Human hair sampler

Monday, October 26, 2009

My husband celebrated his 40th birthday recently and I was keen to sew something for him but was at pains to find something that would really appeal. So many of the things I do are not always suitable for men. It also had to be unique and ideally not cost too much money. Many years ago we had seen a cross stitch at a museum in Witney, Oxfordshire done by a little girl at the Foundling Hospital in London using her own hair. She had sewn a 'sampler' into her underskirt the result was astounding. We were struck by the poignance of this beautiful piece of work. So I decided to undertake my own cross stitch using my hair for him.

After choosing a poem I started to chart out the script onto grid paper. I used a piece of linen with quite a small cube to work in the tiny stitches were very hard to execute and I almost went blind in the process, however it does look very effective. I used four strands of my hair, anything else appeared too washed out. I have to be honest with you this was a labour of love which I have worked on for the past eight months. Hair is quite tricky to work with as it can slip around a bit and the more tired you are (I only work at night) the harder it becomes!

The effect is amazing though, and needless to say he was suitably impressed. I hope you enjoy it too and anyone out there interested in trying it themselves please feel free to contact me for any words of wisdom and encouragement.


Meg said...

I remember you doing it at Taralga and being in awe. Now I am, doubly.

It is so beautiful!

Nicola said...

Dear Hen,

Needless to say your hair sampler looks absolutely beautiful, as do all your amazing original creations. And what a labour of love - I feel certain I would have ended up bald had I attempted such a feat! You are so clever Hen, love Nic

Kate said...

I cannot believe Meg never told me about this project, it is AMAZING. How on earth could you keep it a secret for so long? Wow, I might have to come back for another look tomorrow after I have thought about it for a while.
Love Kate (Meg's big sister)

Permapoesis said...

this is a perfect example of 'slow text'. i'd like to see one of your own poems rendered now. perhaps next winter? beautiful work hen.

Let's go Toto said...

Thanks for your gorgeous comments. Whilst I would love to 'render' my own poem, poetry has never been my strong suit maybe you could assist in providing one of yours? It would be a fabulous collaboration.


Permapoesis said...

aha, just saw this. wld love to hen. i have one just finished which is 500 words, though that might be a bit of a strain. i'd love you do this little poem in slow text.

Let's go Toto said...

PJ, would love to do this little poem, it is prefect for the medium. The 500 word poem might be a little more than my scalp can cope with! h