Monday, September 19, 2011

My Day as a Hairdresser

Sometimes you just have to tackle some parts of a project that you dread. For me and this Breakfast at Tiffany's piece, I was most dreading Audrey's hair.



It's probably because I have very little expertise in styling hair for needlework...I stitched the curly hair on Your Majesty (she's up above on my header)...and I used many different kinds of brown threads for the hair on little MiniMe when I was floating in a tea cup in the Elixir of Life.

But Audrey's hair had to be sleek and elegant...And I had no idea how to do sleek and elegant.

I did some research on what dollmakers use for hair and found that they use English long mohair. Which, I also found out, can be kind of difficult to find. I did find some in golden brown (though I wanted dark brown) and it arrived last Friday. OK, great. But I had no idea how to use it.


So I asked a few friends and they recommended I contact a needle artist who was a dollmaker and lived closeby. On Saturday, I traveled to her house and got some tips on how to tackle Audrey's upswept chignon.

Well...telling you about this woman is worthy of a whole other post so I'll save it for another day. Suffice it to say, that she gave me the following advice:

1. Don't comb the mohair.
2. Find a way of using the natural waves and curves of the mohair fibers and tack them down.
3. Make the wig separately and then attach it to the piece.
4. Spray the "wig" with a crystal clear glossy fixative to set the hair.

I decided to style Audrey's wig on a piece of black crinoline. I made a knot from the mohair and basted it to the crinoline. And slowly began to tack and style the hair.


I used a crochet hook to pull the mohair strands through the holes of the crinoline...


I used a little glue to hold the fibers together (they're very fly-away) and tacked the loose ends down on the back of the crinoline.

It sounds easy to me as I write this but I found the whole process very tedious and all the little mohair strands kept flying all over.

Ultimately, her hair looks a little like a beehive rather than sleek and elegant...


Maybe that's the Baltimore Hon in me coming out. Between the 1950s and 1970s, it was common to see working class local women dressing in bright, printed dresses with out-dated glasses and beehive hairdos. This pic is from Honfest, an annual Baltimore festival celebrating all things Hon...


I don't want to fiddle with it any more today because I'm tired. Best leave the tiara and the finishing touches until tomorrow when I'm fresh.

Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful comments on my lace bouquet last Friday. It's an added joy to have you all taking this journey with me. You're the best!

See you next time...I'm off to sweep the hair up off the floor of my salon...

P.S. I didn't spray the hair with the fixative. I just couldn't do that. I hope I don't regret that.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This square is just too beautiful to use in a quilt! I would keep it framed on my wall. What happens to this square when you're finished? What happens to the quilt? Does someone use the quilt?!

coral-seas said...

Sometimes there are no words! Your artistry, inventiveness and creativity know no bounds.

Fabulous!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...

Looks pretty sleek and elegant to me! You've obviously been breathing mohair and can't see how lovely this is. Slap on a tiara and call her Audrey!

Wendy said...

This block is STUNNING! I love everything about this block! Watching your progress has inspired me to make my own block, but a different story....I am gathering goodies for a My Fair Lady Block, which is a favorite of mine.......thank you for all of your inspiration......I cannot wait to see this finished......just stunning!

Missy Ann said...

Her hair looks brilliant. You're too close to the piece (physically & mentally) right now to appreciate some aspects of it IMHO. A year from now when all is finished and you've gotten some distance I think you'll be as enchanted by her as I am. :)

Elmsley Rose said...

It's beautiful. Not too fluffy at all. Just looks like she's at the end of a long shopping trip.

Nancy said...

Beautiful job on the hair! That bouquet is beautiful too! Again, you are so talented!

Vicky~ stichr ~ said...

free-king-Ah-mays-zing!

shawkl said...

Don't be so critical...she looks very chic!

Anonymous said...

You need to have that square -- no, that ARTWORK -- appraised when it's done. It's beyond amazing. :O

Elizabeth said...

I think that you did a fabulous job !! You can always spritz it later if you notice that it needs it!! really words do fail me and that does not happen often!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( and exclamation points never do!!!!)

Teresa said...

Once again you just amaze me. When you are done this should be on display somewhere so we can all plan a trip to come see it in person.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

Carol said...

