My relationship with the Eastern Grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) scampering around my urban garden is constantly evolving. Several years ago, I became curious as to what it would be like to be a squirrel, and have fur on my face. Subsequently, I started saving my hair that would come out on the days I wash my hair. This type of hair loss is totally normal, and you can lose between 50-100 hairs a day. After each wash, I would roll the strands that came loose between my fingers into individual hair balls, allowing it to air dry and then storing the growing mound in a wooden box. My plan was to use my human hair as material to build a 3D project.
I have been needle felting small squirrel dolls for many years, and selling them at my Etsy store. As a result, I wondered what my hair would look and feel like, after it had been shaped by the barbed needles used during the needle felting process. I was also inspired to use my own hair by the Victorian era craft of making Mourning Jewelry with human hair.
By using my own hair, I could experience the feeling of an insulating, fur-like material on my head, but at the same time, use a substance that was natural to my human body.
As my hair is quite fine, and grows slowly, it took me quite a few years to amass enough hair to work with. Finally after having accumulated enough (2012-2018) I needle felted my collected hair into a squirrel type mask. My intention is to add more hair to the mask and pronounce the squirrel face features as more hair becomes available to me through the hair washing process. This human hair squirrel mask will be used in future 2D and 3D artworks.