I'll get to a bit of Paris in a moment, I need to give you the background first. I traveled to Austin for a week with my professional friends, and we immersed ourselves in professional development, readying ourselves for the big show, and then I actually participated as a student, then helped to run a room of hair styling for the students. My segment of the "big show" was to be inspired by Paris in the 20's. There were four of us from the National Team in this segment. The rest of the photos are behind the scenes.
Storyboards are always a great way to start the creative process when planning a fashion or hair photo shoot, and talk about a salon team building experience! Recently, at Keter Salon, where I am coordinating their 2nd photo shoot, everybody presented their boards, and spoke of what is inspiring them. When the last person finished, there were nine boards. Beautiful!
After a year of letting my natural color show, I decided to color my hair. Mostly, themetamorphosis came about because of the count down to NAHA. We used powder lightener with 20 vol, and level 4 Luo color with 25Vol as a base, then toned with P01-P02, creating a bit more drama.
I thought, "Hm, I am going to be surrounded with my peers, and the idea of showing some creativity on my own head felt right. The extreme is always so invigorating. I tell myself, "Just as long as you work that out on your head, rather than in your life."
Sometimes I look at myself, and think it looks great. Or, "too dark against your aging skin." I'll say. Does it look to severe? My clients remarked, "You look less tired," as if my own questions lined my forehead.
Overall, I feel it is a nice change. Color feels like a fresh start. And this new be- ginning seems to be popping up in a lot of areas of my life, like the green of Spring emerging from the tilled soil.
And now, the maintenance begins. I already feel like I need a toner.
However, the expectations of women are at an all time high. More on that later.
Just got back from Las Vegas. I attended the NAHA awards ceremony at Mandalay Bay. I saw beautiful images of hair by some of the greats in the industry, like Vivienne Mackinder, Lucie Doughty, and Maureen Anlauf.
I felt inspired by these hair artists who are driven to execute their work to the level at which they do, and who then want to pass on their knowledge to those who are hungry to know. I would love nothing more than to take a walk with a few of them, and hear about their creative process, see what they notice in their surroundings, what do their dreams reveal about their work.
I sat in the audience, sometimes sad that there were not a more enthusiastic applause for the hard work, and hours of combing, teasing, and polishing hair that these stylists have spent on their creations.
And yet, the number of students present left me remembering the early days of my career, and wanting to be at every hair show possible. They couldn't have chosen a more high caliber event on the West Coast.
I just found some photos, from November of last year. A few of us from Keter Salon went down to LA for Sassoon's 2009 Fall Collection Release.
Very Inspirational to say the least.
Like I said, masters of any trade, make it look effortless, but the actual skill level takes years to develop. I love the texture and the soft colors on some of the blonde models. Of course, the execution by this team is nothing less than phenomenal
Kiki, who comes from a family of stylists, and worked as a platform artist, is not only a master at exectuting an idea, but in teaching the idea.
I'm whipping through, my hands moving way to fast, and there she is, smoothing, refining, slowly, precisely placing the hair in place.
I have not been able to stop since then. This driving force inside me to learn how to build hair is unrelenting. And now, I have it in my head to compete in the NAHA awards.
This is what I came up with that day. The beginning of using hair pieces.
In order to celebrate the election of President Barack Obama, we thought what better waythan to express it through nonconformity in a fashion show.
Girl Talk Band set the tone for the evening, and gave generously by playing melodic blues, latin, world jazz. We were quite fortunate to have Angie Coiro MC our show, also giving her time for the cause. She added flare, fun, humor and a feeling of generosity. Denise Pate of Destiny Arts gave a brief introduction to the great work the organization offers in the Oakland schools. To find out more about the great work Destiny Arts offers, check out www.destinyarts.org.
Our sixteen models represented our coummunity; women of all ages, backgrounds, and body type. The show felt global as the first models walked to the chant from the Nicherin Daishonin Buddhism out of Japan, wearing masks that we had made, shedding them as they left the room. They then sashayed to Gypsy Jazz.
What I enjoyed most about this event was the gathering of creative people. In the salon that day, there was a feeling of excitement and love of our craft, not to mention pure creativity as the stylsits, and owner of Keter Salon came together to contribute to something larger than the everyday at the salon.
Our stepping out to the community was met with the community coming to us...130 people filled the space, standing room only. At the end of the day, we raised some money, Giselle Shepatin gave generously as well. She sold clothing before and after the event, and donated a percentage of her sales to the cause. She also offered beautiful, handmade scarves as gifts for the raffle.
