A social and aesthetic experiment – could human hair be a sustainable textile resource?
HairVest is an experiment concerned with the feasibility of implementing human hair as a sustainable textile resource.
Hair is a renewable resource, which does not require arable land nor produce a carbon footprint. Compared to commercially traded hair the varied properties of hair salon cut-offs may pose significant challenges for processing. The advantage though is that it is a waste product with limited ethical risk associated.
The hairVest blog is created to gather information around hair and chart the research process and it acts as a medium to interact with the public and researchers/artists working in this field. The project includes endeavours to to source hair for creating textile samples and carrying out surveys to test what might convince individuals to donate hair and use textiles made from hair.
Check out the blog articles on hairVest.
Hair has been used by modern and contemporary artists, some work directly addressing themes ranging from (gender) identity, to the relationship between the collective and the individual, and control and standardisation. Designers have started to explore hair as a recycled material to create furniture and accessories, and as an evocative material of shock-value.
The aim of this project is to map the field, questioning a) the design implications both in terms of functionality and aesthetics, b) the likelihood of hair being accepted as a textile from a user-centered social perspective and c) the usability of hair as a textile from a material-safety perspective.
HairVest is currently hibernating due to a growing number of other commitments. I do hope to continue sharing my musings on textile material culture on the blog.