May 6, 2009
Once upon a time I was an aircraft mechanic....
A challenge is being passed along in the Blogs from Katiesclaycorner.blogspot.com to tell all about the jobs we have had over the years. Hey isn’t that resume writing? Here is my bedtime read for you today......zzzzz
One early job was right after high school, I worked for a veterinarian doing things like cleaning kennels, feeding and washing dogs and even a little bit of assistance in the exam and operating room. Then a sales job after my freshman year in college that I enjoyed where I earned enough money to run away from home in Texas and move to Seattle. In Seattle I got a boring secretarial job for few months until something fun turned up, architectural drafting. That job paid my way to move to Anchorage, Alaska doing something that helps when designing dollhouses. I was let go when the bosses son got his girlfriend pregnant and he needed his old job back. Back to retail work and college for the next few years as well as becoming a new mom.
All along during this time I was creating fiber and textile art. I made custom clothing, did embroidery and crochet, learned weaving and of course did tie-dye. I also volunteered doing sets and costuming for local theaters and I was chairperson for my local community school where I taught textile arts.
I left Alaska when I divorced my son's father and moved back to Seattle. Being a single Mom I took the best paying job I could find. I became an aircraft mechanic at Boeing. Over the 15 or so years I spent there I learned all kinds of technical things and used many different tools to make and assemble all kinds of things for the airplanes. One of my favorite jobs there was working on that full scale model airplane you see in the photo above. Yes I am the person in the foreground of the photo. One ever useful bit of extra curricular education I began to learn in the late 1980's at Boeing was designing in 3D CAD programs.
I left Boeing in the early 1990's due to health problems. I decided to take some of my savings and set up a woodworking shop in an unfinished room in our home and then started creating miniature buildings. My husband at that time was an architectural illustrator so I spent time in our own illustration business along with some model making. He was the primary illustrator but I also did hands on work on projects including the one shown here. But truthfully I can't draw all that good mostly because I rarely do it. Being really good at drawing takes lots of practice and putting in time at it and I just have not caught the bug where I feel I want to devote the time to it. I do stuff the picky color details. Skill I developed with this work that is still useful is how to use photoshop.
A lot of my time used to be taken up with working on real life houses until the crash of the housing market which also coincided with my back getting so bad I could no longer do very much of the bending, lifting and working off tall ladders stuff. But boy have I learned a lot about houses over the years and could easily host one of those curb appeal and fix it up for sale shows. I am a house wizard, I can look at a place and know what it needs to make it a hot commodity. That understanding of creating emotional appeal is very important for designing miniatures. Plus I also know how buildings are put together and all the bits and pieces needed.
A decade ago I went back to college and took more courses in computer technology and engineering technology including more engineering drafting. I also learned how to build computers, write basic programs, to network computers as well as troubleshoot hardware and software issues. My primary job at the moment is full time student studying CNC machining. I also create miniatures and do some 3D CAD work. When not in school I subcontract my time in CAD drafting, prototype model making, teach occasional classes in building miniatures and work on call as needed for long time clients. However I would like to find a great full time job with good benefits. People think artist must hate working in industry but I love the technical side of what I do, it keeps my brain alive. Update: I retired from working for other companies when I turned 62 as my progressive spine issues no longer allowed long periods of sitting and standing. I also quite taking commissions for making miniatures as my health makes it difficult to meet deadline schedules. I like taking classes but the chairs in schools are so bad for my back that I finally quit going to courses.
I don’t know what the future will bring along but it is bound to be a new learning experience and that suits me just fine. Whatever it turns out to be I suspect like many skills I have learned I will end up using them making miniatures. My newest venture is becoming a paper architect using the laser cutter and vinyl cutters for intricate cuts on tiny buildings that are only a few inches tall at the most. Everything I have learned along the way somehow ends up being relevant to the making of miniatures.