We wash our hair because it collects the oils our bodies produce. And it's this property of hair - and fur and wool - that means it is used to help tackle oil spills that happen all too frequently out at sea. Hair is adsorbent (a substance which attaches it self to another) rather than absorbent,(a substance that soaks up liquid) meaning that oil clings to the many tiny scales on each strand of hair.
The ecological charity Matter of Trust, which runs an international Hair for Oil Spills programme collects off-cuts from hair salons and pet groomers, sheep farmers and individuals.
The donated hair and fur is then stuffed into nylon tights to make sausage-shaped booms to string out along beaches. The hair booms are very efficient as the hair material is very efficient for taking in all kinds of oils including petroleum - it clings to the hair because it's spiky!
With hair that’s been cut from your head, often ending up in landfill it was great to discover that there could be another, extremely practical use for it. With this in mind, I set about elevating the status of dead hair, by weaving it into a ‘new’ material that could give it a further life.
Rather than using yet more plastic to make a rigid and cumbersome hair diffuser attachment for your hair dryer, I decided to make a soft, foldable one from the hair waste produced in hair salons.
I combined gold threads into the final piece, highlighting once again; ‘why should one material be more precious than another’.