I want to thank some of the Fourth Street merchants in Berkeley, CA, and the people listed for their donations: The Nail Lounge GirlTalkBand - www.girltalkband.com Angie Coiro Peet's Tea & Coffee Bette's Diner George's Bare Minerals The Vivarium Patrick Gilligan Lori Cheung - www.theportraitphotographer.com Marcia Walden Skin Care Dee Conway - Photography Earl Crabb - www.humbeadenterprises.com Cordelia DeVere - www.renegadeart.com Molly B Clothing Store Castle in the Air Scarlett Garcia Cafe M Another Planet Simma Leiberman Dana Argenzana Stacy Appel
I think of all the thousands of heads of hair I have cut in my career, and all the hair left behind, and the clients who, walk out the door with a bit more bounce in their step. I think of all the things I could do with the millions of strands that fall to the ground. I imagine how heavy that pile would it have accumulated into one massive hair ball, or creating walls, tunnels, out the door and onto the street. I could stand the piles up, side by side, the difference in textures, and colors would be as disparaging as the clients who have sat in my chair. Some piles would be 1/2 inch by 1'', some would me 5" deep, depending on the client. If I could flatten out the piles, I could make squares, like a quilt, connecting their lives. I could create a time line with the squares from when I began, til' now, building a path laid out into infinity. If I could stack the flattened squares, I would stand on top and feel how tall these clients have helped to make me feel. If that quilt of hair could float, it would surely buoy me a long ways out on a turbulent ocean, and keep me safe. If these piles could tell the stories of the clients that leave the salon, carrying on in their day, and into their lives, as a new person, in their new look, it would be a very interesting story. If I could jumble the pile up, mixing, tossing, like a summer vegetable salad, I would have a very colorful, unique, wondrous, and very deep mix of personalities, experiences and preferences.
Miss Cordelia DeVere, as generous as always, brought me a cappuccino before we began to the all-too-fun task of creating a new color for her. The window was open at my new station, the summer fog had lifted allowing the sun to light up the greenery out my window, the breeze a nice welcome in the heat of the afternoon. She exclaimed joy at my short hair, and congratulated me on my new spot in the salon. Inspiration percolated inside of me, as she spoke about wanting her hair richer, deeper in color to allow for the fadage. As I conjured up her color combination, level 4, with some red violet, with some accents no doubt. I applied slices of lightener with 9% developer. We talked about what other artists are sculpting, painting, and her staging. We talked about her thoughts on color.
It's always a pleasure to create for Cordelia. The accent colors were candy apple with a couple of squirts of pimpin' purple, and some orange.
She called a couple of days later, and said, "I just wanted to let you know, I love my #@*#%& hair!"
Here are some other Cordelia works of art.
"So, what do you love about your hair? What don't you like about it? And when did you last get your haircut?" I asked to begin the consultation with Leslie, a new client. Through Squaw Valley Writer's Conference in "07, I met a group of women writer's from the Bay Area. Some of us have remained in contact, some have read at the readings I've held at the salon, and a few have even become clients. One of the writer's that I had become a client, referred her friend Leslie. Her curly hair was lovely, and way over due for a cut. The longest layer on top reached to about her chin, sagging her beautiful face down "I'm one of those annoying clients, who wants to keep some length, but feel it's too heavy up here," she replied, pulling at her hair on top. "I just got it cut six weeks ago. That isn't very long is it?"
"No, it isn't, not for curly hair."
"I feel like always leave with the same haircut."
"What attitude do you want your hair to have?"
"Ooh, that is a good question. I've never been asked that. Hmm. Well, what do you think I have?"
"Yeah, I feel like I look like a hippie, but without the hippie."
"Do you want to move into something a little more edgy?"
"What does that mean?"
"Edgy means to me a stronger shape."
"What does that look like?"
"Okay well, let me get my hands in here. I think if you brought the length up to shoulder length, then took this hair away from your face a bit, slightly off center, then layered out this top, we'd be getting somewhere. I want to round out it out, so that you don't have a pyramid shape, and I'll do some dry cutting."
"Sounds, good. Yeah, I've had the $30,000 pyramid quite often."
"You are funny."
"Well, you come up with all kinds of names when you've had this kind of hair for a long time."
She removed her glasses, which was as slight discomfort, because she could not say anything. And so we cut, and cut and cut. I asked at one point I asked if she would like to put the glasses back on. No, she said, she was enjoying not seeing. Then product instruction, then I twisted the hair and diffused. Her hair looked fabulous. Bouncy, full, sassy.
I unwrapped her, she reached for her glasses, and as we spun the chair around, she exclaimed, "Oh wow. I love it." She remained in the chair a bit, wanting to take in her image a bit. We laughed about her looking for reflective surfaces to gaze in, on her way home. We agreed it was a transformation.
