Flowers with Gems

I can’t believe we have just over a month left until In-Depth Night!  I feel like I’ve learned so much, and yet I still want to learn so much more.  Since my last post, I have had two meetings with my mentor.  During these sessions, we have continued to try out new nail art styles and have been polishing up on some old ones as well.  As nail art can often be a trial and error process, through these past few months, Sandi and I have gone through a variety of different concepts and alternatives with our designs.


Pink/Purple/Blue Ombre

Two weeks ago, Sandi and I spent quite a bit of time working on ombre nail art.  I learned that the concept behind creating an ombre nail is actually quite simple.  We started by taping the area around the nail to prevent mess, then picked out three different polish colours, painted the base of the nail with the middle colour, painted a line of each colour onto a makeup sponge, before finally dabbing the sponge onto the nail.  After using this technique, we also came up with some different alternatives for various steps in the process.  For example, when I practiced ombre at home, I realized that certain colour combinations (ie. red, orange, and yellow) should begin with a base coat of the lightest polish, instead of the middle polish.  In terms of preparation, Sandi talked to me about the option to use a latex nail polish barrier around the nails instead of tape to prevent mess from the sponge.  However, we quickly decided against this option as the product is quite expensive, and latex allergies could be a concern for In-Depth Night.  Lastly, during our most recent meeting, Sandi showed me a way to blend colours before transferring them onto the sponge and later, the nail.  In this technique, a line of each colour gets painted onto a glass surface, such as a tile, and a toothpick is used to lightly blend the colours into eachother.  The sponge is then used to pick up the colour before again, dabbing it onto the nail.  I noticed that while this technique is useful to create a more unified blend (which is good for when you want a smooth transition between very different colours), it is more time consuming.  I can definitely see myself using this technique at home, but it might not be the most practical choice for In-Depth Night.


Dragged Flowers

Another new skill we have started working on is dragged flowers.  Although we have previously spent time on a rose pattern, I wanted to learn a minimalistic flower design as well.  The design starts out with 5  dots placed in the shape of circle.  While the paint is still wet, a toothpick is used to drag a bit of each dot to the centre of the circle, creating a petal appearance.  Then, a different coloured dot or a gem can be used in the centre of the flower.  In my designs, I decided to add a couple additional dots to the nail to create a French tip effect.  In past posts, I have mentioned that an alternative to using nail polish is to use acrylic paint for nail art.  Sandi had brought up this alternative because often, nail polish is not opaque enough for designs to stand out.  Therefore, we’ve stuck to using paint for patterns in the past few sessions.  However, we noticed that this design actually turned out better with a polish.  Because this design includes dragging, the more watery and easy-to-be-manipulated polish is more effective.  It really helps to bring each petal to a point and also allows some of your base colour to show through.

Some of the smaller (but just as important) alternatives Sandi and I have thought about are as follows:

  • Popcorn
    • Add some yellow to the kernels to help distinguish the design as popcorn (as opposed to clouds)
    • Paint 1/3 of the nail red with white stripes to look like a popcorn box
  • Cherries
    • To easily create stems, mix the green paint with a little bit of water.  This will help the line “glide” when painting
  • Ombre
    • Use ombre colours as the basis of a design, for example, the base of a watermelon
    • Put design (like a flower) on top of the ombre
  • Dragged Flowers
    •  Place the flower near an edge, so that the design goes off the nail
    • Use two colours
      • Create a second dot flower within the first.  Then, when you drag the polish to a point, the colours will blend
      • Use a tiny brush to add small strokes of different colours to the inside of the flower



Ombre with Dragged Flowers

Before my next session, I will continue to practice the designs I have learned so far and will play around with the alternatives for each.  Sandi has also asked me to come up with my 100% final list of designs I’d  like to work on before In-Depth Night.  While I had some decided for our last couple meetings, not everything was set in stone.  Now, I actually have to face the difficult decision of narrowing down my learning to a dozen, or less, designs.  I definitely understand why this is a good idea, but it will be hard for me have to set my focus to only a couple things, when there’s still so much out there to learn.
After this, my time will be spent strictly practicing all of the final designs for In-Depth Night.  I will need to work on my technique, my speed, and my organization of people for when they come to my station.  I’ll also need to figure out the most effective way to set up my learning centre, especially as it is going to be very hands on and I’ll need a lot of supplies spread out.  I’m really looking forward to In-Depth Night this year and am super excited to demonstrate all of the cool skills I’ve learned.  If you’re doing a stage performance and have time during the learning centres, be sure to head on over to my station to get a neat nail art demonstration!

Learning From Our Friends in New Zealand



Confederation is often explained as a great and progressive thing, and I mean, it is hard to deny its value to making our nation what it is today.  However, when we put confederation on a pedestal for its “inclusiveness”, that’s where we go wrong.  When we take a good look into confederation,  it is easy to notice that while many groups of people are included in the discussions, almost as many are not.  This was true for Aboriginal communities at the time.  What makes this particular exclusiveness even worse is that it was the Aboriginal’s land that was at stake.  They, more than anyone, deserved to be included in the process of confederation.

