Lorrin Wagner is a self-taught jack of all trades. Using her “Google degree,” she has developed a skillset that would put even the most versatile creators on their toes and is literally creating the future she dreams for her family.
Failure is merely a path to learning, according to Lorrin Wagner, a Plant City resident that has become a jack of all trades thanks to her inquisitive spirit.
The journey began when Wagner and her family moved to Plant City and found themselves with a large property for the first time. Eyeing a tree in the back yard, she decided it would be the perfect location for the quintessential tree house for her two sons. At this point, most homeowners would turn to a professional and hire someone to bring their dream to life. Not Wagner.
Using her “Google degree” and advice from building experts, she painstakingly worked in the back yard and eventually created the spitting image of her vision. The sense of accomplishment and glee that filled her upon its completion sparked a flame in her soul.
Wagner was a maker, and she was just getting started.
“It was just so much fun that I ended up thinking, ‘I wonder what else I can do?’” Wagner said. “I ended up with a pop-up camper that I found on sale on Craigslist. I stripped it down to the frame and then rebuilt it from the ground up. Everything you see on it, I built by hand. It’s now a Romanian Vardo-style caravan.”
Wagner and her husband own Wagner Events, a company that specializes in face painting, balloon twisting, henna and more. They are frequent stars at birthday parties, grand openings, festivals, corporate events and other festive celebrations and are one of the few companies in the area that offer henna by appointments. You can learn more at wagnerevents.com.
The love of art has been in her blood for as long as she can remember and while she often heard from family and friends that one “can’t make a living as an artist,” she never truly gave up her bohemian spirit. She and her husband Jeff travel all over with their business and are teaching their children the value of living a life in search of happiness.
“I guess my philosophy would be to just do what makes you happy,” Wagner said. “There’s so much more to life than just money. Do what makes you genuinely happy and be sure to give back to the community. Share the joy you have with others. Make this world a better place, even if it’s in a little way.”
As Wagner began the process of learning how to build a caravan, she said she had to learn to pair her hyper focus on the project with firm doses of reality. She knew the importance of being self-taught and happily wandered down any rabbit trail of knowledge she could find regarding the skills needed to bring her project to life. She learned woodworking. She learned to weld. She learned about insulation and carpentry. She mastered ancient practices and new techniques.
All of her successes came with their fair share of failures, but she never gave up. While she admits there were moments her frustration was through the roof as she had to redo a section of the project over and over again until she finally mastered the skill, she was determined to finish what she started.
She already had a strong artistic background, so some of the steps were second nature. Many, however, were entirely new. But she never hesitated to give it a try.
The trick was to look at the entire project in baby steps, she said. Start with one tiny aspect and give it a go. Slowly it will grow and, before you know it, you’re building a roof for your caravan with your bare hands.
Her sons are homeschooled and Wagner said the plan is to soon travel the country with their business, pulling the caravan behind an RV, which she is in the process of building from a stripped frame as well. It’s a unique family dynamic and she said they’ve created a bond she cherishes. The entire family is active in Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol, and she said they go bowling and do a board game night once a week. She and her husband are passing on their adventurous spirits to their children, and she said she’s loved watching how they explore and interact with the world around them.
While working on the RV, Wagner said she began to soak in how much she’s learned over the past year. Now she’s at the phase on the caravan where she’s adding final murals and soft touches to finish its unique aesthetic. The RV is in its beginning stage, but she said she’s already finding aspects of the build so much easier now that she’s entering her second project.
Wagner and her husband will be at That Art Festival in St. Petersburg next weekend. The caravan is designed to offer henna inside and another activity, like airbrush tattoos or balloon twisting outside. The caravan will be on display as their booth at the art show.
“Whatever you want to do, you can do,” Wagner said. “There’s nothing you can’t learn if you put your mind to it and don’t quit. You learn from your mistakes and you’re better off for them. Through this process, I have learned so much and I’ve acquired such a vast skillset. Really, now I can fix almost everything. It’s so empowering to know that I can really do this, I can fix this, I can make this. It’s not easy to learn something new, but if you’re a go-getter, I promise you can accomplish anything.”