Anyone who knows me knows that I love color and Creative Styling; I also love the artworks of my dear friend Amber Powell Brooks.
One of her pieces that I absolutely love is of a standard poodle wearing an Asian theme. For me, this has been a wonderful teaching design. It has everything from different color mediums to diverse styling techniques such as sculpting, scissoring, and shaping with a beautiful outcome in the finished design. It has but one flaw; Amber only drew one side of the dog, leaving the other to imagination.
This year, I was fortunate enough to be invited to go to China and teach an advanced creative class at the Beijing JianWen Pet Grooming Academy for three days. My gracious host, the principal of the school, Ms. Nana treated me to two lovely days of sightseeing before the classes were to begin. With my translator Ms. Icey and school assistant Mr. Zhiwei Von who were my constant companions, I saw many beautiful wonders.
On Monday we walked the seven blocks to the school to start on a beautiful creative groom that would be a collaboration of Amber’s design married to a traditional Chinese red sun, duck, and cherry blossoms on the other side of the dog. The result was astounding. I freehand sculpted Amber’s design onto one side of the dog and set some of the color.
Ms. Nana scissored up the dog afterward with students looking on.
She then decided on a design for the other side and drew it out on a dry erase board in the classroom to follow as a visual while setting the pattern on the dog.
Like me, Nana free handed her design, cutting in the largest part first and then separating and banding off sections of hair to be left long. These would later become the cherry blossoms. The ears have been vet wrapped to hold them out of the way while working.
The next step was to connect the dots by dying in the tree that would hold the cherry blossoms.
After this part was done, we carefully dyed the cherry blossoms a cotton candy shade of pink by placing foil under the hair and applying the dye with a tint brush, and then wrapping the hair in the foil.
Next, the students teamed up to get the major amount of dying done; some working on dying the black head, while others outlined and filled in the red sun.
Then we all moved back around to the other side of the dog, setting in the dyes by first outlining the areas to be colored and then filling them in with the dyes. With so many people working on the dog, the dyes are set in record time. And after waiting for about 30 minutes, the dog was rinsed and dried and ready to be scissored up and detailed on the following day.
Once all scissored up, several layers of hairspray were applied to hold in place the parts of the design that needed to be detailed with the airbrush. I then gave a lesson using my trusty Airbrush unit and a combination of temporary dyes that can be easily washed out of the coat.
Nana jumped in and we tackled the cherry blossoms on the other side of the dog, first banding them next to the skin and shaping them using hairspray and our fingers, then cutting with scissors to sharpen the details.
Nana’s next step was to detail her duck by airbrushing in the black outline and the feathers of the wing and tail and then adding some shading for a more dramatic effect.
Once this is all done, she used scissors to sharpen all the edges for a more defined look.
We also had a lesson on the German trim so here we are with the two dogs we worked on and the class. Notice the wooly beast on the table? That is what the two pictured in front looked like when we started on them 2 days earlier.
I am so honored to have had this wonderful sharing experience, and to have made new friends around the world, all for the love of dog. A special Thank you to Ms. Nana, JianWen Pet Grooming Academy, and to Wahl China. ✂
Making the World more Colorful, one dog at a time…
Queen of Color
To see more pictures of this grooming adventure visit www.queenofcolor.com or visit me on Facebook