#13: Hairwork With Artist Courtney Lane

Since this community is all about the punks, many of you may already know what hairwork is: using human hair to create art and jewelry, particularly for a loved one who has passed away, but also as a lovers’ momento or other inspirations.

It’s not just a “death-positive” Victorian art form, though, so for those of you who are into other time periods or punks, this one’s for you as well!

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Show Notes: What You’ll Find in Episode 13

Personal Update


This week, I’ve been sick. So for my update this week, I’ll just issue a reminder to everyone: get enough sleep, eat all the healthy things, and take care of yourself! And even then, we probably all need a good dose of luck to outrun these things, so I wish you tons of that as well.

(It’s been pretty lousy!)

Interview With Artist Courtney Lane

Think art made out of human or pet hair sounds weird? You might think again after this fascinating interview with historical and contemporary hairwork artist Courtney Lane, who creates and restores Victorian to contemporary mourning jewelry and momentos.

courtney lane hair work

We chat about how this intersects with death positivity, lachrymatory bottles, post-mortem photography, and other historical topics that relate to genres like alternate history and steampunk.

Here’s a list of questions I asked her:

  • Do you associate with the steampunk movement, and if so, do you have a definition of steampunk to throw in the mix?
  • For the uninitiated, what is hairwork and how did you get enchanted with it?
  • Can you give us a taste for some of the Victorian history around hairwork (or history from other time periods is great, too)?
  • The hairwork art form has been called “death positive”, which is a term some listeners or watchers of this show may not be familiar with. Can you explain this for us?

Courtney Lane’s Site

hairwork 2 courtney lane

  • Your site Never Forgotten by Courtney Lane which can be found at NeverForgottenCL.com is so fascinating, and even the FAQ page is fascinating! So while I don’t want to read that page or anything, maybe we can touch on a few things there:
  • I’d love to hear a bit more about the services you offer. On this page you mention custom orders using a loved one’s hair, for example, as well as antique hairwork restoration. Tell us more in case someone is interested!
  • Favorite creations. Is there a certain type of hairwork that’s either most rewarding to work with or to see finished? (Maybe this is also a time to talk about different applications like jewelry, wall art, etc. if we haven’t already by this point).
  • Who grows the best hair for hairwork? Women versus men? Certain ethnic regions? Younger versus older? Or does it really matter? Pet hair? Is it too short, or just out of bounds for traditional hairwork? Is long hair always better to work with than short?
  • Special tricks of the trade, breakthroughs, etc.?
  • Your bio mentioned that part of your mission is to educate the public about hairwork, and I know you’re also an educator for the individual maker or artist who wants to learn. So my eye spied some fabulous learning opportunities through your Patreon page. Can you take us through these and any other teaching or class events you offer?

Yup. This one’s a long interview. And it’s totally fascinating.


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