Human hair is a rapidly growing natural resource, with the UK alone amassing approximately 6.5 million kg of human hair waste every year. The current placement of hair in landfills results in the expulsion of toxic gasses into the natural environment. This shocking fact inspired Sanne Visser’s 2016 MA project The New Age of Trichology, which explores how discarded human hair can be repurposed into an abundant new design material.
The London based material researcher and designer started the process by collecting discarded hair from salons across London. Visser collaborated with both a professional spinner and ropemaker/knot specialist, who took the hair through traditional wool making techniques to transform it into a useful and pliable material. “Since I didn’t have any experience in either spinning or ropemaking, I was completely dependent on experts in these ancient crafts,” she explains. “It wasn’t particularly easy to find these craftsman, since there aren’t many people that have the right skills that are open to new materials”.