We usually think of sculptures as solid structures, but sometimes artists prefer to challenge themselves by using more delicate materials than wood or metal.
Boston-based Jenine Shereos is one such sculptor who creates her pieces using possibly the most light-weight means we’ve ever seen – human hair.
With it she weaves these incredibly delicate leaves, creating something beautiful out of something we normally find a little repulsive.
“I first began working on the leaf series about three years ago,” Shereos explained to us via email.
“While hiking in Northern California, I came across a number of leaf skeletons that I collected and kept in my studio.
“The intricate line-work in the venation of the leaves reminded me so much of hair! I had worked with hair in the past, and wanted to explore it further both as material and metaphor.”
So that explains the inspiration – but how on earth does anyone make sculptures using hair?
“To create each leaf, I start by forming the primary vein structures by grouping strands of hair together and wrapping them together with another strand of hair against a water-soluble backing.
“I then sew in the details, threading each individual strand of hair into a needle and securing it to the needle with a knot. At each point where one strand of hair intersects with another, I stitch a tiny knot, so that when the backing is dissolved, the entire piece is able to hold its form.
“Even though hair is such a fragile material, it holds together quite well using this technique and the leaves are surprisingly strong.”
Shereos says that people usually respond first of all to the “obsessiveness of the work”, but insists there is more to her leaf series than just a wow factor.
“I think people respond to the level of time and care that has gone into them, and this hopefully leads the viewer to invest in thinking about them conceptually.
“There is of course the attraction/ repulsion juxtaposition. Hair is seen as attractive and even luxurious when it is on one’s head, and at the same time repulsive or off-putting when found as a single strand apart from the head.”
What do you think? Attractive or repulsive?