A Braider’s Tour of Europe

Instructor: Carolyn Oliver-Haushalter

Seeing a hair braided piece a few years ago sparked my interest in making these sometimes overlooked braids into contemporary jewelry. In this class, we will make four Victorian Hair braids using hand methods and on a foam disk. We will use a mix of materials (no hair), including beads for our samples. At the end of 19th Century all the buzz in the braiding world centered on European hair braiding and straw-plaiting techniques. Usually made to memorialize a loved one, mourning jewelry made from human hair was not uncommon and was popular with women who would wear the resulting jewelry as a brooch or as bracelets and men who would use the braids as a watch fob. Straw-plaiting was used to make hats and ornaments and it provided an income for hundreds of thousands of people in Europe from the 1600’s either as cottage crafts or in a factory setting. By the 1970’s it had almost died out.

Kit: $20.00, includes Foam kumihimo disk, Counterweight

Equipment provided by the student: Bead mat, board, or tray, Scissors, Needle, and thread

Supply list: Complete list provided in September

Skill Level: This course is open to students of all skill levels and no prior knowledge of European braids is necessary.