I’ve always had a little thing for hair. Twirling it. Fiddling with it. My mom says that when I was really little and didn’t have much hair of my own I’d twirl her hair around my fingers; and that when I got a little older, I’d sit watching my post-nap favorite My Little Pony movie twirling my own hair while drinking my chocolate milk. This memory is apparently so poignant to her, that last summer when she caught me absent-mindedly winding my finally long-enough-to-play-with (post super short pixie chop) hair around my fingers in the car she teared up. She’s probably all misty-eyed reading about it right now. It’s ok, that’s just the way she rolls.
It’s not just me. Certainly not. Hair is such a personal, tender thing. Just think about the butterflies you get when someone you care about brushes a hair off of your face. These are some of the sentiments that inspire Melanie Bilenker’s beautiful jewelry of images she renders with, you guessed it, hair:
“The Victorians kept lockets of hair and miniature portraits painted with ground hair and pigment to secure the memory of a lost love. In much the same way, I secure my memories through photographic images rendered in lines of my own hair, the physical remnants. I do not reproduce events, but quiet minutes, the mundane, the domestic, the ordinary moments.”
The amount of work and detail she puts into each piece is absolutely stunning – it’s no wonder she creates only a few pieces each year. I don’t know why but it just seems to add such an additional measure of meaning to those little moments you have captured in your mind. Moments you wish you had actual photographs of, maybe a perfectly detailed illustration, a movie, a soundtrack for that moment, maybe a smell. The moments that mean so much even when they seem so simple. To have it created in hair, conceivably their hair.. would just lay memory on top of memory.
I’m thinking it would be lovely/interesting if you could commission a piece that’s a portrait or some other sort of image/memory of a loved one created with that person’s hair. Wedding bands with designs created in the other’s hair…..
Oh, there goes my mind a-twirling. Regardless of those little mind-wanderings, the pieces are simply gorgeous as is.
Some available for purchase at Sienna Gallery.