Own It

When you think of craft in America, you think of knitting, ceramics, or making furniture. These artists reap many health, psychological, and personal benefits from creating a quilt, a vase or a chair. With the advent of the Maker movement, technology, hand made items, and artistry, another important resurgence of craft has emerged. As hairstylists, your cosmetology career can soar with the benefits of the Maker, because you are one. Let’s talk about these benefits in depth.

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 mak·erˈmākər/noun

   1. a person or thing that makes or produces something.

“a cabinetmaker”

 

synonyms:

creatormanufacturer, constructor, builderproducer, fabricator, inventorarchitectdesigner

 

The “Maker Culture” is a whole other movement more based in technology, which is not how I am using the term.

You are a Maker. Your craft is taking the technical application of a haircut or hair color and through hours and hours of practice, and through the slight tilt of the blades of the scissors, you are taking this very basic skill and noticing what the effect is on the hair – the movement, how it falls – and using it to support your end result. By taking the very basic knowledge, and through diligent practice and experience you will notice a change in consciousness, attention, results, and satisfaction. However, this craft takes humility, education, practice, and certainly is not for the light-hearted.  There will be falls, and there will be unhappy customers, and defeating moments. By holding the space for your own humanity, with all its’ foibles, and opening to the possibility of a cosmetology career that can soar with all the benefits of a maker.

When you first go to cosmetology school, the instruction is all about getting you through the basics and passing your written and oral test. Now the better schools like Sassoon and Paul Mitchell will elevate your basic skill set even more, however, these are the elite of schools, and is not for everybody. Your cosmetology career can soar with the benefits of a Maker when you take that basic knowledge and apply it everyday. Be willing to make mistakes, be fearless with hair, learn to communicate, and pay dogged attention to the details.  Imagine the brilliant tinkerer in his shop with all his tools, or think of the greatest hairdresser in your mind, whipping through haircut with three different shears at one time(not really), but you get my point. It is your practice, and you must keep attacking it.

With this daily application of being aware of your choices, of writing formulas down, and of going at it again and again, you train yourself to become masterful at your craft. This kind of dedication and taking notice is never done for the master. In fact, you only refine and take more risks, and open to the process more. Each time, you realize there is so much to know, and your haircuts get better, your clients are happier. Sometimes our clients may not recognize the pitch of your scissors, but they will know their haircut was easy, it grew out well and lasted. The details are where the refinement happens and is what brings your awareness into the present, engages your senses, and brings you ultimate results.

 

[tweetthis]If you are a hairstylist, you are a Maker, you create everyday, you have a practice, your craft is hairdressing.REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A MAKER?

The article “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature by Heather L. Stuckey, DEd and  Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH, points out, “More specifically, there is evidence that engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one’s own creative efforts, can enhance one’s moods, emotions, and other psychological states as well as have a salient impact on important physiological parameters.” They analyzed over 100 studies and the impact of art on your health and your ability to heal yourself. They studied dance, music, writing, and visual art. They don’t mention hairdressing specifically, but it is a visual art.

Stuckey and Nobel also say, “Engagement with creative activities has the potential to contribute toward reducing stress and depression and can serve as a vehicle for alleviating the burden of chronic disease.” Wow, this is the potential for us hairstylists! We get to create all day long 

What makes craft different is that we are in contact with people all day. We are not hidden away back in a workshop. With this added component, I think it creates an even more dynamic situation where our craft and our people skills can evolve, a much richer connection is made with our art, and the instant gratification of seeing our clients delight all day long can’t help but add to the list of benefits.

James Clear wrote about this study in a very concise way in his article, “Make More Art: The Health Benefits of Creativity.” He lists the benefits: 

  •        “Art filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts of illness.” 
  •        “Improved well-being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones.”
  •        “Improved medical outcomes, trends toward reduced depression.”
  •        “Reductions in stress and anxiety; increases in positive emotions.”
  •        “Reductions in distress and negative emotions.”
  •        “Improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks.”

Again these were stated for visual arts, not hairdressing specifically. However, wouldn’t you agree we receive these benefits, especially when we follow the 5 Amazingly Simple & Effective Self-Care Strategies that Will Lead Hairdressers to a More Joyful Career.

HAIRSTYLIST TIP

If you are just beginning in your cosmetology career, or a veteran, or anywhere in between, the sooner you let in the fact that you are a Maker, an Artist, your cosmetology career can soar with the benefits of a Maker.

INSPIRATION

The Craft in America series on PBS is worth watching. The episodes focus on one artist and their art. They reveal the stories of artists in the areas of community, music, celebration, forge, crossroads, thread, industry, messages, family, origins, landscape, and memory. We can learn much from watching these and really get at a deep level how truly fortunate we as hairdressers are to get to create all day long. The artist in you will feel validated.

If you would like help discovering your unique talents and gifts as a hairstylist, click here.