What part of colouring hair is intuitive, and what is years of practice? As I worked with a new assistant yesterday, she said she used to work with Logics haircolor, and where she worked before, they couldn't look at a color chart. They learned by knowing the boxes of color, the color level and tone. As we talked, I realized I trained myself in haircolor, and that has it's pluses and minuses, right? Knowing levels and tones of haircolor without a chart is a definite must, because it is about training the eye to see color. Some stylists have this gift, this natural ability. Since I did train myself, and with practice, it is intuitive, and knowing what level and tone is second nature. And, I still refer to a chart to get a visual strongly placed in my head, and it happens within minutes.
We are playing with Dia haircolor now. I like it. The range of tones, flexibility, and shine is wonderful. The other day, I saw a new client for a weave and haircut. I liked her, she seemed to respond to my ideas, and our communication felt on track and we articulated a plan. She had a natural level 5, and she was heavily highlighted. We decided to not go that light. So I highlighted her hair with slices of Blondor and 9%. Then I went back through with a thin slice of light brown, with a bit of copper, and a bit of gold. I like that you can add a squirt of this and a squirt of that. I thought, after I shook the formula in the jar that maybe I needed to add more gold or natural to the formula, but I didn't. but I did at a toner for the blonde of Richesse 9.3, which undid the shine, I am sure. Next time, I would see what the Dia equivalent would be.
The color was beautiful, definite coppery lowlights, but not brassy. The overall look had a zing to it. I loved it, and she was happy. The finesse of color formulating is to see what the gut says, and listen, or to follow through with what you worked up, and take a risk. To me being a great colorist is not perfect formulation, but knowing how to get back when you've gone too far. Some of it is intuition and some of it is practice.
When Jeanne first walked into the salon to meet me for an update on how her hair growing process is going, she was dressed in her gray uniform from work, with her hair in a Twistie. I told her I would be right with her. As I finished up the short, sassy haircut on my last client of the day, I could see Jeanne's eyes peeking over the half-wall the cutting floor from the waiting area. Then, within minutes she was purring, barking, lusting after my client's short hair. Her cries of desire left me with the feeling that the "grow out" as a stance against the war was waning. After I grabbed my bag, we head out into the sunlight, I could feel my skin, and all sensory neurons waking up, after a long day of being inside. We embraced, I could feel the missing her right in the center of my chest. As we ordered tea, and sat outside in front of Betty's Diner in Berkeley, CA, we got to the hair topic right away. Basically, she is having a hard time with it. She is a short hair kind of woman, long hair doesn't feel comfortable, or like an expression of herself. Even more poignant of an action then, don't you think?
We talked about art, and we agreed we need to keep the art going. But do we need to let the world know about our art? She doesn't think so. It's kind of like painting in back of the cave. Paint because you have to, and for nobody else to see. Somebody else will come paint over your work. It's about the process, not the result. Art for money? That's a whole other conversation. However, there are times we feel more private with our creativity, and sometimes we feel we need to let others in. We agreed we thought many more people would be functioning adults, had they had their voice come out through something they had created.
By the end of our conversation, Jeanne was thinking, maybe she just needed a slight trim to give it some shape as her hair continued to grow. I agreed. I said that is not a haircut, and you wouldn't be defeating the process. Was it a plea for her hair, or about our connection. She might be moving, and that would sadden me. Maybe it saddened her as well.
We never did talk about the war. It's almost impossible to let my heart fathom what has gone on in Iraq, and what continues to go on. Not to mention what may be happening soon in Iran. My own nephew joined the Coast Guard a month ago. In his eyes, it was the only hope for a desperate young man, needing to feel worthy.
Over a bottle of Chardonnay and a seafood platter at the Martini Oyster Bar in Sonoma, three of us couples talked about everything. We laughed so much my cheeks hurt, and my eyes watered. One couple are a husband and wife team that are clients of mine. I commented on the fact that Joanie is a dream client. She is a client of Julie Schindler's as well, she knew exactly what I meant. Julie is a wonderful fashion designer and designs most of what Joanie wears. They have known each other for a long time now. And what we love about Joanie is her ability to trust in, and pull forth the best work of those who provide a service for her. She loves to turn it over. When I pull of the cutting cape and she goes to the dressing room to change, I wait to see the finished look. She walks out looking stunning every time. Why? Because she dresses, and her hair always looks good. There are people whom I have never seen dressed in their best, and yet they may wear great hair. But then, some dress well, but never make changes with their hair. We all agreed that the hair can undo it all, the hair is the crown and glory. It must come down to fear. Fear of looking good, fear of not looking good, fear of change, fear of attention. I know women who can spend thousands of dollars on a wardrobe, per season, who refuse to dress when they come into the salon. They wear sweat pants, and Ughs. But not Joanie! She is confident in who she is, she doesn't need approval from anybody... but she receives more postive feedback where ever she goes. When she walks into a room, people look, because everything is congruent.
