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Styles of Yesterday and Today

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I always had an interest for braids and techniques of threading hair.
I grew up with a Jamaican and Haitian traditions, culture, and food.
The first time i can remember i got my hair braided was on the a beach in Aruba, I was eight years old. They had these braiding hair stands for tourist next to the hotels. And just for kicks, me and my aunt went to visit one to do my hair. It was a Jamaican lady called Paula, she insisted i get corn rolls and since then i was hooked. Every month i would ask one of my babysitters at home to braid my hair. I would always ask for a new style, something different then the month before.
You can imagine how much i got teased at my elementary school, i was the only Caucasian girl with these erratic hairstyles. But i never cared, i love it.
And thats why i choose this book not only for my childhood memories but for its appreciation of the world of hair design and styles. It is a technique that is not easily recognized in the world of design, but if you see clearly it is a design piece and sculpture on its own.
Not only does it take a great deal of time, it takes a skilled and patient hands to work with these complex styles and forms. In this book Sagay describes two different techniques, cornrowing and hair threading, with enough clarity and step by step photos that it is possible for a beginner to achieve one of the styles. There are also many outrageously time-consuming examples that would challenge the most proficient hair stylist to reach new heights of difficulty. Sheer, outrageous fantasy is the only way to describe some of the hair styles, but they are still fun to see.
She also gives a fair amount of historical background to show where and when the hairstyles originated. I was fascinated to discover that some of the hairdressing ingredients used in Africa were oil, charcoal and clay. The faces of the women and girls in the book are serene, joyful and proud. I wish that the book was updated to show current styles and that some of the photos were in color.

Rietveld Library 774.5

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