Wednesday, May 16, 2012

HGA "Small Expressions" Winner

The winners of the Handweaver's Guild of America's "Small Expressions" annual exhibit have been announced. 

I don't have the artist's permission to post a photograph of the winning piece, so I'll only link to it.

But I did want to post about it, and give it a shout-out, because it is phenonmenal.  And all kinds of inspiring. 

First Place in HGA's 2012 Small Expressions goes to Jenine Shereos of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.  The peice is entitled Leaves and is made entirely of human hair.  She uses
wrapping, stitching, and knotting techniques to create the ephemeral skeletons of leaves.


I love the idea of using human hair in textile (or mixed media) art.  When and if she ever cuts them off, I plan on turning my Breda's long long dreads into something amazing and powerful.  The Darlin'Man's (shorter) dreads are waiting for an artistic hand.  Either he will use them in a carved mask, or I will use them in a tapestry.  

I love the idea of art being the telling of a story.  Storytelling in all its form is powerful powerful stuff.   What better way to tell our own stories than through our own bodies as the medium?  This is why I do theatre.

In many cultures, creation myths are told in the form of stories about weaving or about spinning.  Spinning takes a fluff of 'nothing' - a puff of wool - and turns it into useful and beautiful thread.  Weaving takes thread and turns it into structure and form.  Weaving is also used as a metaphor for fate or destiny, that the cloth that is woven defines the fate of the thread. 
I love the idea of using hair as thread and entering into this mythic discussion.  Hair is something that is our own, that is literally created by us, out of 'nothing' in the same way that plants create themselves out of sunlight. 

I think of fairy tales like Rapunzel and Rumplestiltskin, and about one I read years ago where the maiden wins (back?) the love of the king by weaving him a scarf out of her hair. I think of folk tales like that of the Crane Wife.   I conceive of performance art peices where my hands weave while my hair is fed into the warp - it would probably necessitate extensions, as it isn't THAT long - so that I am both the weaver and the woven. 


  1. wow, those are incredible. Skeletol leaves are mesmeric anyway but the idea of someone making one. How are they made? are they woven on a frame. I cant imagine how to start. In my head the only way to tackle it would be using needle lace.

    1. It looks like it wouldn't have been made on a loom, but more free form kinda like needle lace... I've never done needle lace, but from the description of techniques she uses - wrapping, knotting, stitching - it sounds like it may very well be something pretty similar. I've seen wrapping and knotting used on really large scale peices, and in more functional stuff like baskets and what not, but done this small its pretty incredible, isn't it?