Student Museum Musings: Hair Wreaths

By Caitlan M., Summer Student

Since starting here as a co-op student in 2013 I always found the hair wreath in the parlour intriguing. To me, hair wreaths and jewelry are just some of the coolest things, slightly creepy since its human hair but cool. The one thing that I find most intriguing about these is the process involved. Just from looking at one you can kind of get an idea that there is a way of braiding the hair but I was never 100% sure.

970.49.5 – Hair Wreath on display in the Henry House Parlour

Back in June I found out about the Self Instructor in the Art of Hair Work: Dressing Hair, Making Curls, Switches, Braids and Hair Jewelry of Every Description by Mark Campbell which can be found online to read (I highly recommend giving this book a read if you would like to know more about the braids). Campbell’s book goes into detail on pretty much every braid possible for hair jewelry or wreaths, even down to how many strands of hair is needed for each braid. I spent a good couple days reading this book; I even gave the very first braid, Square Chain Braid, a try using yarn and cardboard since I figured yarn would be a better start of figuring the braid out rather than with hair (plus I had no volunteers who had long enough hair). It was a bit difficult but I think I have the idea of how it would be done with hair.

Lastly I found out that there are four different techniques used: table work, palette work, sepia painting and hair flowers. I will be going into more detail about these different ways in our July edition of our monthly podcast coming out Wednesday July 13.

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