Since I’m writing this on Halloween (though you won’t see the blog for a couple of days) I want to introduce you to a slightly morbid Victorian art form – hair wreaths.
Not flower or leaf wreaths for your hair; not even an ornament made to wrap around a woman’s bun. I mean hair—woven into wreaths. Hair of a deceased family member or close friend, to be precise. A little creepy, isn’t it?!
In the Victorian age, the hair of the deceased was woven into a wreath to hang in the house as a memento, a form of mourning. And, of course, they didn’t stop with wreaths. Hair was made into wearable ornaments–bracelets, brooches, pins, watch chains, even buttons. Godey’s Lady’s Book even included instructions on this art form.
Then Sear’s got into the act, advertising hair wreaths, with the caveat that the hair you receive may not be the hair you sent. With out the sentimental connection, the art died out.
To be fair, it wasn’t only for mourning that hair was clipped and woven. Hair was taken from living friends and relatives, too. According to Leila Cohoon, of Leila’s Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri, it was “a way of keeping track of families, before the camera was invented…” [See more at: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11479#sthash.kwhXbEdo.dpuf; or http://www.leilashairmuseum.net/index.html.]
Now, I’m not creeped out by keeping hair. A snip of hair in a locket or a lock woven into a watch chain sounds normal, even sentimental. But a wreath to hang on the wall? Nope, couldn’t go there.
How about you? Creepy or creative?