*Note: This post will discuss some of Ms. Mulder’s topics from both post #2 and #3. From post #2: agreement, disagreement, opinions. From post #3: share a story, support a point.*
I finally met with my mentor!!! The days leading up to my first meeting were simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking. Of course I was excited to get a real “start” on my in-depth, but meeting a new person always makes me anxious. Especially if that person is a complete stranger who I’ll need to spend over an hour with. On Saturday morning, with my eyes still half-shut, my mom and I drove down to New West to meet with my mentor, Sandi, for the first time. If I wasn’t so tired from the Talent Show the night before, my stress levels would have been unbearable. We arrived to Sandi’s place quite early, so we drove around a bit before I actually had the will-power to approach the door.
(Hey, did you know that New West has a very nice 7-Eleven? They have a full hot dog toppings bar and everything!)
About five minutes before our scheduled start time, my legs were shaking as I walked up to the door to knock. However, when the door opened to a pleasant smile, I quickly relaxed. Sandi made me feel super comfortable as soon as she said hello. When we went into her house, she led me to the space where she does her clients’ nails. Prior to our meeting, Sandi pulled out some supplies that she thought may be helpful for our lesson. We started off the meeting with me explaining the In-Depth project in more detail. I talked about what the project includes, why I was interested in nail art, and my hopes for the end product. During this discussion, I chose to include some personal stories about my In-Depth project last year. I thought that by including these experiences I would not only make the discussion more interesting (as De Bono talks about), but it would also help to clarify what In-Depth is all about. After explaining the project, I think Sandi had a much better idea of what I want to achieve by the end of five months. I can already tell that we both have the same vision of the future as she very clearly kept this in mind throughout the rest of the lesson. For example, she continuously brought up ideas for my In-Depth night station during our discussions.
The first big topics we went through on Saturday were nail supplies and clean up. Sandi started by showing me her nail station set up. She keeps all of her must-haves (polish remover, cotton swabs, and basic tools like clippers) on the table, while everything else is stored in cupboards or on shelves nearby. When I asked her which of the tools I’ll need to get right away, she suggested I stock up on the following:
- Good base & top coats
- Nail file
- Something to push back cuticles (She suggested either getting a metal tool or orange wood sticks. Based on prior research, I have decided to go ahead with using the orange wood sticks as they are safer on the nail.)
- Makeup brushes & sponges
- 99% alcohol
We also discussed the other supplies that I will experiment with during our sessions together such as glitter, paint, and stamps.
During this time, we also talked about sanitation as it is very important, but often not talked about. To support this point, I mentioned to Sandi that often when I go to salons, I get concerned about their cleaning practices. After sharing this feeling, she told me that when she has new clients, she always explains her sanitary procedures to them. She said that this makes them feel much more comfortable and suggested that I also explain my cleaning procedures during In-Depth night when I do my demonstrations. We went through a couple different cleaning products that she uses, but for the purposes of my project, we agreed that 99% alcohol may be the most practical choice.
After going through some more cleaning procedures, we moved onto discussions about nail art. We talked about more nail art supplies and what everything is used for. When I saw how steady Sandi’s hands were with all the materials, I asked her what technique she uses to keep her hands so stable. She showed me that she anchors her hand with her pinky to keep it from shaking. I am definitely going to try this technique the next time I practice on myself.
We also took a look online at a few different nail designs and how different types of polish are more practical for different designs. One video we watched together showed an artist cutting acrylic paint off of his clients nails to get straight lines. Sandi explained to me that certain patterns, like stripes, may be more achievable using certain polishes. When I asked her to clarify if it was possible to get straight lines any other ways, she told me that hand drawing, using tape, and using stripers are all options, but the results may not be the best. Instead, she suggested that I use nail stamps for stripes. This wasn’t the most thrilling answer for me as my goal is to learn nail art by hand, not only using a stamp. However, I did not want to disagree with Sandi because her point was valid. I honestly think she’s right that stamps are probably my best bet in getting straight lines, it’s just that I want to learn to go above that. Like De Bono suggested, I didn’t want to disagree for the sake of it. Instead, I listened to Sandi and understood where she was coming from in this suggestion. Lucky for me, Sandi later vocalized that just because stamps will be the easiest choice, we don’t need to forget about everything else. She let me know that in the coming weeks we can work on creating stripes using various methods.
To end off our meeting, Sandi let me play around with stamps and dotters on her nails. She showed me how to create simple designs using the dotters and the proper technique to use for stamps. Before I left, we scheduled our next meeting and Sandi gave me homework to start supply shopping as well as look up some nail designs that I would like to try out in the coming weeks.
As you can tell, a lot happened during our first meeting and I am very happy with how everything went. To end off my blog post this week, I have included some photos of the nail art I tried out prior to my first meeting with my mentor. These pictures will serve as a “baseline” of sorts that I can look back on at the end of In-Depth this year.