Freelance hairdresser Sky Cripps-Jackson explains how she fuels her creative fire and asks two hair legends what their secret is
Hairdressers have many roles; trendsetters, memory creators, artists, confidants, educators, business owners, partners, designers, rule makers and breakers. As the winter sets in and the impact of world events is undeniably felt by all, I have found myself deeply contemplating the purpose of what we create and where inspiration is drawn from.
As hairdressers, we have forever loved providing experiences of beauty and joy for the people we work with. Furthermore, technology as a tool gives us immediate access to anything of interest with one tap on our phone, making everything we might be interested in immediately accessible.
That said, often on social media, there is a valid focus on serving up content that is informative and almost interactive, encouraging the viewer to ‘buy-in’ and ‘take action’. Whilst the dopamine hit can feel invigorating in short bursts, it is only a matter of time before the artificial rush wears off and the doom-scrolling headspace kicks in, leaving us the viewer feeling depleted and uninspired. This leads me to the main point of this article, how much importance do we place on refilling our cups and consciously focusing on the energising, and inspiring? Do you regularly carve out space in your life to refuel your internal happy space and nurture your own sense of inspiration?
It is my view that working within any discipline, time should broken down into:
1. Learning new skills/information from and with people whose work you like, and who have more experience than you
2. Time spent practising to enhance, perfect and develop resilience in your chosen discipline
3. Rest and recuperation to avoid fatigue and keep your energy fresh
4. Creative play and self-exploration
What defines creative play is different for everyone, so I asked two hairstylists I respect immensely for their contribution to this article. Maestro Sam McKnight needs little introduction with a areer that spans more than five decades working with Princess Diana, Chanel, Vogue, and the brains behind an award-winning hair product range ‘Hair By Sam McKnight’…… and super cool Shiori Takashi, originally from Japan who heads up the hair for Burberry campaigns and shows, whilst shooting for the likes of Vogue, Miu Miu, Givenchy, and Gucci…
SCJ: Sam, what practices do you implement to encourage inspiration?
Sam: I stay inspired through so many different avenues. One of the main ones is spending time outside in my garden. It’s a big inspiration and encourages me to take time out and reset. It’s where I’m often hit by colour and fragrance which you can see has directly influenced my brand, Hair by Sam McKnight, through its packaging and fragrance. As a garden is an ever-evolving, ever-changing commodity I’m forever being stimulated and taken down new paths, figuratively and literally.
As a practice, I encourage everyone to find something, even if it’s only one thing, that sparks the senses. It could be through visuals that are different to your day-to-day. Or a scent that brings a memory to life. Let colour envelope you, and give you other things in your life, other than work, space to grow.
SCJ: Shiori, you have mentioned in our conversations previously that alongside galleries, books and films, part of your inspiration comes from the people that you work with. What are your thoughts on the importance of having the right community?
Shiori: It’s very important! The right community means I can be myself, be comfortable and have fun. There is a saying in Japanese which translates to you are magnetically calling similar types of people to you. So if you are nice to people, nice people will naturally come around you.
SCJ: What rituals do you engage in to create a sense of safety, consistency and stability in your every day?
Shiori: I speak to myself, and I sometimes write poems. It helps to process my thoughts and make my head clear.
So, what does inspiration mean to me?
Inspiration is ultimately the importance you place on things. There is much beauty to be found in the mundane, in small everyday actions and interactions. You choose where to place your focus, if you create space in your life and mind you might be surprised at how many small moments develop into beautiful things and take flight.
The process of sending your own ideas or work out into the world often runs parallel with the confidence in finding your voice, which can feel a bit scary at times. I have found that creating habits or rituals around creative exploration to be helpful in gaining momentum in encouraging inspiration to push through perceived boundaries. What exactly that looks like is different for everyone, experimenting with different mediums can be fun; painting, cooking, flower pressing, knitting- the options are out there for the taking.
Personally, I find journaling a helpful tool to gain insight and slow down my mind. Even five minutes in the morning can have a profound impact on the way you look at things as you go through your day. Ultimately, having faith in yourself and committing to your process is the most inspirational tool you will ever wield on your journey.
Sky is a London-based freelance hairdresser. All images in this article are her work. Sky’s recommended resources for those looking to start their own creative journey include; The Creative Act; Rick Rubin, Nina Simone’s Gum; Warren Ellis and The Artist’s Way; Julia Cameron