Every designer I know works very hard, and deals with quite a bit of stress, every designer needs to find what they love in what they do, and not waste time doing all the other stuff. Julie loves designing for Joanie because she is appreciated, and Joanie wears her clothes with ease.
Julie's designs are fabulous! Classic with a twist; beautiful fabrics, lined slacks, interesting shapes, detailed finishing. Julie has class, and provides quality fashion, for a modest price. She unfortunately doesn't have a website yet. The success of her business manifested through word of mouth.
I wished I would have brought my camera with me.
We had the clothes, shoes and jewelry, location, and a wonderful model. Everything went as planned. Racheal arrived on time, and we met up with Dee as scheduled. Then the fog cleared, giving us some sun highlight in all the right places. We decided to go with two looks, complete with dress, lipstick, and hair changes. I even needed to let go of the updo concept I had prepared, because what was happening with the hair in the moment was lovely. Shooting with Dee Conway was the most pleasurable experience I've had doing hair and make up on location. She has an amazing eye, she is flexible, she goes for what she wants with a light hand. She is creative with her direction, spontaneous, and unafraid to say what she is loving. She could have walked off into the sunset with Racheal, clicking away. I should have let her go down into the meadow. Buy by then, Racheal was getting cold, we had shot for three hours, and I knew we had captured some beautiful images.
Some things are worth doing, just to do it. This shoot brought me so much pleasure, it was truly satisfying. The vision of Racheal, in the woods, looking exquisitly beautiful made me teary eyed, and grateful for the opportunity to create beauty.
For more about Dee, photographer extraordinaire. www.deeconway.com
Thank you Dee, Racheal, and Cari!
Once in awhile you meet someone who reminds you that there is such a thing as past lives lived, and maybe you come back together to continue the dialogue. I had met Laura in the salon I worked at in downtown Oakland for 14 years. She was a long time client of Joni's. Laura is an artist, and we all had met working for the Personal Style Counselors, or PSC, in Oakland back in the 80's. Laura would select color palettes for our clients. After a client received their "harmonies", they would walk down the stairs to our salon, Kay's Collective, to have their hair done by the likes of Joni, myself and fourteen other stylists. All this to say that Laura and I knew of each other, and then, eight years ago, she sat in my chair. This is when we began to explore our connection.
Laura is an artist who truly sees color, and has a deep respect for the canvas, the paint, and her relationship to the craft. Her paintings capture a light essence, and yet her technique shows the depth of her understanding of the medium. Her paintings delight me with her use of color, they are magical and inspirational, and yet I feel if I let myself gaze longer I can enter into the painting, and go many places. After the birth of my daughter, I decided to take a painting class with her, and loved every minute of it. I met Delfina Piretti there, and other delightful women. And so, in our exploration, we not only share PSC in the past, but now the desire to create beauty.
She not only is a wonderful artist, but a beauty, on the inside and out. She works in the are of Transofrmative Arts. She coaches, she speaks, as well as creates her own art. Her list of accomplishments go on to astound me. She has a great ability to drop down into pithy conversation, and on the other hand, we can laugh, and do. As time goes on, we realize more and more, and appreciate the fact that, indeed, we have known each other a long time. I have tremendous respect for Laura for many reasons, one of which is how she is determined to live a life that contributes to those around her.
To find out more about how talented, and how much this woman offers up to the world, check out her new website www.whitebirdrising.com
Thank you Laura, I look forward to discovering, and remembering our dear connection and how this thread will weave our lives together.
I stand in the very three foot area that my favorite hairstylist has performed her craft for years. It's as if I stand in her own personal museum. Not because there are artifacts of hers hanging around me, or relics of her hair do's that line the wall behind me. I feel as though her energy surrounds me, encourages me, reminds me of the creativity that abounds. I just need to tap in to the resevoir that has lived here long before I have arrived. And, I believe she will haunt us to be kind to each other, to draw upon each others strengths, and let the small stuff fade away. It will be interesting to see how the energy shifts however, how the group of stylists reconfigure around her not being there, and being with what is. Who and what will fill the space. She doesn't leave town till next week. So, we will go have breakfast at one of my favorite places, La Note in Berkeley, and then go to SFMOMA to visit the Freida Kahlo exhibit. Two weeks ago we visited the Annie Leibowitz exhibit at the Veteran's Memorial. I was so impressed with the vulnerability I experienced in viewing her work. My only regret is that we didn't explore our relationship outside of the salon before this. I will cherish every moment as we take in the art, talk and share time with one another.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I'm busying myself not only with writing one of the most challenging stories of the book project so far, but I'm preparing for another editorial shoot on Sunday. I called Savanna yesterday in search of size 10 heels. Dee Conway the photographer and I will work together, which I'm really looking forward to. She has a creative eye, plus she is funny as can be. We have a great model from Rabaat shoe store, Rachael, who once modeled in Europe for a period of time. We've come up with the concept for hair.
