Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My one-on-one with Sam Biddle

I've just had two days of nail tech heaven! Learning new techniques, a great instructor and lots of nail chat!

Although I'm quite familiar with most of the fantasy techniques, each person tends to follow their own path of discovery. This means even though you might have studied a subject before, that different instructors will always give you some new information or skill. As an educator myself, it's not unusual for me to learn something from my students as well.

So for the last two days I've been here in Bournemouth on the south coast of England to spend some one-on-one time with Sam Biddle. I was especially interested to meet Sam for two reasons. Firstly, Sam has a very interesting creative approach which tends to be quite 'out of the box'. I suspect that Sams point of reference for any design is to totally avoid producing anything that's been done before which is something that I also strive to achieve. Secondly, Sam uses a different technique to create some of her fantasy figures than what I use in my work. So this was a chance to develop my own skills further in this area.

Here are some photos of the pieces that I created. Click to see a larger image:

The figure of the man is sitting on a drink straw and is about 3cm high. So you can get a perspective of the size of the pieces from this.

Creating fantasy designs is all about knowing your product and being able to control the material. All of the pieces above were created only with acrylic; it's important to be able to work quickly and precisely. I guess that's one reason why I find it so fascinating!

At the end of the two days I was happy with what I had managed to create and Sam was very positive about my results. Along the way I learnt a lot of new tips and also understood more about the difference between the materials we used and how to manipulate them to create the best result.

Thanks Sam for a wonderful time! See you in Sweden for our Nail Art Smögåsbord workshops we are making together in May! (see earlier post for information on this).

Finally, Bob and I would also like to thank Sam's husband John who drove 40 minutes to Bournemouth to join us for an evening meal. Lovely to meet you John!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Photographic workshop with Sam Biddle

Bob and I have flown to the UK to meet Sam Biddle. Today we attended Sam's photographic workshop, then tomorrow and the day after Sam will give me some instruction on how she creates her fantasy designs.

The photographic workshop is designed to show nail techs how they can use simple compact cameras to create good images for their website or other marketing material. It isn't designed to teach you how to be a photographer, but more how to plan your image and use colour to create a specific mood. Sam does talk briefly about lighting and how to get the best from using flash.

After the instruction, Sam asked everyone to create a photographic concept and then produce the photo with our models and any accessories we wanted to use. After two hours we all chose our best photo's and then sat down to review these as a group.

Personally, I found the process of writing a creative plan quite frustrating. Perhaps to some extent this was due to the limited time we had which meant I was limited in the accessories that I could use. Also, my natural style is to be a bit more of an artistic free-thinker and for ideas to evolve during the process, rather that define the process at the start.

Bob found the process easier. His personality is much more logical and organized. In many ways I think this is why we work so well together as our personalities compliment each other. On the other hand he became very frustrated being forced to use a compact camera rather than his professional camera - at one point he wanted to throw my camera against the wall!

It was a very interesting day. We met some lovely people and we all had a lot of fun. Both Bob and I picked up some new ideas and information that we will find very useful. The most important of these is that in future we will plan our photos much more in the future. Thanks Sam!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

French nails using gel

Here are two photographs we made earlier this week. I used gel to create the nails. Jenni was my model and Bob took the photo's. The jacket is from Zara and the handbag from Karen Millen. Hope you like the photos.

International Nail Experts School

INES was created on 18th December 2008 in Moscow, Russia. The objective of the organization is to establish standards for competition judges, judge training and assessment so that competitions have equal standards of international judging.

Until now different competitions operate under different rules and may have judges who have not been trained. This can create a not uncommon problem that one judges marks may be very different and inconsistent with the other judges. Also, if competitions operate under different rules how should we really compare the standards or winners in different competitions?

INES hopes to clarify these points and establish international standards. You can read an introduction to INES here.

The standards are created and maintained by a group of Honourable Judges who are listed here. They will also provide training to new judges or experienced judges that want to follow the INES standards.

