Dawn Bray - Just Faux You
Dawn Bray has had a life long interest in art. As a child she recalls drawing and coloring daily and her mom saying "some day you are going to be an artist." In junior high school she had a fantastic art teacher who encouraged her to expand her creativity. Dawn began entering art contests, and throughout junior high and high school her work was honored with awards. As an adult she dabbled in painting, but it was not until 1999 that Dawn’s journey into faux finishing began.
Prior to becoming involved in faux finishing, Dawn worked in Human Resources. Although she did go to college to earn a business degree, she did not feel that her creative side was being fulfilled. Then she discovered faux finishing through a friend at church. Her friend was working on a denim finish for a client and needed help, so Dawn offered. That was the beginning of a 7-year partnership.
Soon after beginning work with her friend, Dawn took her first class from Kathy Carroll. She says that she knew she "was hooked. Kathy's knowledge and business sense was very appealing to me. I knew I wanted to soak up all I could from this successful woman." In 2005 Dawn launched her solo business, Just Faux You. It was an exciting time for her. She was now in charge of her own destiny, and could invest more time and money into increasing her knowledge base and portfolio.
Dawn loves to try new products. She says of her work that she is “not afraid to try anything. You have to be confident in this field and knowing what products are out there and how to use them is key to an impressive portfolio.” Dawn mainly works on walls and ceilings in residential and commercial spaces. Her favorite products to work with are Marmo plaster, shimmered suede, Blue Pearl pastes, wax, Bella Sabbia, and Modellos. She enjoys techniques such as Reptile Skin, Oikos Veltura, Pelato Pittura, Tuscan Oasis, Lime Butter Marble, and her new favorite, Sugar Cane. Dawn is very passionate about her work. She says, “whatever I do, I work at with my whole heart. I treat each job like it’s my own home.”
When asked about her favorite job she has completed, Dawn cites the vertical concrete that she completed in her basement with the help of Nathan Giffin and fellow student Tammy Chebney. She met Tammy Chebney in a vertical concrete class that Nathan taught at the Chicago Institute of Fine Finishes in August 2008. The trio completed three arches and two pillars in Dawn’s basement in the week that they worked together, and she completed the staining by herself. She says that she enjoyed completing her basement because “it was challenging and different than anything I have done before. To put it down on paper and see it come into tangible form was amazing.”
In the last ten years Dawn has taken many courses from CIFF, including Nathan Giffin’s Hand-Carved Vertical Decorative Concrete and several of Kathy Carroll’s Professional Update Classes. She enjoys taking Kathy’s classes because they introduce her to new color combinations and products, and help her to think outside of the box. Dawn says that continuing education is important to her to keep her portfolio fresh. She comments, " I like to be able to walk in with the latest techniques. I want my clients to have nothing less than extraordinary.” She says that it also impresses her customers to know that she is investing the time and money in her business to keep up with the times.
She says of Kathy Carroll “other than being a phenomenal business woman, she takes ever measure to ensure her students are successful. " She was also very impressed by the fact that Kathy's staff is so supportive. She comments, “They are committed to being available to answer any questions we may have any day of the week. "Kathy thrives on seeing her students succeed."
Dawn says that she is of the same mindset as Nathan Giffin, 'Excellence is a Journey.' She says that there is much to know in the field of faux. "I love what I do and always want to keep my mind open to learn more." If there would be only be one thing Dawn would change about her career path she would have launched her faux finishing career the week after graduation.
Dawn Bray can be contacted by phone 630-460-0551 or via email at dawn.JustFauxYou@gmail.com for more information about Just Faux You.