The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

December 6, 2013

Hairdresser decorates studio (and more) for Christmas

JEFFERSON — Amy Roling said she couldn’t wait to go to Brian Mendrala Hair Studio right after Thanksgiving.

Roling is referring to the child-size angel and Christmas trees inside that are so ornate the salon resembles the lobby of a grand hotel during the holiday season.

“I look forward to every appointment I have with Brian, because I know I will get to see a newly designed space or project at his studio, but his Christmas decorations are especially breathtaking, and what's wonderful is the innovation that goes into creating them,” she said. “Who knew angel wings could be fabricated from wire coat hangers and a deconstructed wedding dress? I'm inspired by Brian and his imagination.”

Mendrala said the trees are always the high point of the year. He creates many for himself and for friends and clients.

“I enjoy decorating for the holidays as much as I love to entertain,” he said. “When friends see the trees, their faces light up and a glow comes from their smile. This is when I know that I have succeeded in bringing some extra joy to the season.”

Mendrala, who brings a sense of art to his hairdressing, opened the Brian Mendrala Hair Studio at 52 N. Chestnut St., in spring 2012. But he started making angels and porcelain dolls more than 30 years ago.

“I love to see something, in this case an old child’s mannequin, and figure out how I am going to re-purpose it into something special,” he said.

He spotted this mannequin in Classy Consignments in Jefferson. The owner sold it to him for $20 because the mannequin had no hands. “She has hands now thanks to antique children’s gloves I stuffed with cotton,” Mendrala said.

The angel can be seen in the foyer of the salon from the outside.

Mendrala also created a special tree for his sister, Amy, who is celebrating her first year in her new home. He said he wanted to do something special to fit her taste and decor.

“She has a white suede sofa and gray silk shantung drapes in her living room, looking out over the golf course,” he said. “I thought a peacock tree would be spectacular.”

In June, Mendrala started collecting ornaments for her tree.

“I have to laugh because it is the first LED-lit tree I have done and I over- estimated the number of lights. LED's are very bright and 1,500 LED lights are enough to simulate a nuclear blast,” he said. “I'm sure it blinded the golfers the first time I plugged it in.”

When Mendrala heard about the Star Beacon’s Christmas Display Contest, he thought about entering his studio in the business category. He quickly decided against it because he worked as a professional decorator in the past.

The contest is free and entry forms are available in the print and online editions of the Star Beacon.

• To enter, simply fill out the entry form and submit a photograph of the outdoor holiday decorations. Completed forms may be submitted online, by mail or in person.

The deadline for entries is at 5 p.m. Monday in person and 11:59 p.m. online. There are two categories for display entries: Residential and business/organization

There will be first-, second- and third-place winners for each category — residential and business/organization.

Preliminary voting will begin Wednesday when all contest entries will be published in print and online. Voting ballots will also be in print and online. Each vote costs 50 cents and proceeds will benefit the Star Beacon’s Newspapers-In-Education program.

Preliminary voting will run until Dec. 16 and voting on the finalists will be from Dec. 18 to Dec. 23.

Winners will be announced in the Star Beacon’s Christmas edition Dec. 25.

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