Could human hair be a substitute material that we can safely use in our oceans? Drop into the Science Gallery to chat with artist Sanne Visser and explore alternatives to unsustainable materials.
Abandoned and broken fishing lines account for much of the plastic in the ocean. The Age of Trichology, an exhibit at Science Gallery’s PLASTIC exhibition, explores leftover human hair as a sustainable alternative to the plastic used in fishing lines. “It’s amazing how detached people are to their hair once it appears on the hairdresser floor”, said Sanne Visser, a Dutch designer who lives in London. Hair is lightweight, flexible, absorbs oil and insulates well. It’s natural and continually produced. It is one of the few natural resources that doesn’t require extra water, land or energy to ‘grow’ the material. Sanne collects waste hair from London salons, then collaborates with traditional artisans to craft the final products. Her work is rooted in traditional craft practices, and is a collaboration between spinners, ropemakers, and textile workers. Similar to how sheep wool is carded and spun into knitting thread, Sanne makes balls of human hair rope. Watch this beautiful video showcasing Sanne’s production process.
As a fishing nation with over 2,500 hair salons in Ireland, is this something we could consider? Sanne’s work is part of a larger project that explores potential applications for recycled hair waste in material and product design. Her fishing net and lobster pot exhibited at Science Gallery Dublin are the first prototypes, and a human hair ‘mussel rope’, used to collect and grow mussels, is now being tested off the coast of Wales.
Curious? Join demonstrations hosted by Dutch designer Sanne Visser for a drop-in session of rope making with human hair waste on Saturday and Sunday 26th and 27th October at Science Gallery Dublin. Learn how to make your own piece and turn it into a lanyard or keychain to take home! Or donate it to Visser's new research project to collectively create the first prototype of a lobster pot!"