Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hair textiles

More textiles in this post, and specifically textiles made with human hair. The first work (3 photos) is called Death Closes All, from 2000. It was exhibited in the Furr show at Kudos Gallery. This was an early experiment, and only has a very thin central warp (of linen), with the unspun hair just placed in the warp and flowing out the sides, and sometimes relooping back into the warp. It was about 3-4 metres long (3 pieces of different lengths were sewn together) and was hung down the wall, and flowed onto the floor.

This was the first major hair weaving that I made. It's a very thick yarn of hand-spun hair which I had collected from hair salons in the area. All the early hair works used anonymous hair grouped together to suggest an unidentified group. This work is Human, All-Too Human. I did write about it in this post, but that photo was actually the back of the work! Here are some closer detailed images. It's about 200x50cm, so very difficult to get all in one shot.

This piece has never been exhibited. It's another one-off experiment. I used some of the hair I had spun for weaving (when it was still quite chunky - before I refined my technique), and used a basket-weaving technique to make this small (10x8cm) nest. I then tried to mat some of the hair together, making it more like a dreadlock, and therefore more stable.

This small weaving is a similar technique to the first work in that the hair hasn't been spun into a yarn. I separated the hairs, then picked up a bunch and used them as a weft. There are still hairs coming out randomly from the sides, but most of them are contained by the warp. This was never exhibited either, but was a test piece for a commission for a local hair salon (a relationship which rather ended badly over price!).

This piece was one of the first after I had learned to make a slimmer yarn, and when conceptually I wanted the hair of the various donors to be differentiated. I've almost always used a twill weave for the hair pieces (when you can see a diagonal line running through the weaving). For this experiment I used a reverse twill, so with each new colour I changed the direction of the twill. This piece is about 20x20cm.

This was another experiment from the same period, trying to work out the width for my Six Degrees series. I ended up going with a thinner weave to make the most of the hair I had.

This is another early piece, with early not-very-good photography! It was a transition work, one of the first with the thinner yarn. I'm not sure what happened to this work. I may have framed and sold it. If anyone has it, please let me know!

I think this one sold. And this may actually qualify as the first hair weaving. I think it was an off-loom test piece for what eventually became Human, All-Too Human above. It's the same thick and chunky yarn. Location also unknown. This is probably from 1999 or 2000.

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