Amber MuhammedBorn into a life flourishing with creativity, Amber’s destiny was to be an artist. At age 3, Amber spent her days drawing and painting, and many weekends sculpting clay at the Baum School of Art in Allentown, PA. Both of her parents are master craftspeople, professional art teachers, and really cool hippies. Amber’s parents blessed her with regular trips to NYC where she was greatly influenced by the many cultures and vast diversity that Manhattan has to offer. It is there that her love for art and world culture was born. One of Amber’s fondest NYC memories is seeing Cindy Lauper in concert at age 5, and knowing that wild hair and make-up was definitely her thing.

In elementary school, Amber began braiding and cornrowing her friend’s hair on the school bus and painting faces at parties. One of her best friends would come back every holiday break from Trinidad with intricate natural braided hairstyles- this fascinated Amber and sparked her interest in traditional African braiding art. She felt that the unique hair adornment was a true wearable art form. During a visit to Kutztown University in the mid 80s, Amber got to see an amazing art exhibit which literally sculpted her destiny! Terry Niedzialek’s Earth Hair Sculptures are amazing hair art created with clay and found objects- hair in the shape of TV’s, the American flag, and beautiful forests. From this point on Amber knew she was going to be a hair artist and had a vision of creating and sculpting hair.

Amber’s mission is to empower individuals to love their natural hair and express it as wearable art…

Her parents greatly supported her vision, and encouraged her by driving over an hour to Philadelphia on the week-ends for Amber to attend the Young Artists Workshop at Moore College of Art scholarship program. Amber loved figure drawing, sculpture, and fashion design classes there.

Driven by her destiny, Amber attended Empire Beauty School in the evenings and on the week-ends at age 16, while attending the Academy of the Arts at William Allen High School college prep program. Amber managed to maintain her grades and Honor Society status throughout her studies. As luck would have it, Attractions Hair Salon was located down the street from her home, and Larry Dell, Master stylist, photographer and owner, became Amber’s first hair and business mentor. Amber worked at Attractions throughout high school, sweeping floors, shampooing, learning advanced razor cutting techniques, Italian hair coloring, and fusion extensions, under Larry’s wing. Annual trips the International Beauty Show as Larry Dell’s photography assistant, gave her the perfect chance to start showing off her own hair creations, and begin her first hair portfolio.

Amber attended the Governors School for the Arts in 1996, which is a college prep summer scholarship program for high school juniors. This experience allowed Amber to expand her creativity, portfolio, and make some lasting friendships with fellow gifted young artists in PA. While attending the Governors School, Amber was asked to write a letter to a member of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She chose an artist who she aspired to be like and follow in their footsteps- Yvette Smalls, Folk artist and Master Braider. Yvette warmly accepted Amber’s request to be her personal mentor. Amber was greatly appreciative of Yvette’s vast knowledge of African hair art and culture. Yvette’s healing hands and open heart offered a magical stepping stone for Amber’s quest of knowledge, and fascination for tribal hair art and fiber crafts.

Amber with her daughter Rasa, 2014

Amber with her daughter Rasa, 2014

Amber became a licensed cosmetologist from Empire Beauty School before her high school graduation in 1997, and soon went on to study fine arts at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia. Tyler gave Amber a great opportunity to explore a wide variety of art mediums, and concepts for wearable art. She majored in Jewelry Design, with an independent study in Fibers, and Costume Design. Her summers were spent in the heart of NYU on 8th St. at House of Field, Perfidia’s Hair World. Amber’s experience with Patricia Field and Perfidia was like Alice’s trip to Wonderland! Amber had the opportunity to learn wig styling with the best of the best, drag queens, Hair Police, celebrity stylists, Japanese afro perms, and rainbow hair colors daily. House of Field and Hotel Venus showed Amber that fantasy hair can happen every day.

Amber had the opportunity to study at the Royal College of Art in London, and the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Inspired by London nightlife and the unique style found in Camden Market, Amber’s visits to salons like Pepi’s London, and Antennae, took her to the next level of hair expression. Amber had a special mentorship with Craig Griffin, owner of Free Salon in Glasgow, where she began teaching some of her creative hair braiding and extension techniques. This experience inspired her to strive to have her own salon one day.

After graduating from Tyler School of Art, traveling around the world and having her first baby Rasa, Amber began to immerse herself in a holistic natural lifestyle. This shift sparked her devotion to the art of natural hair care and culture. Amber is very grateful for her mentorship with Syreeta Scott, stylist of the stars and founder of Duafe Holistic Hair Care. Syreeta welcomed Amber into the world of natural African American hair culture. Though at times challenging, her experience at Duafe made her stronger, and guided her to a philosophy of natural hair care as a healing art in which she could help guide others on their path to loving themselves and loving their hair. Her experience at Duafe solidified her passion and propelled her to new heights of artistry.

After the birth of her second child Cyrus, Amber became a stylist at Royal Blue Naturalistic Hair Care and developed her first product line. Many fabulous photo shoots, fashion shows and events, including NY fashion week, gave Amber the experience to become the Artistic Director for Apotheosis, art and fashion event. Encouragement from super star stylist Thando Kafele, and support from Jane Carter, launched Amber into becoming a platform artist, and team stylist with Jane Carter Solutions Products.

With confidence, experience, and faith, Amber decided to break free and start her own business, Rasa Salon in 2008. As Amber continues her journey, she is thankful for the many gifts from the creator, spiritual guides, family, and friends who have helped her along the way.