Locks is a series of pieces made using human hair, inspired by Victorian mourning jewellery made with a loved-one’s hair. These works explore ideas of remembrance, mourning and preserving precious personal mementoes.
In the long piece, each single twist of hair is hand-stitched to a 4m length of vintage ribbon, dyed with natural henna. Each twisted lock of hair represents the tangle of emotions when a loved-one dies. The length of the piece was initially defined by the space in the building it was made for, but during the process of making, I felt that the long length also represented a long period of mourning. Human hair is considered beautiful on the head but disgusting once cut or fallen. I find this fascinating and want to explore ideas of waste and preservation with this work.
Locks was originally made for a pop-up exhibition in an old hair salon which was the perfect opportunity to realise a long ambition to use hair. The hair I used was from a hairdressers practice mannequin head, rather than from a known person. There is more about the piece on the blog. This piece was shown at The Salon in October 2013.
Newer pieces in the series were created specially for Narrative Threads, exploring different techniques using hair including couching, plaiting and embroidery with hair. I am continuing to explore the potential with hair and have many more ideas to try.