Archive for memento mori

Weird and Wacky design – Hair brained?

Posted in ART, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , , on March 5, 2010 by echostains


Victorian mourning brooch with hair picture

Hair is an important part of us.  When we are gone, we know that our hair will go on…. and on. The Victorians kept locks of their loved ones hair long after death and made it into mourning jewelry or ‘Mememto Mori ( remember you must die)  These included brooches, rings necklaces, pictures even earings!

mimi parent

But hair is now being used in ecology. This free home-grown commodity is also being used as art medium.   It’s not a new idea, Surrealist artist  Mimi Parent (b. 1924 – 2005 Montreal) used hair in her work.

hair chair by ronald thompson

Former London hairdresser Ronald Thompson,  has used clipping to make a hair chair which is very durable.  He is now researching uses for this free recyclable resource and predicts  that in the future clothing, boats and even mascara could be made of it!

The story of Carlos Sute, a small dwarf who amused himself after being marooned, by building himself a 3ft boat out of his own hair gave artist/hairdresser  Carlos Dimas the inspiration to make his own version (see the short video)

hair shoes

I don’t know quite what to make of these hair shoes though – seems a waste of hair to me.  I wonder if you shampoo condition and style them when they get dirty…..

dress made of human hair by a Croatian company in 2005

This hair dress must have taken a lot of work and used a lot of hair.  Glad to see that this trend hasn’t caught on yet… much be itchy?   

Images from a 2005 exhibition here

More bizarre things made from hair here

Fantastic Victorian and Georgian hair jewelry here

The article about Ronald Thompson here

Hair braid shoes images and others here


Altered art book page 13 continued: Danse Macabre

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2009 by echostains
Tarot death card

Tarot death card

Vanitas paintings take the form of still lifes, consisting of objects that symbolise death and love of human life and earthly pleasures.  The symbols used are mirrors, skulls, hourglasses, flowers, amongst others.  One of the most famous of the vanitas is Hans Holbein the Younger’s ‘The Ambassadors’.




The skewed skull in the corner provides a visual puzzle for the viewer.  The skull, books and musical instrument serve as a Memento Mori or vanitas.  In the ever burgeoning materialistic life we live now, I wonder what Memento Mori we would surround ourselves with now?  Perhaps designer clothes,  jewelry or labels?  A DVD or IPOD perhaps?  Are our earthly pleasures any different from the ones displayed in the Ambassadors painting?  We are still obsessed with material possessions and showing them off, so perhaps not…..

Altered art book page 13 A deadly reminder’

Posted in ART, MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2009 by echostains


page-13-altered book


page-13-altered book


The chosen words are: –

‘He listened to his father breathing’

‘And made plans for that lonliness’






The Egytians made plans for their  death.  They left nothing to chance.    Sometimes a whole lifetime was dedicated to their own rememberence:   Egypt is full of these reminders.


page13-skeleton detail


page13-skeleton detail


Memento Mori: this means ‘Remember you will die’ or ‘Be mindful of death‘.  The symbols associated with this reminder of mortality are skulls, clocks, hourglasses, flowers. Sometimes wine, books, musical instruments.   served as ‘vanities’, a reminder of worldly pleasures.



‘and made plans for that loneliness’

What does this mean though?  Does it mean coming to terms with eventual death? It could mean a physical reminder that lives on when we are no more. Surely we live on in the hearts of people who love  us?  Why would we need a tangible reminder?

p13-skeleton detail2

p13-skeleton detail2

Sometimes a place or a memorial can act as a focus.  Like a gravestone, a grave, somewhere we can feel close to the person, as well as a written reminder for others, that our loved ones existed: a way of them living forever: enjoying everlasting life.  On a large scale, the Taj Mahal, India  reminds the world of the undying love of Shahjahan and his beautiful queen Mumtaz.


taj mahal


taj mahal


One of the Ancient Wonders of the Old World was The Mausoleum of Helicarnassus, Bodrum Turkey.  It started out as a memorial for the Persian King Mausolus, by his wife/sister Artimisia.  But when she died, became a mixture of all different styles as artist continued with their own ideas.


mausoleum-bodrum-halicarnassus turkey


mausoleum-bodrum-halicarnassus turkey


Media used; ink, card, gem stone, silk flower, fabric,organza ribbon (wings) and handmade paper stamped with vercemark and chalked.

to be continued……