Piecing her life together
HEIDI Orchard did not like school because she preferred practical tasks. ‘‘I don’t like theory and I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was at school,’’ the 28-year-old apprentice tiler says.
Orchard worked in retail for a few years before a trip to Queensland changed her life.
‘‘I saw a leadlight lamp and loved it. I didn’t even know what it (leadlighting) was called but I knew I wanted to learn how to do it,’’ she explains.
After doing a stained-glass course ‘‘just for fun’’, Orchard returned to Melbourne and began an apprenticeship in stained glass, which included studying at Holmesglen Institute of TAFE.
The course touched on mosaics, which ignited another interest.
‘‘I really enjoyed it. So I took it further and sold my work at St Kilda market and ran classes in community centres,’’ she says.
Unfortunately for Orchard, at that time she had an employer who did not give her any opportunities to apply her knowledge.
‘‘The only time I worked with stained glass was at Holmesglen so I left after 18 months,’’ she says.
But with her passion for the craft intact, Orchard continued to attend classes. When people began asking her to do jobs such as glass splashbacks, she decided learning tiling would be her next step.
After completing a six-month testing period with Walkers Tiling, Orchard began an apprenticeship with the company in April 2006.
She completed the Certificate II in Wall and Floor Tiling last year and will finish the apprenticeship in 2010.
Again she is happy with the tuition she receives at Holmesglen.
‘‘All the teachers are very helpful,’’ she says. ‘‘And it’s all handson, which I like.’’
Mosaic to the ears:
tiler Heidi Orchard has furthered her skills at Holmesglen Institute of TAFE.