Melanie Bilenker

Melanie Bilenker translates the historic art of Victorian hair jewelry into work that reflects upon the contemporary era. Yup, her work is made of hair! Her work is an exciting mix of technical ingenuity and profoundly intimate concept. Her delicate pendants and brooches are wearable art objects, depicting ordinary moments of everyday life—making lunch, bathing, washing dishes—with “drawings” made from gold, silver, and the artist’s own hair. “I am looking for ways to conjure a sense of home for the viewer,” Bilenker states, referring to both her subject matter and the medium of human hair. “I see hair as proof of existence, a souvenir.” Often cited as a leader in the movement to return to craftsmanship in jewelry making, Bilenker’s work has been placed in collections worldwide. Most recently her work was included in The Smithsonian Museum of American Art’s 40 Under 40 and Jewellery Unleashed at the Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Arnhem, Netherlands. Bilenker’s work is included in many public museum collections around the world.  

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