London-based artist Kerry Howley revisits a traditional jewelry technique with thought-provoking results.
Neckpiece by Kerry Howley
Middlesex University art student Kerry Howley recently unveiled a surprising collection of necklaces woven out of human hair. The pieces, which are meant to resemble the intricate patterns of wallpaper, play on our longstanding fascination with hair, which, the artist says, both attracts and repels us. By weaving human strands into symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing designs, she makes a thoughtful statement about what things we value as beautiful, and why.
Of course, hair jewelry is nothing new; the Victorians often employed human strands in jewelry, most often in mourning jewelry, which allowed the wearer to preserve the locks of the departed. Some modern fans are even keeping the trend alive, as with this contemporary human hair wreath:
See more at the Victorian Hairwork Society, if you’re inclined!
In contrast to Victorian hairwork, Kerry’s pieces have a bold, contemporary look that seems deliberately challenging. I’ve posted more below — what do you think?