THE SHAPE WORKSHOP

What does a sculptor do to create so many different shapes from the same material? He lets his imagination run free. If hair doesn't provide the same answer, it is however the same question that has to be asked when faced with the immense diversity of natural shapes which can be found.

Whether it be straight, wavy, curly or frizzy, a hair is always a hair. Its basic composition, largely based on keratin , is always the same.

On the other hand, the spatial shape of the hair varies enormously. This depends largely on its cross section and the way it grows. Studies seem to increasingly indicate that these two elements are closely implicated with the shape of the hair follicle and its position in the scalp. We can now say with certainty that this "biological factory" functions as a mould, giving the hair its shape from the moment it is manufactured. Being a biologically dead material, the hair fibre subsequently keeps this original shape.


This shape is never completely circular. The cross-section of a hair is an ellipse which can tend towards a circle or be distinctly flattened. An analogy with other materials shows how this cross-section influences the appearance of the hair in space: on condition that sizes are much the same, a virtually flat ribbon rolls up much more easily than a cylindrical length of string.


African hair and their cross-section under a videomicroscope

It will not be surprising then to know that Asiatic heads of straight hair are formed from almost round hairs which are moreover fairly fat.


Caucasian hair and their cross-section under a videomicroscope

On the other hand, African hair has a flattened cross-section and is finer, forming frizzy heads of hair, the ringlets of which can form tight circles with diameters of only a few millimetres.
Caucasian hair is much more variable and as its cross section forms a more or less accentuated ellipse, Caucasian heads of hair range from straight, through wavy to very curly. These general points should not make us forget that a hair, of whatever sort, is never totally consistent in size throughout its entire length. In this respect, Asiatic hair can be observed as being the most regular while African hair is the most irregular.


Asiatic hair and their cross-section under a videomicroscope




WELCOME
PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOW ELEMENT
LIVING AND RELIVING
AMAZINGLY NATURAL

THE COLOR PALETTE

THE SHAPE WORKSHOP

HAIR - OR FUR ?

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS GREY HAIR
SO STURDY AND YET SO FRAGILE
INFINITE TRANSFORMATIONS
THE HAIR A SCIENTIFIQUE ENIGMA
HAIR AND CULTURE
EXHIBITIONS
TOOLBOX







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