Shadowboxed Victorian Hair Art
Hair is at once the most delicate and lasting of our materials, and survives us, like love. It is so light, so gentle, so escaping from the idea of death, that with a lock of hair belonging to a child or friend, we may almost look up to heaven and compare notes with the angelic nature-may almost say, "I have a piece of thee here, not unworthy of thy being now."
The Godey's Lady's Book of May 1855
Appealing to the tendency among Victorian women to incorporate the importance of friends and family into their work, hair served as a tangible remembrance of someone. Often, close companions exchanged hair as tokens of friendship. Hair was also sometimes taken after a person’s death as a means of honor and remembrance.
Hair art was common throughout the Victorian era. Complex wreaths, simple lockets, elaborate bracelets, toothpick holders, earrings and every other manner of decoration were made from hair. Hair art was used for a variety of functions from recording family history to tokens of affection exchanged between lovers. Naturally, hair art also became a popular means to memorialize loved ones who had passed on. Mourning jewelry created with hair was intensely popular because it did not violate the strict code of conduct Victorian society imposed upon the conduct and dress of grieving persons. In this capacity hair art is best remembered. The hair of individuals and sometimes entire families can still be found intricately crafted and solemnly tucked behind glass frames or behind jeweler's cases at antique stores.
There is a museum Leila's Hair Museum in Independance MO