June 23, 2010

Here it is! The new body of work I’m making, possibly for the store Life&Death in Salem. These are small brooches I’ve made using individual hairs. Obviously its a very slow-moving process. these pieces are still in-progress:

This next one is my first finished piece. I’ve backed the metal frame with a bit of leather, and mounted a pin backing to it.

These pieces are “recalling mourning jewelry”.  Mourning Jewelry, which was popular from the 1800s to early into the 1900s, was made using a deceased loved one’s hair, often microwoven into a tiny piece of textile. (This piece was meant to mimic that woven look.) A similar concept is a sweetheart’s lock of hair inside a locket.

All of my work is made either with my own hair or hair donated by my friends, so it is not true mourning jewelry. BUT- I would love to make some commissioned pieces for anyone who’s lost a loved one, or would just like a personalized touch to their pins. Email me if you would like a piece made just for you!

For Sale

March 17, 2010

As of today I am officially an independent businessperson! Two shops in Salem, Ma now carry my bags: The Crafter’s Market and Artemisia Botanicals.

I’m hand-sewing small drawstring bags from recycled leather and suede. Here they are:

an assorted set of ten  –  $30.00

Individual bags  –  $5.00 ea

Would you like to carry these in your store? Or would you like one for yourself? Email me:

Tell me exactly what you want. If you’d like something customized, tell me, and I will try my best to make you precisely what you want. I’m also making tassels and various other bags for tools, so bring on those custom orders!

and don’t forget about custom felting, yarning, and  dreading work, too!

My Senior Work

March 16, 2010

Hello! My name is Elyssa, and I work with leather. I’ve recently finished my Senior Thesis show, the culmination of my four years at art school. I truly love working with leather and suede, and all of my work is hand-sewn. Here are some images:

This is a piece called “Quiver”. It is a plush leather object, with cat’s whiskers. [I DID NOT pull them out of my cat’s face! I collected them off of my carpet for months.] The gold drops were caused by repeatedly dipping the ends of the whiskers in gold enamel. It was given its name because when the viewer came close to examine it, his or her breath would cause the whiskers to quiver.

This piece is called “The Judge”. It sat high up on a shelf, and upon examination the viewer notices his reflection tucked into a fold

This piece is “Cornucopia”. It is a wrinkled, crevice-covered, plush leather object in a sort-of shell shape. Exploding from the interior is a plethora of golden spirals, which were made from cigarette foil.

This piece is called “Pins & Needles”. Its made from black suede, sewn and stuffed, and all the bright ‘stitching’ you can see is actually pins going transdermally from the inside of the piece to the outside, where they can be seen, and back inside again.

A work portion of my work also consisted of felting, dreading and yarning hair. I shaved my head for the raw material, so all of the black/very dark hair in the following works was my own. I also took donations when my friends had haircuts.

These two photos show the “Net”, which I made by dry-felting loops of my own hair, and connecting them in a European 4-in-1 chainmail pattern.  In the gallery it hung loosely stretched across a corner. The process I use to create this and all of my other hairwork involves nothing but friction, and sometimes hot soapy water. No glue, no wax, no tools other than my hands.

Here are a few small “gestures”, which were either mounted with pins, or set under glass, and framed.

This piece is called “A&E”. It is framed under glass. For this piece I used  my best friend Alexandra’s hair as well as my own.

Do you like what you see? Would you like to own one of these pieces? Would you like me to make you a framed work from your own or your loved one’s hair? Then drop me a line:


March 4, 2010

This is the beginning of a very good thing. cat man