I thought it only appropriate to introduce myself and tell my story ...so here it goes!.
I met my fiancée' and moved to Utah from Iowa 4 years ago (1993). Eric is a hobbyist bead worker, an Indian art collector and a avid mountain man.We attend rendezvous several times a year. Even though I enjoy these pre-1840's events, I never seemed to find my niche. I didn't have an Indian spirit nor a mountain man desire, so my search to belong began.
When my mother passed away she had left a small box of sparkling brooches from the 30's and 40's. As I lovingly held each piece I could only remember the warmth of her love and the pain of her passing. I became intrigued with the pieces and wondered as well if they might be of any value. Having never been a collector, I purchased three books on antique jewelry.(one of which is "Old Jewelry" by C.Jeanenne Bell). When I found the information and photo's on hairwork in her book, I became quite fascinated. I truly had never heard of Victorian hairwork and wondered why anyone would want to collect dead peoples hair!. Eventually I knew and from that point on my mothers jewelry became secondary. I had found my niche in the 19th century.
My fascination soon turned to obsession. As a new
enthusiasts I searched for information only to find very little on the true origins
of the craft, (basically the where, when and how's) and nothing that would lead me to
a group of enthusiasts with similar interests. Since, my trade is internet website
development, I turned to the web for help. Initially, nothing of real significance was
found there either. My first true lead was an article from my friend Tonya . It was
written by Ruth Gordon for Piecework magazine (March/April 1996).
From that article, I contacted Ruth and also the publisher (Jules and
Kaethe Kliot) of the reprinted 1875 book The Art of Hairwork. Kaethe, gave me
the connection to Joanna Svensson in Sweden, whom then connected me to Erika Borbos. I
also contacted Jeanenne Bell and with all the gathered information I founded what is now
the Victorian Hairwork Society.
The start of my collection began in an antique shop
in Manitou Springs, Co. Eric was the one who spotted the lovely two strand watchfob with
the amber stone. I probably paid to much but I didn't care, now I had a purpose.(Oh,God,
imagine shopping with a purpose...Terrifying picture!!!)
Since nothing was formally published on the Internet, I started the website with wonderful success and have now been introduced to all you wonderful hairwork collectors. From hairworkers to dealers, collectors to Historians, the site continues to grow. I wish to enhance my collection, expand my knowledge and offer as much collective information as available to all you fine folks. Please continue your efforts to revive and restore the art by joining the Victorian Hairwork Society. Keep the collecting spirit alive in your heart and cherishing the keepsakes of your loved ones.
As I study hairwork, I'm not only fascinated by the
art form itself, but by the spirit that moves me knowing that a living memorial for future
generations and myself is possible in such a beautiful, almost spiritual form.....I only
wish I had a clip of mothers hair!!.