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Dotted around Yasemen Hussein’s south London studio are dozens of intricate hair sculptures, crafted out of raw copper wire.

The pieces depict distinctive hair styles based on those of historical and mythical characters. A sharp 1920s bob sits alongside Marie Antoinette’s elaborate towering ‘pouffe’ wig, and a piece based on the hair of the Marvel character Wolverine.

Yasemen Hussein bob
Yaseman Hussein buns
Yaseman Hussein 1940s waves

Each piece is crafted out of raw copper wires, Hussein’s signature material. The artist works with a variety of raw materials including concrete, glass, silver and steel, yet copper is a material she always returns to. Despite the seeming contradiction of capturing something as weightless as hair using a heavy medium like copper, Hussein asserts that, “using copper is a lot like drawing, there’s a fluidity and flexibility which you may not expect from such a solid material”.

Yaseman Hussein soldering

The eldest daughter of a Turkish Cypriot family, Hussein originally trained in glass works in Wolverhampton and Illinois, but it was at a blacksmithing course in North Carolina that she had her first experience working with copper. She admits that her decision to use the copper to sculpt hair was “a complete coincidence, I found a whole mess of tangled copper wire on the floor, and it sort of looked like a messed up hair style. My own hair is completely untameable, so by sculpting it I got to create all the styles that I can’t have myself”.

Yaseman Hussein curls and bows
Yaseman Hussein curls and bows

Once back in the UK, she set up her own studio in a converted two-storey stable, and these days she can be found working on anything from sculpture, jewellery, lighting or furniture. Hussein’s client list is incredibly diverse, she has created stagewear for Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Will.i.am, elaborate wearable sculptures for the annual Victoria’s Secret Show, and worked on commissions for Swarovski, Harrods and Joseph.

Yaseman Hussein hairpiece on a stand
Yasemen Hussein tools
Yaseman Hussein feather close up
Yasemin Hussein copper wire
Yasemen Hussein sparks
Yaseman Hussein work in progress

Hair continues to be a recurring subject, with commissions including hairpieces for the milliner Philip Treacy which are on permanent display at the Museum of London, as well as a series based on Anthony Mascolo’s iconic hairstyles.

She admits that creating hair pieces has become something of an addiction, “because once you start sculpting hair, then how could you not make a Marie Antoinette style, how could you not make a Louise Brooks bob”. Her favourite element of hair to work on? “I’m a sucker for a curls. I could spend years doing them and never get bored”.

Yasemen Hussein curving feather

Interview Anthony Mascolo
Photography Panos Damaskinidis
Special Thanks Yasemen Hussein

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