Since the lockdown, many of us are in a holding pattern when it comes to tending to our locks. With hair cuts on hold, we find ourselves harassed by the overgrowth of tresses sprouting from our heads. Let’s say that in a fit of pique, you grab the scissors. Rather than tossing the severed hair away, perhaps it’s an opportunity for a little DIY.
During the Victorian Era, there is a good chance that the wreath you hung on your door wasn’t made of pine bows and ribbons. It could have been made from hair. Yep…HAIR.
In this edition of Radio Chipstone, Terry Boyd who is a Professor Emeritus in Design Studies at UW-Madison tells contributor gianofer fields that while it may ring of the macabre, hair wreaths were much more than decorative objects.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in decorative arts.
About the Guest:
Terry Boyd is a Professor Emeritus in Design Studies at UW-Madison. The hair wreath in question is part of a collection in the School of Human Ecology. In the recent past, her work has focused on Frank Lloyd Wright, as a guest scholar and lecturer at both Taliesin West and the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. She has served on the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Review Board, Madison Trust for Historic Preservation, and consulted on the restoration of projects.
Image: A Victorian-era hair wreath from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the School of Human Ecology. “Hair Wreath,” 1850-1870, U.S., glass, human hair, wire, HLATC #1995.05.001. Acquired from the Wisconsin State Historical Society.
This segment comes, in part, from the Radio Chipstone Archives of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. See here.