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Topic: I stitch mah hair back and forth! <3  (Read 2778 times)
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lost soul livin' in a fish bowl
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« on: July 09, 2011 09:20:22 PM »

Several years ago, I started the dread process on my hair and let my dreads grow naturally. I did it at the time for frivolous means- I hated brushing my hair. Within minutes of brushing it, it would tangle again and no conditioner that I had tried did any difference. I'd always liked the look of well-kept dreadlocks and to be honest, I felt that while I was working for family it may be my last chance to do something that other people might not understand with my hair. My locks ended up taking on more meaning, becoming a part of me. The fact that before I moved 1400 miles away from my family, my little sister had helped me to get the knotting started was part of it. I wore my hair in locks for two years and they became more than just an experiment to see if a hairstyle I'd loved since childhood was really all that great. They came to be completely fused with the way I saw myself.

I struggle with depression and OCD. My dreadlocks gave me something to count, a way to calm down when I felt very anxious, and watching them grow, overtake one another, split apart, curl and knot made me very happy. After a couple of years I found that I had different coping mechanisms, a wonderful partner that I could count on, and I was largely ignoring my dreads. While I didn't need them anymore, they were holding me back at work. I decided to cut them. It was a very emotional experience, which sounds kind of lame. It's just hair, right? But I ended up saving my favorite locks, washing, drying and tucking them away. I had imagined an embroidered self portrait with the locks stitched in, but as I started painting this piece, I realized it was me, the way I felt for so long. For many years, I felt very alone, with few people I can really be honest with. I had a lot of nightmares about drowning, usually several a week. When I got sad, I also got angry. My dreadlocks were with me as I found a place where those feelings are still there sometimes, but not controlling me the way that they used to be. So it's only fitting that they should be on this portrait.

Pieces of Me by Songs4Drowning, on Flickr

Loveskull by Songs4Drowning, on Flickr

Sullen by Songs4Drowning, on Flickr
You couldn't really see it in the full picture, but in the second dread from the ear, there's a little piece of red yarn from one of my Craftster swap projects that somehow ended up getting dreaded into my hair! Smiley I didn't know about it until I was inspecting the dreads before sewing them on, but as soon as I saw the color, I knew exactly what it was from!

I'll likely add more pics tomorrow that I can get in sunlight. The colors don't look right to me, but I was too impatient to wait for sunlight and I'm actively avoiding homework. :O

EDIT: I think the colors are much more accurate in this picture. The way I did the painted hair was by painting the area with water and drizzling/dotting in the watered area with alcohol inks. They dry so fast that even though they spread through the water and tinted the area, the place where they fell directly was much darker, so you can see the lines and dots. The octopus charm has a thin layer of metallic green paint on it as a veneer. It still looks mostly gold, though.

Sunlight colors by Songs4Drowning, on Flickr
« Last Edit: July 10, 2011 02:37:35 PM by Songs4Drowning » THIS ROCKS   Logged

« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2011 09:26:24 PM »

This is beautiful.

Your past is just a story. And once you realize this it has no power over you.
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2011 10:17:14 PM »

i really love this, and the story behind it

I would absolutely love to have a personal swap! I'm interested in jewelry, soap, and anything that inspires you on my Pinterest
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011 01:43:10 AM »

A touching story I can relate to *HUG* So glad to read that you're doing well Cheesy I love your painting, and the story behind it makes it that much more special.

« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2011 09:39:13 AM »

Wow! The story and the image are wonderful.

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« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2011 10:17:20 AM »

Thank you for sharing the back story, it made the painting far more meaningful to view. Smiley

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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2011 10:38:34 AM »

thank you for sharing both your story and the painting
i can relate to everything you said, at one point it even made me tearful
i appreciate the honesty and candor that you wrote with

love to take part in personal swaps, I would love a poppet of my very own, or a doll like the ones made by Poppets & Lace
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011 02:34:09 PM »

Thank you everyone for the supportive words. Smiley It really makes me happy that my creation can touch people in the same way. This is why I love Craftster. I hesitantly put a picture up on facebook, and the reaction hasn't been quite so understanding. Luckily my fiance shares my sentiments about the dreadlocks. He likes to touch them and tell me that they feel just as soft as when they were on my head. Ha ha. I love how tactile it makes the piece, because I love to see him interact with things I make.

I got a picture this morning that better shows the colors, and I'm editing it into the first post. Smiley

« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2011 06:06:00 AM »

I love the art and the story. You write beautifully and the story truly brings life to your painting. Thank you for sharing Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2011 05:28:25 PM »

This is beautiful!  I had dreads for 3 years (like 15 years ago. wow.)  and I can still remember where each individual one was, and the feeling they each had.  I have them in a Converse shoe box and can't imagine actually getting rid of them.  They were an extension of me. They were an act of rebellion for me, but also because I also have tangley hair. Thank you for sharing this piece of art and your soul, too.
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