A German artist craftsimaginative accessories through cancer patients’ own hair.
A new ray of hope for cancer patients to fight their hair loss problem.
Battling with cancer is not an easy task. And elevating to that struggle is the traumatic hair loss condition furtherdeteriorating the patient’s psychology. These patients undergoing chemotherapy – losing their hair requiresnot only appropriate treatment butwhat is more than the moral support from his friends and family.Substituting the real hair with mere wigs and other hair accessories surely makes a practical difference but it fails to give a complete contentment to the person.
To deal with this nasty side effect, Sybille Paulsen, a German artist came up with an exceptional yet creative way to ease the curative cancerprocess, i.e., making jewelryfor cancer patients from their own hair. TheBerlin based designer creates customized accessoriesfunctioning with women undergoing chemotherapy. It not only helps to relieve the attitude of the patients towards their hair loss problem but bestow them with healing completeness accepting the condition.
This concept enables cancer patients to cut off their hair before eventually losing it during the radiation process, to wear it in a different way. It approximately takes two weeks to craft jewelryas it is handmade in a labor intensive process. Paulsen utilizes this time to get to know herclient and understand their stories. Titled ‘The Tangible Truth’, this venture knits perfectly with the needs of affected women and Sybille’s fascination with hair as an art material. Also she isfound to be the first person to accept the fact that preparing jewelry from a human hair (except wigs) is a bit ‘polarizing’.
“I am aware that this project polarizes and that for some people the use of human hair as a material is uncanny,” Paulsen said. “For me as a designer it is a highly valuable and unique material and for my clients it is a material that carries a lot of their identity in it.”
The pieces which she crafts are mostly necklaces that include clusters of braided and loose hair bound together at one end and set in resin or fastened into beads. The hair is combined with copper, brass, silver, gold and cast resin pieces and colored wool threads withpersonal significance to the patients.
“Women who undergo chemotherapy leave their hair to me to transform it into a unique and personal piece of art,” said the designer. “The braided hair is quite soft and light – metal and resin are an interesting tactile juxtaposition to it.”
Paulsen perceive the jewelry as symbolic objects that assist people to changeover through their illness and deliver an initial point for challenging conversation with beloved ones.”Each woman is touched differently by the sickness and its treatment,” she said. “Not only the person affected, but also the people around them, pass through a transformation. Her partner, her family and friends experience her sickness in a personal manner as well. The artifacts I create mark this transformation and disclose a new access for the people involved to the commonly overwhelming situation.”
In addition to the main jewelry, Paulsen also makes small bracelets for the patient’s loved ones (if there are sufficient resources left – patient’s hair). Other inventive hair products created from the locks of dead loved ones is Anna Schwamborn’s jewelry pieces.