I remember your Hon post. I think I could get into that!

Leave it to you to look up an expert to get the lowdown on a how-to. I bet she enjoyed your visit as much, if not more, than you did. What a huge compliment to her.

Holly's hair looks great so far. Every little detail is more stunning than the last.

Thanks for INVITING us on your journey. Its always a blast.

Judy S. said...

What an interesting post! Looks like Audrey to me..... Great job, Susan, as always! BTW, is that you in the Hon photo?

verobirdie said...

I'm amazed by your dedication, you are really doing your brst on that piece. I souldn't be surprised, you do that for all your pieces.
Your Audrey Hepburn is stunning.

CREATIVE MIND said...

wao, great effort & awesome result :)

Rachel said...

Fabulous! I know that mohair can be a little excitable to work with, and you've done a great job. Probably better than you realise...

Lisa Tressler said...

How wonderful! I had no idea there was such a thing as long mohair, or that you could use it to model hair. Kudos to you for researching the method,to your teacher for sharing the knowledge, and for an amazing outcome (especially considering this was your first experience with the fiber).

MosaicMagpie said...

I too admire you for taking the time to research the hair and how to work with, what you found. How nice of the doll artist to spend the day with you, it is wonderful to find others that generously share their techniques and knowledge.
Deb

FlowerLady said...

Your talent is amazing. You are such an inspiration. Your work is beautiful and so detailed. I think the 'do' turned out great.

Hope you wake up refreshed and ready to go. This kind of work does take it's toll on our bodies and minds.

Have a great new day.

FlowerLady

Wendy said...

I think the hair looks wonderful. I think you should make a little version and try the fixitive on it as I wonder if that would make it "sleeker".

Unknown said...

What a stunning piece! Thank so much for sharing your technique. She is the epitome of Audrey!

Wendy TC said...

My daughter is a huge Audrey fan...she's gonna love seeing this when I forward your blog entry to her. So creative and fun!

Cari said...

Oh My GOSH....love the hair. You are so amazing. I love watching and learning.

Susan said...

I have been following your process from the very beginning and you have done a beautiful job. Her hair is perfect. Audrey movies are a favorite of mine too. Such a classy woman. You are very inspiring.

chasbatte said...

I absolutely agree with all of the comments. I have been a dollmaker for way too many years and I have made lots of wigs out of the same mohair that you used. I am amazed that this is your first effort. Congratulations. May I suggest that you DO use a fixative on the hair. Unless you keep the piece under glass, little wispies of hair will continually escape. Do not use one of the art fixatives, but rather hair spray. Most of the doll makers use AquaNet Professional or Super Hold. Now that you have mounted Audrey on the block and she is so small it will be very difficult to spray the hair. But, you can spray some hair spray in the lid of the can and take a very soft and gentle brush, such as a watercolor brush, dip it in the hair spray and very gently apply the liquid in very gentle strokes from the center out. If the spray beads up or gets too thick, just gently wipe it with a tissue. I hope this might be of help for a little piece of mind about flyaway hair.

Congratulations on such exquisite work.

Marty52 said...

Well done, Ms. Susan. Awesome for your first time; however, I think you should do the fixative, too. The tiny fuzzies that are there now will slowly begin to get worse and that would be a real bummer. Take a piece of plastic and cut out the upper shape of the hairdo and slip it between the hairdo and the fabric to protect the fabric. Then do what chasbatte said. Or not... your choice, m'lady. ;0)

Sandi said...

Oh my gosh. I have been following your work as it kept moving into something more beautiful and amazing on each post. BUT, you have totally blown me away with her hair. Pure genius.

Ingrid Mida said...

I love the beehive. It is perfectly elegant and perfectly Audrey!

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm not signed up, but I wanted to leave a comment anyway! This piece is wonderful! I have a suggestion if you still would like to "set" the hair. I would take some pieces of ziplock plastic, cut so you can lay the pieces down and around Audrey's hair, so everything around it is covered by the plastic. Then you can spray a couple light "puffs" of hair spray (practice this a couple times) onto the hair. You only need a couple little puffs to set it. If this piece is going to be exposed and not framed under glass, you'll probably want to do this, as the mohair will not stay as lovely as it is now. Good luck! Love your blog!
Steph

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