Class: The Victorian Art of Hair Jewelry with Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann

With Art Historian and Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann
Sunday, January 13
(***SOLD OUT; email morbidanatomy [at] to be added to wait list)
Time: 12 - 4 PM
Admission: $75

This class is part of The Morbid Anatomy Art Academy

Hair jewelry was an enormously popular form of commemorative art that began in the late 17th century and reached its zenith during the Victorian Era. Hair, either of someone living or deceased, was encased in metal lockers or woven to enshrine the human relic of a loved one. This class will explore a modern take on the genre.

The technique of “palette working” or arranging hair in artful swoops and curls will be explored and a variety of ribbons, beads, wire and imagery of mourning iconography will be supplied for potential inclusion. A living or deceased person or pet may be commemorated in this manner.

Students are requested to bring with them to class their own hair, fur, or feathers; all other necessary materials will be supplied. Hair can be self-cut, sourced from barber shops or hair salons (who are usually happy to provide you with swept up hair), from beauty supply shops (hair is sold as extensions), or from wig suppliers. Students will leave class with their own piece of hair jewelry and the knowledge to create future projects.

Hairy Secrets: Human Relic as Memory Object in Victorian Mourning Jewelry is a series which will explore in lectures and a workshop the history of the preservation of human remains for reasons sacred and profane, culminating in the flowering of Victorian hair art mourning jewelry, or jewelry which incorporates the hair of the beloved dead.

Lecture One: “Speaking Reliquaries” and Christian Death Rituals (January 17, 8:00 PM)
Lecture Two: The History of the Memento Mori and Death’s Head Iconography (January 24, 8:00 PM)
Lecture Three: The Victorian Love Affair with Death and the Art of Mourning Hair Jewelry and Morbid Anatomy Going Away Party (February 8, 8:00 PM)
Workshop: Victorian Hair Jewelry Workshop with Master Jeweler Karen Bachmann (January 13, 12:00 PM & February 5, 7:00 PM)

Karen Bachmann is a fine jeweler with over 25 years experience, including several years on staff as a master jeweler at Tiffany & Co. She is a Professor in the Jewelry Design Dept at Fashion Institute of Technology as well as the School of Art & Design at Pratt Institute. She has recently completed her MA in Art History at SUNY Purchase with a thesis entitled Hairy Secrets:… In her downtime she enjoys collecting biological specimens, amateur taxidermy and punk rock.

Comments are closed.