Hair

Hair

Hair covers most of our bodies, although now that our society has evolved we do not need most of it. Also, as we often shed this hair, or get it cut, alot goes to waste. With the growing worldwide population, this also means that hair is becoming more abundant. The UK alone disposes of around 6.5 million kilograms of human hair waste annually. Human hair consists of 95% keratin, a fibrous structural protein. As a material it is extremely strong, with one human hair able to hold up to 100 grams of weight. This along with its insulating properties, flexibility, and light weight, make it a wonder material. So although many people may be disgusted by the idea of reusing human hair, could it be a viable alternative material to use. And should we begin to change our mentality towards materials, in order to become truly environmentally sustainable.

 

Studio Swine


Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of London-based Studio Swine have created natural resin to infuse hair as an alternative to wood and plastic. The duo create projects with strong narratives. Looking at new sustainable materials, all with a focus around craft and tradition. Hair Highway began during a creative residency in China, and is named after the famous, Silk Road. They created a number of objects using the process, such as, glasses, combs and jewellery boxes. The materials act as an alternative to unsustainable, and unethical, materials such as tortoise shell or horn. By choosing recognisable, and fashionable, forms they aim to open people’s minds to the environmental benefits of hair as a material, and turn away from the disgust factor. The non-toxic resin that covers the hair is made using a process that they created, deriving from pine trees. This is poured over the hair in a mould before curing. The final objects have the look of amber, and act like plastic, and were constructed using traditional techniques.

 

 

Sanne Visser


Sanne Visser is a designer who uses hair as a material. Her project, The New Age of Trichology, explores the potential of hair as a raw material. By choosing hair as an alternative material she hopes it will reduce waste and the pressure on non-renewable materials. For the project utilitarian objects were created using a circular system, which was explored for this new waste stream. The hair is collected, and at the end of the products use can go back into nature through composting. Existing craft techniques were used to create objects from human hair fibres, which included, spinning and rope making.

On average, one human hair can hold up to 100 grams of weight.But this depends on the person’s diet, health, environment, ethnicity and treatment of hair. Meaning that a whole head of hair could withstand a weight of 12 tonnes. Therefore Visser designed a swing with rope made from human hair to showcase its strength, proving it is a viable material source. A 22mm rope, using human waste hair was produced, accompanied by wood offcuts.

References:
Studio Swine
Sanne Visser