Melanie Bilenker is an American artist based in Philadelphia, Pennslyvania, who translates the historic art of Victorian hairwork into pieces that reflect upon the contemporary era, depicting ordinary moments of everyday life through self portrait photographs “drawn” in the artist’s own hair and set in gold or wood. She received a BFA from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2000 and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2010. Bilenker’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Museum of Scotland, among others.
Melanie will discuss her modern approach to hair work, while providing historic context. She will then demonstrate some traditional Victorian processes used in the remembrance jewelry that first inspired her. Demos will include several forms of palette-work in which hair is glued down to a flat surface to create basket plaits, flowers, swoops or feathers.