A beautiful example!
I am a firm believer that working only on one project at a time can be exhausting. Hairwork is certainly a field of study in itself, and eventually I'd like to add pieces to my etsy shop. First I must research! Today I gathered my tools in anticipation of what I hoped to be a successful day of crafting.
Larissa, one of my fellow reenactors, gave me her hair to practice!
One of the first things I've noticed while researching hairwork is that several of the tools they used are not quite as common today. Gum arabic is now used for painting, and I wasn't exactly sure if I bought the right kind. Also, I bought a doll's curling iron, since the irons they used back then were actually heated over the fire (unlike our modern, deadly use of electric curling irons).
The first technique I've tried is called a gimp. It is commonly used as flowers, but today I wanted to do a simple strand of embroidery thread to practice. I will post a more detailed group of pictures in the future, though this should give you an idea of what I am doing.
Note the thin wire gently wrapped around each thread loop
It looked very nice on the metal rod. Unfortunately it had to come OFF the metal rod. When I did so, of course it did not look quite so nice. *Sigh
What little I could salvage!
Not to be discouraged, I tried again with actual hair...and promptly made a large mess. I didn't take any photos because I then became discouraged. Quite discouraged. Extra discouraged.
I was tempted to stop right there. One thing I've learned throughout this process is that I will make many mistakes, and practice makes perfect! So I set out to try the Prince Albert's curl, in honor of Queen Victoria's beloved husband.
I hope he wasn't watching...
I warmed up the doll curling iron by clipping it on another iron. I then burnt my hands considerably trying to curl the darn piece of hair. I'm quite a novice at hairdressing in general, so perhaps jumping straight to hair jewelry was ambitious.
In any case, I moved on to glop on some gum arabic, which quickly took out the curl. I suppose there's a reason the directions say to "apply lightly." Thank you hairwork book...
How did they make that? How?!?
I decided to add a little bow to the piece, and back the hair with a light cotton. A few months ago I bought a shipment of little windowpane charms, so I stuck the finished piece in there.
It would take a saint to make this so well!
I will take it out later and replace it with a better piece before I give it to Larissa. This was my very first one, so I'm hoping the next will be an improvement. Before I finish, I should write down a few of my observations:
1. Be patient.
2. Hair is messy. It will move in EVERY direction.
3. You must have the proper tools, or nothing will work.
4. Plan on nothing working the first 10 times you try this.
5. Research is a process.
I will try to work on my hair jewelry more so that I may tack it on to my next post!