I've got a collection of 'em. Hairsticks, I mean. Can it still be called a collection when I use them, though? I always think of my art glass as a collection, or the carousel horses with which I used to be obsessed, or those little David Winter cottages. Stuff that goes in curios, y'know?
I guess this is a collection, though, though, albeit a useful one. For those who've never heard of hairsticks or seen them, they're basically a pair of thin sticks that you insert into a bun to hold it in place. Like this.
Now, I did that one late at night, when I finally checked the mail and saw they'd come and got really excited, and without the benefit of a mirror, so it's a little messy. Here's what it all looks like when done right.
Pretty, right? And despite the fact that I've got a bunch, made from different woods, some with beading and other embellishments, and one pair in brass (those are a little heavy for holding up hair, if I'm going to be honest) that I bought at the Renaissance Faire, I'm wearing these. These are my newest, you see, and I'm a little obsessed with them.
And a friend of mine made them, one I met on the Handmade Artists Forum.
Jan's specialty is making jewelry from exotic wood, and her stuff is gorgeous. Wanna see? Look here. That's not enough? She's got a shop here too.
In case you don't feel like clicking, and example.
That's a neck cuff made from Honduran Rosewood, and I'm in love with it.
These hairsticks, though, are made of pink ivory, which I'd never heard of before, so I checked it out on her blog. That blog is an amazing source for learning about the beautiful wood she uses. Pink Ivory, according to her blog, was once thought to be more rare than diamonds! In the 1800s, only the Zulu royal family were allowed to possess it. Even now, special permits are required to harvest the wood. Geez, that makes it even more special that I own some and can wear it every day!
Jan cuts and shapes her wood, sands it on a belt sander, soaks it in oils, then polishes and buffs it to a beautiful shine. In the end, there were these.
As something of a hairstick aficionado, I can tell you they're perfect. I took these photos yesterday morning, and took the sticks out at 11 p.m., and they hadn't moved. In fact, that was the original idea. Jan sent them to me to test, as someone who knows hairsticks and also as someone who has a lot of hair. I ended up buying them because I couldn't bear to send them back.
And yes, they were the only things holding up my hair all day. For those of you who've never used hairsticks, here's how you do it: You form a bun of whatever size you choose (there are days I just use the top part of my hair and leave the bottom hanging down to keep the length but get the front part out of my face) and hold it. You take the pointy end of one stick and insert it in the bun. At the edge of the bun, you want a small bit of the rolled hair between your head and the stick, but then you get it as close to your scalp as you can as you push it through. At the other side of the bun, lift the point again, to get a bit of hair between your head and the stick. That anchors it. Then you do the same with the other stick, perpendicular to the first stick. If you've done it right, they hold nice and tight for hours and hours, 'til you take them out. Yesterday with my hairsticks in, I did office work, work around the house, went to watch a band and a movie in the park with my sister and brother-in-law, came back home, and watched some TV, and the sticks stayed all that time.
Today I'm face painting. Those sticks are going in again!