A former schoolteacher from Chongqing, China named Xiang Renxian has devoted nearly a dozen years of her life to making a hat and coat for her husband—out of her very own hair.
She says her hair began to fall out when she was in her 30's. "Throughout my youth I was always famous for my wonderful long hair, and as I grew older I realized that, just like my looks, my hair was losing its luster," she told the Global Times. "Many people envied my long, shiny black hair so I wanted to keep them, even the dropped threads."
Xiang said she collected her hair for years but didn't know what to do with it.
It was only in 2003 that she decided to weave it into clothing. "I wanted to find a way to preserve that, and came up with the idea of using it to create something for my husband. It took a while to perfect the techniques, it was only when I was 49 that I started to work on this project. Once I got into the technique that I developed, it was actually not difficult to do, you just need patience and I knew that I had the time."
She says she kept count of each strand of hair, and used a total of 116,058 strands of hair to make both of the items she gave to her husband.
The coat was Xiang's first project, for which she used 15 pieces of hair as one strand of standard wool. She began in 2003 and managed to finish the main body only by 2008. Later, she started weaving the hat, with 20 pieces of hair per strand. This she completed in 2011. "It takes great patience as the weaving work could only be done a bit each day due to the scarcity of hair," she said.
When the weaving was complete, she felt that the coat needed a bit of a finishing touch. So she decided to weave her name and the date of completion on to the cuffs in white. She had to wait until the end of last year to collect enough grey hair for her signature.
This makes me feel extra shitty about the last present I got for my boyfriend for our anniversary. I got him a gift card to Chili's. Not because I totally forgot it was our anniversary until he texted me "Happy Anniversary!" when I was driving past that Chili's by where we live and made a last ditch turn into their parking lot to go scramble desperately for some kind of gift. No. That didn't happen at all. That Chili's gift card is a true symbol and token of our undying love that will live in his glove compartment underneath those parking tickets he got, until the day he realizes he's dead broke, starving and feels a craving for some economically-priced casual dining.
(Pics of her project are here)
Image via Shuttershock