To the root | Jewelry, art and mourning: hair as a memory of a loved one


I too have lost a loved one, very dear. The way she dressed, how she smiled and the way she danced were frozen not only in my memory, but with light on paper, framed in the living room and always at hand in that drawer in the room. In addition to the photographic series, a small box with jewelry, letters and other belongings have a special place under my roof.

But we are all different, and each culture experiences mourning and mourning in a different way. There are those of us who need to keep little things that were part of someone else’s life, and there are those who have enough mind. Although, of course, it is impossible to generalize when it comes to such a delicate, sad and painful subject.

A few days ago I came across an article that talked about Victorian hair art. It turns out that, in the 19th century, craft magazines and some books dedicated to women used to include patterns, ideas, and steps to follow to make pieces of decoration (or jewelry) with human hair, taken from a body that had already completed its life cycle. of life. That was known as hairwork.

During that period, the hair became a relic. Brooches, bracelets, cameos and embroideries were objects of mourning; palpable memories of a body and its life. Queen Victoria, for example, commissioned at least eight pieces of jewelry made from the hair of her late husband, Prince Albert.

This tendency, linked to mourning, prevailed above all among the Victorian middle class of the time. Weaving bracelets and molding floral motifs from the hair of a deceased was a common and sustainable activity, although somewhat complex. Although hair is capable of containing its natural aroma, structure and color for thousands of years, it is a material that remains intact over time.

In addition, it was common to keep or encapsulate locks of hair next to the portrait of the deceased. Or even decorate it. In this way, the image and a tangible part of that loved one could be preserved.

Nowadays it is common to turn the ashes into diamonds or simply keep some of the objects that that special person used in life. However, using hair to create Victorian-style pieces is not a thing of the past yet. Different museums and expert craftsmen have rescued the technique and implemented their learning in the art of remembering with hair.

Keeping locks next to a portrait or even turning hair into jewelry seems like a rather strange and uncomfortable idea, almost negative and forbidden, for many. However, it would be a mistake to ignore the fact that hair, in life or death, immortalizes the essence of a human being. Load our memories and stories, our way of being and our undeniable DNA.

On the other hand, and speaking of current times, there is also the tradition of keeping a lock of hair, without incorporated Victorian craft techniques. In some cases, far from being a sad practice, seeing, smelling and feeling the hair of someone who is no longer with us can be comforting.

Learning to live without a person we truly love is one of the most difficult things a human being can face. However, there will always be the option of immortalizing a part of it, in the Victorian style.

The post To the root | Jewelry, art and mourning: hair as a memory of a loved one appeared first on All Things Hair Mexico.


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