Artist Revives Lost Art of Hairwork: Creating jewelry using human and animal hair.

One hundred years ago it was common for women to make and wear jewelry made from a loved ones hair. The art is almost lost today, but artist Katie Mello hopes to revive the art by creating pieces from shorter hair, and pet fur.

(PRWEB) August 24, 2004 -- The use of human hair in art and jewelry was popularized more than one hundred and fifty years ago yet remains mostly forgotten today. In Victorian times, it was common for a woman to wear a brooch constructed from her own hair and for a man to carry his watch on a chain made from a lock of his wife's hair. A Civil War soldier could have a bit of his hair woven into a locket to be treasured by his loved ones. And when a loved one died, a wreath could be constructed containing flowers crafted from the hair of the deceased. This is the art of hairwork, in which artist Katie Mello seeks to rekindle widespread interest.
Hairwork fell out of fashion in the beginning of the 1900's. As photography became more accessible to the masses, pictures of loved ones soon replaced locks of hair as tokens of remembrance. Today, as we are bombarded with a multitude of images still and moving, a lock of hair becomes something precious once again.
The art of hairwork shares a similar history with knitting and other needlework. Women created beautiful pieces in their spare time using knowledge and skill passed down through oral tradition. They rarely documented patterns or instructions thereby contributing to hairwork's lost art status.
Katie Mello trained as a metalsmith and was fascinated by the idea of jewelry made from human hair. After an exhaustive search, it was through the Internet that she found her first examples of quality hairwork. The Hairwork Society website contains a wealth of valuable information about hairwork, its history, and people still creating it today. Eventually Katie was able to purchase antique pieces of hairwork jewelry, most of which were created in the 1800's. After examining these pieces, she was able to begin creating her own hairwork jewelry.
Hair is a medium like no other. It has properties of both thread and wire and if cared for properly can last well over one hundred years. It is free, and yet irreplaceable.
Katie Mello has begun offering custom made hairwork through her own website In an effort to update the art, she creates stylish pieces from pet hair as well as human hair. Katie has three cats and understands the bond people can have with their pets. Hairwork is a wonderful way to keep a loved one near and a personal expression to keep a memory alive. In a frantic society, with families separated by distance and kids going off to war, it is important to keep your family close to your heart. also offers a history of hairwork jewelry along with photos of antique works.

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