After being extremely busy setting up our new exhibit, we're back with more strange and wonderful things to share with you! Today’s post is of something that many never would have laid their eyes on before. It may strike you as very odd at first, but following this post you may realize just how common these wreaths are. We would like to share with you a little bit about the hair wreath in our collection. To make matters even more interesting, we actually happened upon a website for a museum in Missouri dedicated completely to hair art.
While the hair part may not sit very well with you, the wreath itself is quite a piece of art. It is intricately designed and put together – it just seems odd that it is made from someone’s hair. The hair for this wreath was from a relative of the artifact’s donor. Her hair was very long and as it loosened and was brushed out, it was kept in a container. When she passed, her daughter fastened the hair with beads and wire to make this wreath. A quote we have accompanying the artifact’s information suggests the commonness of this art, “The hair, sorted as to length and shade, was then woven into many different designs. Fine wire was used as a foundation for weaving flowers, stems and tendrils. Tiny beads were set in the flower centers." – Antiques Journal, May 1962.
As you can see, as strange as it may seem to, one – keep somebody’s hair, and two – make a piece of artwork out of it – the whole thing was fairly normal. In fact, there was a time when many pieces of jewelry were assembled from hair (we also have an earring made from hair!), and then worn by men and women alike. We were able to find out on the website for Leila’s Hair Museum why the wreath was made in a horseshoe shape and not completely enclosed - the open ends of the wreath allowed for more hair to be added in the event that the family grew. As mentioned above, the information that we have states that the wreath was made from the hair of the donor’s relative, but maybe it is actually a mixture of different family members’ hair.
|The hair wreath as part of the "Wayside Inn"
in our Steamship Exhibit
The best part of this whole thing? This hair wreath is on display as part of our Steamship Exhibit until the end of the summer! So, if you would like to check out this very odd, yet interesting artifact and some other neat objects you are welcome to stop in, as we are officially open this week! Our hours are Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm for the whole summer.