I sped around town yesterday, looking for jewelry, leggings, and shoes. I didn't find shoes. Kind of critical. I can spend 100. on a pair, but do I want to for the shoot. I don't want to fall short of a fabulous shot, just because of the shoes, they are pretty important. We are going for romantic and feminine, perhaps a bit of a period feel to it.
Maybe I need to hunt earlier next time, instead of waiting till the final week. We have a fabulous dress, loaned to us by the talented Cari Borja, a designer in Berkeley, CA. Check it out. This loan is a very generous offer. Thank you Cari. To see more of her designs, check out: www.cariborja.com
A museum of Savanna's haircuts? Not a bad idea. She gave me this latest.
No sequay from politics, to beauty, and now an eight-year-old desire of a guest at the salon(but not a client), to be a paleontologist. A client came in the other day with her grandson, Ryan. I pulled up the leopard print chair for him to sit on, while we consulted about her hair. After the shampoo, we all settled into our little real estate around my station. Ryan had blonde straight hair, the kind of blonde that women pay top dollar for, the perfect honey color with lots of shine. He wore large round eyeglasses, and rather simple attire. Except for the hoodie his grandmother, my client, had just purchased for him. Little crocodiles patterned all over this hoodie, their eyes peering out at me. As he began to speak, his high IQ, and obvious language skills perked my ears. The cutting was going well, when a creative burst came through me, and I asked if I could interview her grandson. They both thought this would be grand.
Yes, it was another informative, fun, and lively event with Jennifer Butler. You've got to listen to some of the audio to get a sense of how she works. She is a wizardess and a priestess, helping women to know themselves better. She gives them complete permission to play, and have fun with clothing.
Here are some photos from the event held at the Mill Valley Holiday Inn, last Saturday evening. There had to be fifty people there to hear Jennifer, who never seems to tire. She pours out love and acceptance, and yet, when she needs to, a shaking of the head, with a twinkle in her eye, seemingly to say, "It won't work...do you know why?"
Then to see people give away clothes they've had in their closet, and don't wear, is quite a generous event. To see people being willing to give up their coveted item on someone for whom it works for, is a complete joy. The people who have their colors done are looking hot, and like themselves, the way you expect them to look. Everything is lined up and congruent. Your eye does not roam, looking to understand what is not working.
Wonderful evening Jennifer! Thank you.
Savanna, my anchor and colleague, is leaving the salon. Her last day will be June 17, and it will be a sad day for me, although I am terribly excited for her. Her, and her husband Jeff, are heading to the UK, where he is from, and where she has spent time. Her father is English as well. Savanna is a talented hairdresser, who is down to earth, unpretentious, and somebody you want to know forever. Her hair designs are creative, detailed, and daring. Her bobs are perfect, her one lengths impeccable, and her short haircuts are original and well suited for the hair texture and the facial features of her clients. And, she is a beautiful, genuine, gentle, and funny, and kind soul.
Then there is the way she dresses. Vintage most of the time with a Savanna twist. She will not wear makeup, if she doesn't feel like it. She is regal, yet funky. She is grounded and steady. She changes her hair more than any hairdresser I've known.
Her presence in the salon will be missed by a lot of people. Her level of care for her clients from the moment they show up, until the time they walk out of the salon, is superior. She takes care of their hair, describing it to them at length to them, informing them of things they have never known. I have never heard the cuticle of the hair be so interesting before.
Savanna's future will be fascinating. She plans to go to design school, with an industrial focus. She was already a painter before she studied hairdressing at the Paul Mitchell school in San Francisco. Savanna and Jeff dined at our place the other nite, and as usual, there was lots of laughter, good food, and stories. In true Savanna style, she walked in with a wet painting to which she had just applied the finishing touches. It was an oil portrait of me, with my latest haircut and color. I think she captured a lightness of being, that I will treasure for all time.
Thank you Savanna for your artistry, professionalism, care for people, your beauty-inside and out, and your dear friendship. You are an inspiration to me, and words cannot define the deep level of respect I have for you. And even though I shall miss you, I am proud of you for taking this leap. I will see you in the UK.