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Embroidery Using Hair

By October 13, 2011

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Embroidery using human hair has been around for a while, and was especially popular during the Victorian era when women would collect hair from their friends and family members to create elaborate 3-dimensional floral embroideries.

Using hair as thread is also a popular art form in China, where it is known as known also as moxiu or black ink embroidery (although colors other than black are currently being used to embroider these pieces today.

Columbian artist Zaira Pulido has taken embroidery with hair to a hip, pop culture level, creating beautiful portraits using hair instead of embroidery thread. You can see more of her amazing work here.


October 14, 2011 at 9:20 am
(1) cathartes says:

Very odd. A few things I find interesting is there’s no obvious sketch/outline for the design. Do they just stitch and adjust as they go? And why do they have so many individual hairs going at once. It would get confusing for me to have so many loose ends on my fabric not to mention tangles. LOL In the US where people dye their hair all different colors, we could almost rival DMC in color choices.

June 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm
(2) Jennie says:

Hi, I have an old piece that my mother in law said was embroidered with hair by one of her relatives in the earl 1900s. It is in bad shape and I would like to get it restored and properly reframed. Do you have any idea where I would begin? Also, would like to find out if it has any vaule. Do you have any suggestions?

June 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm
(3) embroidery says:

Hi Jennie,
Thanks for the message – that is a VERY good question! Let me dig around and see what I can come up with. It might be difficult finding someone who can make the necessary repairs, as hair is not something that is worked with much these days, except for a few contemporary artists. From what I understand, hair embroidery does not have much value unless it is in top condition. Restoration may actually decrease its value, depending on the piece. Would it be possible to have you share a photo with us? You can send it via email to me at embroidery.guide@about.com. Perhaps other readers can help find someone that does this type of restoration work. Another terrific option would be to post in the Embroidery Forum.

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