A commemorative hair and yarn wreath from Wisconsin, ca. 1879.
This decorative object framed on white silk combines two popular handcrafts of the Victorian era. It was made in the 1870s by Margreta Severin Tiedjens in New Holstein, Wisconsin. The outer wreath showcases “yarnwork”—wrapping colored yarn and beads around a wire frame to form leaves and flowers. The inner cluster, tied with a blue ribbon, was made out of blonde and pale brown human hair. Victorians often memorialized the death or absence of a loved one by saving locks of hair, crafting them into jewelry, or incorporating them into a piece of wall art.