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  • Kimberly Rowley

Hair Paper? My mind was blown.


Model showcasing Kimberly Irene's avante garde look with teal feathers in her hair and a purple background

Wanting More.


I was asked to do "avant-garde" hair for the Orlando Show. What the heck was that? Of course I said "Sure, no problem. I'm great at that" and promptly went into a panic on how to pull off these looks.


I did tons of research. I found 3 looks. I was well prepared. I practiced and practiced.


Then I failed miserably at the show.


No one would ever say that to me but, I know. I know that I was like wet bread.

The above photo was the only look that I liked. And, I was so stressed out that I don't even remember doing it.


While I was prepping for that show I did a lot of soul searching. A LOT.


I really tried hard to find that link between up-dos (and all fancy hair) and the style of hairdressing that I know. Honestly, the only thing that was close was men's haircutting. All the clean lines and balance. Part of me was excited. I listened to self help books and got pumped. Deep inside I was terrified. What was I to do?

Well, what do you do when you know you don't know something? Take a class!


An avante garde Sharon Blain piece make with hair paper

In September, I traveled to Pasadena, CA to take an avante-garde class. The above photo is from a Sharon Blain collection that was displayed there. It's made with Hair Paper.


My mind was blown.


I don't even know how to explain what happened to me that weekend. My mind was blown wide open, over and over. In so many ways.


But, even more exciting, my mind was now open to this new way of thinking.


My soul was fed. My heart was happy. It was exactly what I was looking for, answering the question of how this crazy hair art connects with hairdressing. I found out that it doesn't. It just needs to look like hair, the rest is PURE ART.


Two women with crazy avante garde hair
Mannequin head with a hair piece on it

The above photos are Sharon Blain's work. She demonstrated how to attach the creations to actual people.


Little known fact: I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. That is what I really wanted to be. My 14 year old self predicted my future as an art history teacher.


HELLO KIMBERLY, this is what you are doing here and now. ART.

Shinny blue clay art sculpture by Kimberly Irene
by Kimerly Irene

The above clay sculpture called "Bodies" is from my past life. 1996-ish.

One of the mind blowing things about the class was that there were several famous, award winning stylists in attendance. In fact, one of the attendees was informed by phone, while we were in class, that he had just won an award in London (he's from London). He knew he might win but, thought the class was more important than being at a ceremony honoring him. WOW WOW WOW. What on earth have I gotten myself into?


The level of skill and accomplishment in the room matched the stars.

My most important take away? Treat others how you want to be treated! You read that right. Of course, the golden rule. That was my take away in hair class!


The more famous and award winning the stylist, the nicer they were. I felt like an imposter at the beginning of the first day. By the end of the last day, I felt like one of them. Part of a special tribe of people. A tribe that has one goal: MAKE OTHERS FEEL GOOD.


Group of students/stylists at the avante garde Sharon Blaine class

We had so much fun. I will always be thankful for my first round of avant-garde training. Now I am looking forward to another Sharon Blain class in March. And more ways to spread love.


XO - Kimberly


P.S. Can you find me in the photo?


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