Hairweaving

Hair-woven wreath, Elizabeth Carlisle Brown,  collection of Hot Springs County Museum, Thermopolis.

Fancywork hair wreath, by Mrs. J.R. (Elizabeth Carlisle) Brown, grandmother of Betty Lamar Rhodes, mother of Ross Rhodes, Thermopolis. Permanent collection of Hot Springs County Museum,  Thermopolis.

Hair wreaths were popular from 1830s to 1900s. They were very individual creations and time-consuming. Few patterns existed. The work was usually based on adapting embroidery and fancy stitch techniques.

This woven piece is very large and intricate. Elizabeth Carlisle Brown used human hair from her daughters Lula, Nora and Laura; daughter-in-law Julia Tyrrell  Brown; and granddaughters Marie Brown Smith, Pearl B. Linnaberry Hall and Marie Smith plus “a bit of horsehair from an old grey mare so she could get it finished up.”