Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

Artist's Hair is Her Medium

 by Danielle Maestretti

Tags: Arts, visual art, hair art, jewelry, Melanie Bilenker, Broken Pencil,

Drawing a Bath

When you think of “hair art,” you probably don’t imagine the beautiful, delicate jewelry of Melanie Bilenker, who creates tiny line drawings using locks of her own hair, then casts them into brooches, pendants, and rings. The new issue of Broken Pencil hipped me to Bilenker, whose inspiration lies with the Victorians, who “kept lockets of hair and miniature portraits painted with ground hair and pigment to secure the memory of a lost love,” she explains on her website. “In much the same way, I secure my memories through photographic images rendered in lines of my own hair, the physical remnants.”

Buttoning a Shirt

One of the most striking things about Bilenker’s work is what memories she chooses to capture—“quiet minutes, the mundane, the domestic, the ordinary moments.” Moments like stepping into the bathtub, rifling around in the fridge, buttoning a shirt, tending to plants. It’s moving, somehow, to see such mundane moments so lovingly rendered.

Source: Broken Pencil

Images courtesy of Melanie Bilenker.