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Many people ask about how I got started in this, so I thought it would be nice to share a bit about my background. I've been working with kids since 2001, when I signed up for babysitting classes at BANANAS in Temescal. I got myself CPR certified. Since that time, I went from mother's helpering to babysitting throughout middle school, and then working as a camp counselor at Berkeley Day Camp during high school and college. I was a full time nanny in the East Bay during the 2011-2017 range, while attending Merritt for their horticulture program. During this time I volunteered at KALX, Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, and the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. I also worked as a preschool substitute and did their weekend special events childcare. So yeah, that's... 20 years experience working with kids!?

How did I start face painting? Well, I've painted all my life, having been forced from a young age to do weekend art classes by my mother, who I resented at the time. But looking back I'm so happy to have had that experience. I love many arts and crafts dearly, dating back to my years making beaded jewelry, dip candles, and friendship bracelets at summer camp, and dedicating every semester I could at Berkeley High to photography, ceramics, welding and linoleum print carving in creative art. College was an amalgamation of more ceramics, and photography, and also figure drawing. While home, I'll do all kinds of grandma activities, such as painting with acrylics and watercolor, crochet, macrame, sewing, drawing, propagating my succulents, and making custom clothing pieces.

But back to face painting! A few years ago I was browsing Facebook and saw an ad for a local children's party entertainment company. Training was a grueling unpaid process, and the spots were very competitive. But I excelled in face painting and fell in love. It was my favorite part of every party. After working for them for a bit, I realized I wasn't happy with the company and their "You may offer these ten designs only, and the colors must be exactly xyz" policies. It was so stifling! There are HUNDREDS of designs I'm asked to do on a regular basis! Not only are there the seasoned favorites, but children are so creative! "I want a sloth, eating pizza, in outer space" and "Ok, so an octopus, but the arms are rainbow so they're all a different color" were definitely NOT on their list. (Real requests!)

I said, "Heck this, I can do my own thing!" So I spent several thousand dollars on the very best paints, glitters, brushes, sponges, daubers, texture stencils, metallic powders, and onestroke cakes. I practiced and practiced, I got myself insurance, and offered to paint at all my babysitting kid's parties when I was starting out. A few years later and here we are... Face painting combines the things I know and love best- art and working with kids. I also love animals, and eating my weight in vegan pizza, but unfortunately I'm not sure exactly how to incorporate those passions. If you come up with something, let me know!

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