Often I am asked which collages were my favorites to design. Here are a few that stand out:
In our earlier years, Helen and I had an order to design a custom collage for Bruce McNall, former owner of the LA Kings. One of the items given to us to incorporate into the collage was an autographed hockey stick by the team. At that time, Bruce had recently acquired Wayne Gretsky. It was one of our first custom collages and incorporating that hockey stick was an interesting task. Bruce had other interests, i.e., owner of a coin and antiquities business, racehorses, and dabbled in the movie industry. For the latter, we added a large movie reel.
It also opened the door to our getting the next major order. Maria Shriver was interviewing Bruce for her tv show and saw the collage in his office. Her husband Arnold Schwarzenegger’s birthday was approaching and thought giving him something personal and unique would be a great gift. The collage had so many interesting 3D items on it. My all time favorite 3D item to include was a cigarette lighter from Camp David. We even included 10 lb. barbells representing his bodybuilding lifestyle. Other items included sunglasses worn in “Twins”, surfing shorts and a white Volkswagen beetle, which is what Arnold drove in the early days (I had to commission a miniature car kit hobbyist to build it because I was unable to find one). Pictures of a young Arnold, his family and even his meeting the Pope contributed to relieving his many accomplishments and memories. Years later, Maria provided me with Arnold’s campaigning memorabilia, and that collage hung in his office when he was governor of California.
My all time favorite client who has ordered many family and vacation photo collages through the years asked me to create an LA Lakers collage for her home. This die-hard Lakers’ fans family is very connected with the team and franchise and knows them personally. Pictures of the family sitting at the court-side seats at the games, talking and posing with team members were now displayed to relive their Lakers memories all the time. For a special project, she sent me a chef’s jacket of one of her husband’s favorite restaurants and wanted a unique way to present it to him as a birthday present. Instead of placing it under a shadow box, I designed it full length, using our resin coating, and incorporating various 3D artificial sushi pieces, restaurant matchbox, chopsticks, etc. The greatest joy was hearing that her husband enjoyed the gift immensely.
Besides the famous and notoriety collages, there are two collages that I remember most. One was a photo collage of a 7 year old girl who succumbed to cancer. It was the hardest collage for me to design, based on its very nature. On a lighter note, we had a double collage order for two sisters who were married a week apart and celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries (these days, being married 50 years is a feat onto itself, let alone two in the same family in the same week!). And the avid skier who traveled around the world skiing and wanted to display pictures of his travels (the collage included ski poles, gloves and goggles)…how fun was that?
But for me, each collage designed is as unique and as special as the next one!
Wishing you a day filled with wonderful memories, Miriam
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