When I was a senior in high school I asked my mother to cut my hair so that it looked something like a friend’s perfect haircut. Of course this friend, Ellen, also had perfect hair that stayed perfectly in place and further cemented her perfect appearance in my eyes. Ellen was also petite, pretty and smart. In addition, she was a very nice person. I wonder what became of this friend of long ago. Attending high school reunions and belonging to a number of online groups specializing in connections with people from childhood, school and work have not made it possible to contact her. It has become easier to locate former friends, but somehow Ellen has slipped through the cracks.
Back to the haircut. My mother was not a hairdresser. She groomed dogs as a home business for a while and was actually quite good at it without any formal training. She looked at illustrations of doggie hairdos and worked with clippers and scissors. Knowing that she was a capable groomer made it a little easier to let her cut my hair, but it probably would have been wiser to let my Aunt Julie cut it, since she actually was a hairdresser. In any event, my short hair didn’t quite look like Ellen’s and because my hair was naturally curly it had a mind of its own. This haircut was not a perfect fit for me. Before long I had my mother cut it even shorter. At this point I was going for a Mia Farrow look.
When I entered college my hair was still short. In the four years I spent as an art major I decided to never cut my hair. Instead I wore a scarf, usually a bandanna, which also kept my growing hair out of the way in painting, jewelry and ceramic classes. By the time I graduated my hair was the longest it had been since fifth grade. I was finally accepting of the curls and enjoyed the wild look I was able to achieve after braiding it wet and letting it dry. The early 1970’s were an interesting time in my hair history.
After graduation I decided to have my hair layered in a shoulder length cut. For this I knew I would have to see a professional. My friend Paula suggested that I go to the salon in Gimbel’s Department Store at the Moorestown Mall. I forget the name of the woman who first cut my hair, but all subsequent visits to Gimbel’s would be for appointments with Janet. Janet cut my hair for my wedding and continued to work her magic on my hair for close to thirty-six years in salons that she both owned or was an employee. She gave both our daughter and son their first haircuts and pretty much ruined the possibility that I would ever be totally pleased with another stylist’s work. One of my biggest concerns when we moved from NJ was finding another competent person to work with my aging hair. A recent visit from Janet and her husband John allowed me the luxury of having Janet cut my hair. I’m seriously considering driving five hours every eight weeks or so just to have Janet as my hair stylist again. That is probably not going to happen, but it would be nice.
So I have a fondness for bandannas. A recent issue of Martha Stewart’s “Living” featured an article on using bandannas in home decoration. As soon as I read the magazine I began my monthly acquisition of new clippings for my scrap pile. My collage today started out with quite a few clippings from that article about bandannas. Upon completion the collage only maintained a subtle reference to the bandanna image. As usual, the glued images were layered with gesso and colored pencils. By the time a nice surface texture was achieved I lost a lot of the original detail of the clippings. I usually like the transformation and have found that the collage images serve me as a format, rather than a focus, on many occasions. If you look closely you will be able to see the bandannas in disguise.