This week Caroline Sanchez shares her story of an inspiring mentor:
While raising my daughters in the 1960's and 1970's, I painted, stripped, stained, and varnished old furniture. My favorite challenge was taking discarded pieces of furniture and redoing them. I refurbished a dated dining room set by removing the center legs, painting and antiquing them, and upholstering the chairs. When my friends visit my home, they often comment on the unusual collection of furnishings and accessories I have, most of them one-of-a-kind. I explain that I made or refinished them all myself, thanks to my years of study with Ralph Siegle, my favorite adult education teacher. Mr. Seigle taught me how to gold-leaf a table to look like one I had seen in a museum. He showed me how to make a picture frame, cover it with lace, and then antique it. With his inspiration, I refinished my great-grandmother's discarded Lincoln bed, made a bedspread, lined drapes, padded a cornice, made pillows and covered a matching chair.
|Examples of Caroline's work|
Ralph Seigle, a retired teacher from the California College of Arts and Crafts, led me through class after class. During ten years of study, I learned about still life and landscape painting, interior design, art history, color theory, personal color, and even millinery. Mr. Seigle not only aroused my interest in creative projects, he encouraged me to tackle almost any challenge -- from something as simple as silver leafing a large glass water bottle to creating a jardiniere to painting a mural on our bedroom wall. He taught me how to refinish, stain, antique, guild, marbleize, and crackle finishes. I learned to gold-leaf furniture, to mat pictures, and to refinish frames. Mr. Seigle's motto was
"If you don't like it, change it."
Before becoming a college professor, Mr. Seigle worked for Walt Disney, designed costumes for stars such as Joan Crawford at Universal, entertained with marionettes, and played piano at the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair. His paintings were exhibited in the U.S. and in Europe. On the side, he designed fabrics, wall coverings, and Christmas cards.
Thanks to my hands-on training with Ralph Siegle, I not only beautified my home, I went on to teach art and arts and crafts in our local high school. My mentor, Mr. Seigle, served as an inspiring teacher, role model and friend.
Thank you, Caroline, for submitting your story to Postcards in the Air.
We can all use Mr. Seigle's motto in everything we do.
"If You Don't Like It, Change It"