Festival of Beauty in Moscow

A nice surprise arrived by email on Thursday. I received an invitation to help judge the nail competitions at the Festival of Beauty in Moscow from 25 to 28th of March. It's a honour to be asked and I'm delighted to accept.

I enjoy judging. It's an opportunity to see the work of some of the best nail tech's which I always find inspiring. It's also a chance for me to give something back to the industry that I love.

Judging is a serious business. Nail techs not only often travel great distances to attend a competition, but those few hours of competition are the sharp end of many months of work to refine and perfect their technique. This makes judging quite stressful as it's critical to concentrate and mark the nails to the best of your abilities, which is difficult especially when the standard is high and the differences between the best nails is extremely small.

The competition is being organized by the International Nail Experts School. This is a relatively new and very interesting organization that I'll describe in my next post.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sam Biddle visits Sweden, May 2009

Sam Biddle - Be Inspired

We're delighted that Sam Biddle has agreed to visit Sweden and make a 4-day nail nail art workshop in Sweden! Sam is a Master Artist Educator for EZ Flow Systems, a national and international competition winner and her work has appeared on the covers of Scratch and NAILS magazines.

Sam is famous in the UK for her nail art workshops which are so popular they are usually sold-out.

A Smörgåsbord of Nail Art
Introducing... NEW to Sweden a colourful smörgåsbord of Nail art and design with Sam Biddle and Iryna Giblett

We invite you to come and join us and develop your skills, build on your creativity and increase profitability within your business, with these three unique master classes.

Utilize the benefits of nail art within your business, find out how you can make a profit from adding this simple service to your menu. Win new clients and keep old with a range of simple but effective designs using just paints and glitters. Iryna Giblett will guide you through the steps to make paint work for you, adding a little extra something on your finger tips.

Show off your talents and maximize individuality with Fantasy.

Learning some amazing product control with international competition winner and judge Sam Biddle from the UK, you can give your business a boost and make it stand out from the crowd. Learn how to improve your creativity and inspire your clients with some amazing art work.

Use gel, now you can try something different offering your clients an alternative to their regular looks. Give them a lift and try something different. Gel is a fantastic medium which if used correctly can produce stunning results. Now here is your chance to wow the crowds with Sam
Biddle's front cover look. Learn how to work with what you've got, creating an elegant and stylish look in the same time you would create a French.

These three creative colour master classes are developed for you to mix and match your learning. Each day we will hold three classes of approximately 3 hours, incorporating 2 full hours of practical application.

This new concept offers you a chance to choose which workshop suits you. Each class is run for 3 hours and all you need to do is book on the one which interests you. All material provided for each class, just pick up the phone and book your master class today. The price is only 600kr (approx. 60 €) per master class, or for the full smorgasbord menu of three 1500kr.

About the Instructors
Sam Biddle and Iryna Giblett are internationally recognized as two of Europe's leading nail artists. Sam Biddle is an international competition winner and Judge, with her successful brand Be inspired, Sam produces front cover looks and contributes to the industry as a whole with a wealth of knowledge in art and design. Helping techs get inspired sam produces DVD's and step by steps to bring back the colour and creativity into technicians work.

Iryna, is well known to Swedish nail techs for her regular nail art contributions to Naglar i Norden. She is also an international competition judge and opened the first nail art school in Sweden in 2008. Iryna's passion for nail design and talent to produce amazing images has produced an international reputation in a very short time. Her images have appeared in magazines and as front covers in four countries.

This mini road show of workshops will be held in;
  • 22nd May, Götebörg
  • 23rd May, Malmö
  • 24th May, Norrköping, and
  • 25th May, Stockholm

Minimum places available. To book your place send an email to iryna@irynagiblett.com and we will send you the payment instructions. On receipt of payment we will confirm your place.

  • Working with coloured gels: 08.30 to 11.30
  • Hand painted designs for salon customers : 12.30 to 15.30
  • Introduction to fantasy and acrylic sculpting : 16.00 to 21.00
Price: 600 kr per workshop or 1500 kr for all three.

For more information on Sam and Iryna's work, visit their websites:
www.sambiddle.co.uk and www.iryna.giblett.com