human hair

Today a very old lady sold cheaply this exquisite object from the Biedermeier period to me - a bracelet made of human hair! Truly a gem to add to my antiques/oddities collection.

In the 19th century wearing hair jewelry was seen as a form of carrying one’s sentiments for the deceased. Unlike many other natural materials, human hair does not decay with the passing of time. Hair has chemical qualities that cause it to last for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years.

(schwarzkopfnonne)

Wax mannequin head, circa 1900

This honey-wax mannequin head with glass inset blue eyes and brunette human hair would have been used in a dress or milliner shop for displaying hats or jewelry.  Wax was often used in 19th century dolls because of the warm “living” texture & the malleable quality which made achieving life-like features possible.

2

I’ve always had a bit of a thing for hair, artistically and otherwise. At uni it became the material and conceptual focus of my Bachelor of Fine Arts. In addition to drawing and photographing it, I embroidered, knitted and felted with it. Friends and family were more than happy to donate their hair but it was never enough, so I used to visit the hairdressers down the road and take the bags of hair they’d otherwise throw in the dumpster, sorting through it for different lengths and colours.

I’m a bit of a hoarder, especially of art materials, so I’d hung on to the leftovers from my BFA until recently when I was cleaning out my cupboard and decided it was time to free up some space. I’m always reluctant to throw things in the garbage and add to the already abundant mountains of landfill so I had an idea.

During my degree I’d read somewhere that as well being useful in cleaning up oil spills, hair also makes for great mulch because it’s incredibly effective at suppressing weeds on account of it allowing water through but felting in the process. So I’ve decided to put it to the test in a section of the garden where I’ve been battling some particularly persistent weeds!

5

///////////0///////////0///////////0///////////

Just dug up these in-process photos, and thought I’d share. Hair lace portrait of L.V. in progress on the embroidery hoop; and before final stretch/mount; the last image being of the finished product stretched on top of paper. L: thanks again for last picture! That was a great choice of frame for it, too.

Wow, the things one discovers when going through pictures from art school…

///////////0///////////0///////////0///////////

Weaves/Extensions

IT’S SOOOOO FUNNY when people say that they say “I don’t like black girls because they wear weaves,” or “I prefer a white/Mexican girl because their hair is natural.” Please stop✋. For one there are a handful of African American women who wear their natural hair as for white women too. But little do people know that it’s not just black women who wear weaves. Other races sport around fake hair all the time. Extensions mainly, to make their hair look fuller. But it gets freaking irritating when people downgrade black women because we wear weaves. Is it against the law to want to look a certain way or to give our natural hair a break? Get over it though. A majority of the female population has extra hair added onto theirs. Especially movie stars who everyone cherishes.

-honestly?? ✋💁