I have now recovered from my vodka induced trip to Latvia, having sifted through the piles of do lists on my desk and filed them in their usual place, I can now spend a little time sharing with you my experience in the Baltic's.
Having been invited for the second time now, I love working with Oniks Beta, which one of the largest distributors in Latvia, stocking a range of products from OPI, Super nail, Odessay, as well as natural nail care, they also have an extensive training programme which provides government led training and private tuition. Elena Tarlavskaya, one of the most influential women within the industry in her country and has not only been responsible for building this amazing business but has also been instrumental for the structured and organized the competition in Latvia.
I was asked to judge, demo and hold a seminars out there, and of course the best part was seeing all those talented technicians spin their creative idea's onto nails using paints and acrylic. Mastering the medium in Fantasy 3D and nail art and coming up with some spectacular results. The judging is of course a glamours affair, with a parade of models on a catwalk,music, lights and interviews.
I have to say my favorite didn't come first place but all the nails were spectacular. I will never make a Simon Cowle, I think perhaps I am too soft, knowing the amount of thought and effort which goes into each set of nails, I appriciate the skills regardless of how complex or limited. What I enjoy seeing is the passion these girls have and the 'peace they acheive when they are lost in their 'creative moment'. With each nail supporting the subject Autumn pearls, the competitior had the task of making them stand out, what strikes me is differnt to the UK & US competitions is that the models where given simmilar costumes to wear, and it was the nails which had to represent the catagory. I think I would prefer to see an overall look created by the technicians to complete their design, from hair, makeup to a funky costume, incluing a mood board and steps, for us to see a creative process.
This year there was a new category in the competition; pedicure, and I was honoured to be asked to judge.
It was an amazing experience and something which I will write
about in more depth for Scratch magazine in January.
Demoing on the stand is always a good experience and made better with the company of Danny Phung from O.P.I, global guest artist from Canada, Danny was also asked to judge the Pink and white category. Working with other guest artists from around the world is certainly a perk of the job, and learning from each other can only go to strengthen skills.
My only regret is that I couldn't stay longer, the people are very hospitably and I enjoy their company, with a visit booked in the diary for 2009, I have some exciting things to offer them in the new year.