"This series takes the Victorian women's practice of sentimental hairwork as its jumping-off point. For the Victorians, mourning was a very public act. Rather than a private emotion or an embarrassment, grief was a popular motif for the arts and fashion. What strikes modern sensibilities as mawkish and overly sentimental behavior was, at the time, considered proof of a person's sincerity and morality. Ornamental hairwork, painstakingly crafted from the hair of loved ones, was a fashion that insisted the wearer embodied these virtues.
That the hair must be severed from the body to be worked in this fashion is a compelling aspect of the practice for me. It loses its essential quality of referring to a specific person, while still being a distinctively “personal” object. In a sense, the story of hairwork is a testament not of our capacity to remember our lost loved ones, but of our ultimate inability to hold onto them." - Spencer Merolla
Funeral Clothes Project
Having a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, Spencer focuses her practice on the exploration of objects and materials that hold strong personal significance often connected to grief. By repurposing these materials, she transforms these items along with the meaning they imbued breaking through the deep isolation associated with mourning. Spencer's most recent work reflects on her own political post election disappointment and our current state of affairs, climate change.
Using hair, funeral clothes and ash as her medium, Spencer breathes new life into everything she touches. Her insightful work reflects on the beauty from within and sheds light on... read more