I drove home this morning and I'm still walking on air after three days of intensive instruction from Tim Holtz, Dyan Reaveley, Claudine Hellmuth, and Mackie Mullane. Ranger U was amazing… we learned 90 techniques over the three day course.
On Friday (Day One) we started out with a tour of the Ranger factory. Right here in the good old USA they manufacture all the wonderful products we crafters love… distress inks, stains, paints, perfect pearls, etc. I learned so much about the production process, and how many individual people handle a given product as it goes from raw materials to the recognizable products that are stacked up on my work table.
Ranger is family-owned and employs over 80 people in New Jersey. Mario took this great shot of us in the factory:
There were 24 students from 10 countries. Someone said yesterday a roomful of strangers is just a group of friends waiting to be met. I've heard about the close friendships that form at Ranger U, and I'm a believer. You're in such an intense and creative situation, and you're with people who feel the same way… it's exhilarating.
And here Key and Miyake, my new friends from Korea, show theirs:
I learned so many more ways to use the Melting Pot than I ever have before… can't wait to get going on that!
We made several pieces of jewelry using Ranger products to color Vintaj metals:
We all had fun with that (I even managed to use two pair of pliers simultaneously, which was quite a feat):
Annette Green was loving this part:
Ellen managed her Melting Pot in a more traditional way than Jim did. That's all I can say about that.
We ended our first day that evening with 30 techniques down, 60 to go!
Then we gathered back in the factory for a barbecue complete with Jersey dogs, burgers, salads, etc. All delicious and what a great way to end the first day getting to know everyone a bit more in such a relaxing atmosphere. Alain & Justin's wives and children came (the families in the family-owned), and the kids rode skateboards through the warehouse. A couple of ‘big kids' joined in, too.
Here's my new buddy Silvia Santoyo from Madrid. She is absolutely lovely, and we all appreciated the fans she brought to share on this Melting Pot day (imagine the heat from all those pots, all the Heat It tools, and just all those women!):
And you might recognize this redhead from the U.K. who Annette and I were chatting up at dinner time:
Dyan Reaveley is a hoot! And rumor has it she's designing some incredible new releases… she'd only tease, so I have no inside scoop, but I'm fairly confident they will be fabulous. Best be careful with her… she'll give you that nice smiling photo above and then before you know it, this one's been shot as well:
And you know I can't blog a Ranger U post without a picture of this guy:
Talk about creatively inspiring! Tim shared so many techniques and tips and was entirely welcoming and generous in every imaginable way.
More pics to come for Days 2 and 3… seemed like waaaaay too much to squeeze into one post.
Thanks so much for the visit!