All of the exclusiveness at the time makes me wonder how things would differ if the Aboriginals were included in the development of Canada.  How would it have changed the relationships at the time or even our current relations today?  Would there be new benefits for all groups by working together?  How much of a say would the Aboriginals even get?  Although the answers to these questions would all be hypothetical, I still wanted to take a look into a topic that would help me further my thinking about these things.  Therefore, I have decided to look into the question:

  • How did a country that included Aboriginals in confederation differ from a country (like Canada) did not?


The country I decided to look into to answer this question was New Zealand.  Canada and New Zealand did, and still do, have many structural similarities, but also some significant differences on their relationship with Indigenous peoples.  Like Canada, New Zealand had complications with their Indigenous communities at first, but unlike Canada, were able to resolve their problems in a timely fashion.  The following PDF from the Cape York Institute was the resource I used to conduct my research:

A little background: New Zealand was home to Indigenous peoples before colonization occurred.  Once the British arrived, the Maori people were treated poorly; their land taken, discriminatory policies made against them, and the inability to practice their culture.   In addition,  the British brought over disease.  This resulted in the death of an abundance of Maori peoples, making them a minority.  Sound familiar?  This is similar to the early history of Canada in terms of their relationship with the various Aboriginal communities.  Unfortunately, Canada’s story does not improve as effectively as New Zealand’s does.

27 years before Canada’s confederation, New Zealand went through major positive change with the Maori peoples.  In 1840, approximately 500 Maori chiefs contributed to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.  This treaty is especially important to history as it was the framework for all future positive relations between the peoples of New Zealand.  As outlined by Cape York Institute’s paper, there are three key articles which are a part of the treaty:

  • “Article One declares that the native chiefs cede their sovereignty and authority absolutely and without reservation to the British Crown (although this is disputed, as the Maori text of the Treaty employs a concept that falls short of the English concept of ‘sovereignty’).
  • Article Two confirms and guarantees the Indigenous tribes ‘full exclusive and undisturbed’ possession of their properties as long as they wish to retain those properties; but says that the tribes yield to the Crown the exclusive and pre-emptive right of alienation at agreed prices.
  • Article Three says that ‘in consideration therefore’ – so in return, presumably, for ceding sovereignty and granting the Crown the exclusive and pre-emptive right to buy native land – the Crown grants the native people ‘royal protection’ and imparts ‘all the rights and privileges of British subjects’. Thus, Article Three gives the native people equal citizenship and equality before the law, but may also establish a duty of protection, whereby the Crown is supposed to act in the best interests of Indigenous people. “

The Treaty of Waitangi was a huge help in initially changing the national mindset to be respectful of Maori rights.  Through this treaty, New Zealand recognized themselves to be bicultural, with Maori language and culture being a part of the country’s identity to this day.  The New Zealand national anthem is often performed in the Maori language and Maori rituals are performed during various ceremonies.  Each are also taught in schools.  Furthermore, New Zealand celebrates “Waitangi Day” as a national holiday.  While we have Canada Day, New Zealand chose to have Waitangi Day (as opposed to something like “New Zealand Day”) to celebrate the signing of the Waitangi Treaty.

Years later, following the practices of the treaty, the Waitangi Tribunal was born.  In 1975,  the tribunal was created as a safe space for the Maori to share their stories.  In doing so, the remainder of the country is educated on Maori history.  What makes the tribunal worth looking up to is the fact that half of the members are experts in Maori affairs, while the other half are Maori themselves.  Thus creating a very valid representation of the group.  Cape York Institute explains the Waitangi Tribunal as follows:

  • “It is an important forum for the Maori to tell their story, and it provides a safe environment in which to air their grievances.
  • It has an educative role for the country as a whole (particularly through the reports that it hands down).
  • The process is empowering for the Maori: they are able to tell their history the way they want to—this enables them to deal with their emotions in order to focus on the best future.
  • The Tribunal’s role has changed over the years: it has a historical role, but also a role in keeping the Crown honest in managing the Treaty relationship, which has shifted from a focus on compensation to maintaining the ongoing relationship.”

Finally, what really helped to repair the relationship with the Maori peoples was seriously following through with Truth and Reconciliation.  In my last Document of Learning, I discuss Apologies vs. Actions in terms of the Aboriginal people of Canada.  I note that early on, continuous “sorry”s were said and acts without true purpose were made.  For example, “the way that the government and church chose to show apologies was through compensation packages.  These packages provided residential school survivors money in order to repay their bad experiences.”  While an apology and compensation packages are a nice gesture of reconciling, where is the truth?   Who knows it?  New Zealand faces the truth of their past head on, making it much easier for the Maori people to even agree to reconcile.  Why reconcile without the truth?


While we cannot exactly know how including the Aboriginal communities in confederation would effect our country presently, by taking a look at a country that has demonstrated how to be inclusive of Indigenous peoples, we can at least predict what our country could have been.  The quick and effective actions to fix disputes involving the Maori peoples in New Zealand have resulted in better relationships between people in the country today.  Not only does having a bicultural nation make the place more inclusive, but it also helps to create a more unique cultural identity.  If Canada were to follow New Zealand’s path early on (which we totally could have because New Zealand has always been a couple steps ahead), we could see our country living up to its “kind, polite, wonderful” name today.  Although it is unfortunate that we have not reached this point yet, it’s not too late.  Canada should take the time to look into the practices New Zealand has put forward to reconcile with its Indigenous peoples.  By learning from our friends down under, maybe we can be better friends up north.