way to earn a living with computers when I ran across the Zazzle site, and the rest, as they say, is history. I now have eleven Zazzle shops, and I'm loving every minute of it. What better way to earn a living is there than to work out of your home? All you need is a computer and a graphics program, and you're in business. If you're interested, I suggest to look into it. Zazzle has a wonderful community of artists who are some of the most helpful people I've had the pleasure of associating with. I couldn't make it without them. So that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Thanks for stopping by, and browsing School Teacher. If you can't stop by, please wave as you go by. If I see you, I'll definitely wave back.
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