A Transformational Year

A Transformational Year

A Transformational Year

2023 has been an unforgettable year for me, as I sit in my brand-new studio in the homestead township of tranquil Beulah, Michigan. Nestled amidst picturesque stateland and near the breathtaking Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline, this year has marked a significant new chapter in my life. A year of shedding the old, and surrendering to change and growth.

Before, I was living and working in Grand Rapids developing my craft, figuring out my path, who I was, and looking for my life partner. I am now a grateful woman married to the love of my life, ready to start this new life together in a peaceful place, connected to nature and the inspiration for my work. It was a challenging year, but together we overcame the obstacles, worked together, and built our life together with grace. I cannot wait to see what we will be able to do together in the coming years within our relationship and how that will affect our work.
My new studio (construction evidence still outside haha)
This year I was privileged to showcase my art at some of the most esteemed art festivals in the state, including the renowned Ann Arbor Arts Festival alongside my now husband, Ben. My work was featured on the poster for Art Birmingham, and I was also selected for the prestigious Glen Arbor Arts Center Manitou Music Festival Poster, accepted into Lowell Arts West Michigan Art Competition, and honored to be chosen to show work at the DeVos Place for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids in the fall. I was very grateful for my work to be recognized by these art organizations, I felt that these highlighted the end to a 10-year chapter of me creating work in Grand Rapids, as I transformed my life and said yes to change.
Glen Arbor Arts Center Poster Contest Award
West Michigan Art Competition - Lowell Arts!
ArtPrize - DeVos Place

I had been creating work out of my home studio for past 10 years, discovering my path and learning who I was as and artist, with many opportunities and success, while Ben was also discovering the creative spirit within him as well. I have been friends with Ben since 2016, and over the years I witnessed his evolution and growth as a person, and creative. Throughout that time I had been showing my work at fine art festivals around the state by myself, building my art collectors and community while also showing through multiple galleries. He was making his wire wrap necklaces, got into fabrication and engraving while creating custom pieces, and shared his work with people at music festivals, as he refined his craft and vision. Throughout our entire lives, we were on similar paths, and both had a history of music and vocal performance. As adults, we both were on similar spiritual and creative paths and our lives intertwined throughout it. As a past relationship that was not life-bringing for me ended in 2021 the clarity and space for my and Ben's relationship to blossom came into fruition.

This time last year, I was dealing with chronic paint in my hands and arms that lasted for over a year, after being caught up in the relationship that was not meant for me and caused me to store a lot of negative emotions, that needed to be released. I am so thankful to now be free from the pain, and emotionally well. That winter I continued to seek rest, and spiritual healing throughout the winter shedding the old, to make way for new life, and dived into the creation of my work producing some of my strongest paintings, finding deep revelations within life, and reconnecting with my childhood spirit. My river painting, Water of Life, was one of these masterpieces.  I learned to take things at a slower pace and simplify. I used to be very independent and did everything on my own, but was finding how to ask for help and not put too much pressure on myself. The supportive relationship with Ben, transformed the way I was able to go about things in many ways, stepping from my masculine energy, more into the feminine.  At this time I also took a step back from social media to be more present and give space to my soul. This was a very transformational time for both of us, shedding the old, and stepping into the new.

In the spring, on Easter, Ben and I were engaged in the healing Andes Mountains in Ecuador. It was a rebirth for me, spiritually and emotionally.( I often listen to sacred songs from South America while painting) I felt a new life starting, as Randi Ford came to an end, and Randi RipleyFord came into being. After our engagement, everything fell into place, and we found a new home up north, about a mile away from an old barn my dad is giving new life to, by creating a gallery space for us to show work by appointments, a living space for them, and a woodshop. I grew up in a barn house that my dad renovated, so there are connections there.

Throughout the summer we continued showcasing our work at fine art festivals, integrating our booths more cohesively to create an amazing space for people to view our work. When we weren't traveling for shows we were packing up our studios and home to move to the new house.  We got my Grand Rapids home fixed up and ready to be put on the market, while we transitioned to the new home. I first started my studio practice in 2014 at this home while renting to friends over the years. We planned our small wedding during this time, which turned out beautifully and took place in August with our closest family and friends. Throughout August and September, we went back and forth to move everything, while coordinating this with the showing of my piece for ArtPrize, Perfect Creation. This was the first painting I created in our new home before setting up my studio.
Ben's beautiful natural tanzanite ring he made for me with engraving on it. So filled with life!
Our wedding day
My home in Grand Rapids that I have been working out of for the past 9 years.

Since we moved and sold my Grand Rapids home, we've been working tirelessly to transform our Swiss chalet, removing hidden mold, laying floors, painting, and building our studios, while also helping my father transform the barn. With Ben's experience working for his dad in the past doing construction, and my experience working on home construction projects, we were able to work together to take care of things. We transformed the basement space into my studio, while Ben built a room for his studio in the garage. Luckily with all this hard work, we were still able to have outdoor adventures, kayaking, biking, and hiking at our new home.

Swiss Chalet in Beulah - Ben and his dad working on the house.
Lunch break after installing the upstairs flooring.
My studio space before we transformed it.
My new studio space ready for painting.
Removed the chimney because it was not properly built and had a continuous leek that caused a moldy wall. Now we have a window!
The cobbled-up barn my dad purchased to transform. His new retirement project. He loves projects.
Us helping at the barn.
The future gallery space for appointment showings. He has done an amazing job deconstructing the barn and rebuilding it up. With the help of my cousin, and us when we were able. The Ford's are a family of builders and designers. 

At the end of the year, we connected with the local community at two art events, that went very well. Afterwards, we kept catching sicknesses, and spent a lot of time on the couch sleeping, as we put together the finishing touches to get ready for the new year. We surely did need rest before the start of 2024, so we were thankful for that. We are glad to have overcome challenges to make us stronger and build our new life together. The area we are in, our living space and studios reflect our spirits, and we feel at home. I grew up in a small farm town in the woods, as well as in a barn house my dad renovated, and so this all feels like home to me in ways the city of Grand Rapids never did.

Now that we are settled, we are excited about the opportunity to create work that inspires and brings beauty to others' lives in 2024, channeling the peace, nature and spirit we are in tune with here. I am so happy to be able to go down the road and find inspiration to paint, and to be able to easily access Lake Michigan to create stunning sunset paintings for you, and excited to see how living here will affect my work.

2023 will always hold a special place in my heart, as it marked the beginning of a new journey filled with love, creativity, and building a new life and family. As I sit in my new studio, surrounded by nature's beauty, and a quiet space, I am filled with a sense of gratitude and contentment, knowing that I am exactly where I am meant to be.

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