Jessica Beauchemin: A Question that Resides in My Step

par Jessica Beauchemin:

Une réflexion, un questionnement qui habite présentement ma démarche…
l’esthétique et l’utilité dans les ornements de coiffure contemporains.

L’esthétique est établie par plusieurs éléments : les formes, les couleurs,
les techniques, les matériaux employés, etc. Dans l’univers des ornements de
coiffure, ces éléments sont très variés. Prenons simplement l’exemple de la
forme, on peut parler soit de peignes, d’aiguilles, de couronnes, de
diadèmes, de barrettes, et ainsi de suite. Les époques, les cultures et les
modes ont modelé ces différents éléments. Ainsi, de nos jours, il me semble
exister une grande ouverture au niveau de l’esthétique de l’ornement de

La question de l’utilité m’apparaît plus délicate. D’un point de vue
littéral, l’ornement de coiffure se veut un accessoire-bijou décorant et/ou
supportant la coiffure. Certaines époques et cultures ont associé aux
ornements de coiffure des fonctions symboliques et sociales plus larges –
spiritualité, fertilité, rapport à l’autre, etc. Qu’en est-il maintenant?

L’ornement de coiffure contemporain est-il prisonnier de sa première
utilité, victime de son identité d’accessoire de tête?

Ne pourrait-il pas être, également, un média d’expression artistique

C’est-à-dire une « esthétique » inspirant la création d’ornements-sculptures
non utilitaires; telle, par exemple, la courtepointe. Traditionnellement
connu comme un objet utile au quotidien, la courtepointe a su évolué pour
devenir également un mode d’expression artistique accepté : la courtepointe
d’art. Peut-il en être de même pour l’ornement de coiffure?

Existe-t-il une ouverture, un intérêt, un marché pour l’ornement de coiffure
d’art contemporain?

4 thoughts on “Jessica Beauchemin: A Question that Resides in My Step

  1. BarbaraAnne Post author

    English Translation:

    A reflection, a questioning resides in my step. What is the perfect balance between aesthetics and utility in contemporary hair ornaments?

    The aesthetic is established by several elements: among them, shape, color, technique, and materials.

    Hair ornaments present a diverse palette of forms: combs, hair pins, crowns, diadems, barrettes, etc. Historical fashion, materials native to the environment, mythology, and the cultural importance of women determined how hair ornaments were styled. Now however, it seems modern artists have an opportunity to create a new aesthetic in this medium.

    The question of utility seems more delicate. Taken literally, a hair ornament is jewelry or an object that holds the hairstyle in place. Certain epochs and cultures used combs to express the cohesive relationship between symbolic functions, ancestral spirituality, fertility, and daily life. What about now?

    Is a contemporary hair ornament a prisoner of utility, a victim of its identity as an accessory? Can it not be recognized as a medium of artistic expression, as well?

    Let us compare and contrast the quilt. Its first tradition was as a useful object in everyday life. However, the quilt has evolved into a means of artistic expression, recognized all over the world.

    Can hair ornaments make the same transition?

    Can a market emerge, which would recognize the hair ornament as contemporary art?

  2. peggy elliott

    It’s a bit difficult to compare the emergence of quilts as art to hair combs. Combs tend to be considered more a “fashion accessory,” and, as such, are subject to the whims of a very fickle public – usually young women.

    However, the work in the blog this morning is jaw-dropping, just stunning, and will always be considered a work of art. And there has always been those who care not for the silliness of the fashion dictates, who support the artisans and collect the worthy pieces. They appreciate the majesty of ultimate creation when they see it and have the means with which to acquire the pieces.

    The smaller, every day antique/vintage combs that seem to be popular at the moment will fade back into the obscurity in which they wallowed for so long – until the next fashion trend finds them and brings them back to life again.

    But we’re addressing the truly magnificent work of highly skilled artists. An artist’s expression flows from the work, but when that work has entered the public domain, it is the wearer who then finds her own expression in the piece.

    A work of art has a beating heart, a pulse, tells stories and is interpreted over and over again. It will bring to the owner, the observer, what they long to find in it. This is the true gift of the artist – to breath their life into this wonderful work of theirs, then to bequeath it to the world to enjoy.

  3. Jessica Beauchemin

    Thank’s Peggy, I’m glad to see my reflection thrills other minds …
    I chose the quilts art as example because of its very down-to-earth roots. And, despite differences in public, I think there is an interesting link with hair ornaments.

    I could also mention the jewellery art – a form of artistic expression that goes far beyond the dictates of fashion and wearable (example: ice jewelry from Kathy Ludwig).

    Whatever, what really interests me is to understand what allows the transition from “useful article” to “piece of art”. It goes back to the same old question: the difference between fine craft and art…


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