Saturday, May 29, 2010

victorian hair flower workshop

last weekend i took a workshop on how to make victorian hair flowers. it took place in "leila's hair museum" in independence, mo, and was taught by leila herself.
we started out with "flatwork". basically like decoupaging with hair - also has a bit of paint by numbers quality. here is a detail from my flatwork project.
it's like hair veneer!

then we moved into learning the basic "stitches" of hair flower construction. i did not made these "gimp" stitches, this just shows what it's suppose to look like and to show how small it can be...just wait until you see my attempt. are a couple stitches i made - the "fold" & "loop". for all the stitches, they look different depending on how much hair you use and the length.
now if i made a ton of these, i could make 1 flower. ha.

here's the ATTEMPT at the "gimp". it's the most used stitch as far as i can tell and i'm totally determined to master it! my first attempts are really not so good. it's wrapped around different size knitting, crochet, or darning needles, and are wired stitched together. once again, each different size needle used & amount of hair will change the look. you can use really small amounts of hair: 2 -4 stands. i could never get the wire tight enough!
now for the pros...
i was able to take some photos in the museum. the quality is not the best because they're all under glass, but you'll get the idea. here are a few of my favorite wreaths. this one is GIANT!

a few details from the above wreath. there are some extra beads here and there that make up some of the centers of the flowers.
a more fine line wreath. it's unique in that every single flower in this one is different. only 4-6 hairs were used in each petal.
this one is made completely from dyed horse hair - in theory it was made by a native american woman. i really do love the color and it makes me want to get my hands on some horse hair.
a detail of the dyed horse hair. it almost looks like fishing line in person.
leila took a picture of me in the museum... it's a bit blurry, but it gives an idea of how large her collection is. the entire museum(2 rooms) is covered floor to ceiling with wreaths.
this will be an ongoing project for me!


Cinderelish said...

And I thought knitting was hard. I hope you were able to see the hair of Mary, mother of Jesus.

Miss K said...


I enjoyed your post! Do you know what type of glue they used to make the hair look like veneer?

meredith host said...

good old elmers glue!

Miss K said...

Really? And they just laid it out and glued?? I've been studying hairwork for a little bit (and your post was incredibly helpful!) and that is the one process I just couldn't quite understand. Doesn't it stick to things?? And instructions from the time period are soooo vague...


meredith host said...

hey kristen-
we laid the hair strips out on tin foil and coated it with the elmers glue. the strips peeled right off once it was dry. good luck! -meredith-

pam said...

This place looks amazing ! Where is it?

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