Mourning Objects by Anna Schwamborn

| 67 comments

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Design student Anna Schwamborn has created a range of jewellery made with the hair and cremated ashes of a dead loved one.

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Schwamborn, who has worked for Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood and is studying at Central St Martins in London, uses real human hair and human ashes mixed with black bone china.

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The series comprises a rosary, necklace and a watch chain tear catcher.

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The following text is from Schwamborn:

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Mourning Objects

Wearable body pieces including human material

The collection of objects contains post-mortem memorial pieces which include aspects of a deceased corpse, namely hair and cremated ashes.

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Human remains act as an important medium of remembering a passed away loved one and are some of the longest lasting and most individual natural materials. Above: Mourning Objects, rosary.

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Besides pure hair being used, cremated human ashes are mixed with black bone china, the world´s highest class porcelain. Above: Mourning Objects, necklace.

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The objects are supposed to be worn close to the body of the mourner symbolizing a lasting physical connection between two individuals even after death. Above: Mourning Objects, watch chain tear catcher.

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Furthermore this collection is supposed to remind the wearer on the fragility and appreciation of life and most importantly, acting as a keepsake.

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| 67 comments

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 at 4:55 pm by Brad Turner. See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • claire

    AMAZING work , stunning pieces and beautiful concept. very poetical way of remembering our lost ones and effectively i line with our current time. i simply LOVE it!!

  • Emot

    The idea is lovely, and not uncommon; mourners often weaved beautiful art objects from hair of deceased loved ones, but the execution is just not doing it for me.

    The hair looks sloppy, and the hardware, thought expensive, seems garish and cheap to me. Check out some of the Victorian mourning art for truly amazing craftsmanship.

  • Eduardo

    The idea is great indeed !
    And specially the fact that the designer DID NOT do it like they used to do in the victorian aera, but addapted to our present modern times via this visual quite cleane and brutal look is CLEVER…respect!

  • Layla

    It really has been done before, to death. I’m sorry, it is pleasantly made and photographed, but really it is nothing to write home about! the reason i comment at all is because i have seen it in real life and was equally un enlightend by the concept (there where other far more interesting and inspiring ideas at that particular csm show). HOWEVER, they are not badly made as people keep on saying, just fairly un exciting as a new entry into the design world.

  • Jackie

    I sort of like it. Why do we cherish baby hair and do strange things with it yet we’re grossed out by dead people’s hair? I think the design aspect is excellent. And, having lost a spouse, frankly, I can see the appeal. Even if one wore something like this in private only it might be a way for people to feel connected with their loved one. And what’s the difference between this and having ashes in an urn, really, its a matter of preference. I think design students should be given free reign otherwise we end up with crappy design overall because we limit creativity.

    I particularly like the idea of the rosary and I’m not even religious. We all have such judgment against new ideas. Too bad….

  • http://www.dezeen.com Rona

    God !! this is weird .. but still cant say that is not nice….

  • Iva

    My 18 yr old son was killed in a car accident and they gave me a clipping of his hair before closing the casket.. I’ve been holding unto since and someone told me about hair jewelry… I guess its creepy if its not your love one but when its someone very close to you wearing the necklace just keeps a part of them close to you. I wish I knew how to find this person so she could do a necklace for me… The rude comments about dying their hair before they die or are they burried with a bald spot… uncalled for.

  • Beverly

    I find this art to be most personal.

    I became interested in human hair art after seeing a framed floral arrangement in the window of an Oregon antique store. It was magnificant: shades of blond, brown, and red flowers positioned at the end of stems in shades of dark brown. And, decades ago while visiting Denver’s downtown Frontier Hotel, I learned that it was common for “ladies of the night” to produce and sell such hair art.

    I cherish my grandmother’s broach that holds interwoven locks of hair taken from each of her children when they were babies. And, without taking a breath, I asked the funeral home director to cut a lock of hair from on daughter’s head before she was creamated.

    As I read each of the above comments, I also remembered seeing magnificant works of art by Southwest American Indian that is embedded with horse hair. I have been able to purchase tiny baskets with lids, plates, and bowls but horse hair pottery is well out of my reach financially.

    In one of the drawers of my bathroom is hair from my head as well as from each of my children and grandchildren, and my hope is to find an artist who can produce my family’s floral arrangement.

    To me, the beauty of human hair art is truly in the eye of the beholder.

  • Beverly

    I became interested in human hair art after seeing a framed floral arrangement in the window of an Oregon antique store. It was magnificant: shades of blond, brown, and red flowers positioned at the end of stems in shades of dark brown. And, decades ago while visiting Denver’s downtown Frontier Hotel, I learned that it was common for “ladies of the night” to produce and sell such hair art.

    I cherish my grandmother’s broach that holds interwoven locks of hair taken from each of her children when they were babies. And, without taking a breath, I asked the funeral home director to cut a lock of hair from on daughter’s head before she was creamated.

    As I read each of the above comments, I also remembered seeing magnificant works of art by Southwest American Indians that is embedded with horse hair. I have been able to afford tiny horse hair woven baskets with lids, plates, and bowls but horse hair pottery is out of reach finacially.

    In one of the drawers of my bathroom is hair from my head as well as from each of my children and grandchildren, and my hope is to find an artist who can produce my family’s floral arrangement.

    The beauty of human hair art is simply in the eye of the beholder.

  • Amanda

    Well she made it to Promostyl AW 2011-2012 fashion forecasting…under the theme Hairy Tales… So she is extreemly directional!
    So there to all of the coservatives…

    I think its awesome and so do many others… She is a student, pushing the boundaries.

    I dont understand how you can love a fashion piece and then hate it when you find out the reasons for its conception.
    It is what it is.
    Fashion with purpose.

  • Estelle

    I understand the concept, it is beautiful. But I would never want to wear a neckless with hair. I dont relly like other peoples hair in my face, only if its someone i know. Especially a dead persons hair, that seems unrespectfull for me…. I dont like it. They're nice and so on but no, I wouldnt buy that.

  • michelle l

    repulsed & intrigued all at once… love the ashes in precious china more than the hair (mere decoration?) however well crafted.
    I'd like a loved ones remains to be contained with honor. That said it would be nice to have a touchable part of them.
    but when should that finally be let go of?

  • Maggy

    As an object of an historical artform made modern – I think it's beautiful and respectfully done.

    As an object I would buy – if it held the hair of my mother or father that I could no longer run my fingers through – then yes I would. I'm not living in the past – just cherishing their very precious memory in a poigniant and personal way.

  • arianadourre

    No. Just no. No matter in what way they are adorned they are still human remains. Life is fragile and short and at one point you have to let go of people. People should be brought up to accept that. These just remind me of that creepy man who hold on to a lock of hair of that one girl he likes.
    And honestly, do I want my body to be paraded around when I'm gone, by that person who loves me so much? No, not really.