Marlys Fladeland -Founder Victorian Hairwork Society

Hello Everyone
I  want to thank everyone that has contributed information to the Victorian Hairwork Society website.
Marlys Fladeland

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!!!)
On my last trip to Iowa, I traveled through the Midwest in search of my new found love, dragging my husband from antique stores to antique malls. Eventually, worn out like a bad old hair piece, he retired to the motorhome to tip tea and work on his tan. Oh well...abandoned like a box of hair,  I still managed to meet many fine folks along the way. Some never heard of hairwork. Others, like Jerry in Amana, Iowa, an avid collector, informed me about the wonderful museums and the many others whom had an interest in the art.  This stimulated my interest even more and so my adventure continued.

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!!.

I have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl and 4 grandchildren. What a wonderful gift of love!!!
(time to grow my hair long...)

Truly,
Marlys Fladeland


Glamour photo compliments of my 34 year old daughter for my 50th birthday....
Boy what an art form and feat that was....

Contact Marlys 

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