2.04.2011

Mohair and Its Uses

Mohair has been coveted as a fiber for hundreds of years. The word mohair generally refers to hair from an Angora goat but can cover Tibetan lamb and any goat hair cross bred with the Angora. Once Turkey controlled all Angora goats. They started sharing the wealth in the late 1800's though and now South Africa is the largest supplier of mohair, followed by the US, specifically Texas. 

Mohair itself is a great medium. It's easily dyed, molded, curled and applied. It can soften a masculine sculpt, invoke thoughts of magical beings or reproduce baby hair. Today I'll introduce you to 4 different types of mohair and different ways to use it. Hopefully it will help you in choosing your next project!

*While working with it I also find it has the same effect as rubbing a cat on my face so if you are prone to allergies you might have to use goggles and a nose/mouth mask, both easily found at Home Depot.

The first fiber I'm sharing is Tibetan lamb. It comes in a rainbow of colors, measures 4-6" long, is sold attached to the skin in patches and is used to make mohair wigs. It's usually curly and soft so if you're going to create a doll with short hair this is perfect to root in because it has volume. You can also cut the hair low to the skin and "troll" (glue) it to the head with a hot glue gun. Once applied you can leave it curly or wet it down and take a flat iron to it. A typical swatch pack will run from $5-$20 depending on what's been done to color or change it. I prefer to root or troll the doll first to get the feel of what the paint needs to look like. Undine below has a green Tibetan mohair wig by Deb West permanently attached to her head. I also dyed and rooted in some longer pieces in the back for contrast.

Tibetan Lamb patch
Undine














English felting mohair comes in gorgeous colors and in yard long strips. It's slightly dull and coarse but at $10 a packet you really can't complain. This is the type of mohair I used on my Goddess, Amphitrite. The length is what drew me in and I was really excited to receive it. Once it arrived I realized it's actually many wefts woven and packed together to give the illusion of long hair. "Damn!!" Undeterred, I got creative and devised ways to make the wefts permanently attached. First I dyed the blonde hair light sea green. The mohair takes dye very easily so very little dye was necessary and even then it soaked maybe 5 minutes. I let it air dry overnight and the next day rooted the hairline and part with the rooting tool (it can be glued but I really like my girls to have those). The rest of the hair was delicately separated into long strands, glued and fixed together with jump rings. This seller, BJs Babes, deals in the hair as well as glass eyes so check it out! 
Amphitrite

English Felting Mohair




















The next mohair I'm sharing is top quality. It comes in 1 oz. packs of 5-7" hair divided into 4 bunches which you clip off; handy as you don't lose any hair trying to separate it out. It's been tripled washed, triple combed through and any wasteful hair has been removed. The hair is clean, shiny, not coarse at all and beautifully colored. This is the hair I used to create Tisiphone. I rooted in the part and hairline to map out where to paint and then added the rest of the hair when she was finished. With what's delivered you can do two heads. You might balk at the close to $20 price per pack, especially when you want to buy 10 at a time but the quality is fantastic and well worth it. Try this seller: Top Quality Mohair

High quality mohair
Tisiphone














Finally I come to the tops! The primo! The good stuff! At $36 for 1/2 oz. it better be, right? Well I can attest it is some of the silkiest, smoothest, most gorgeous mohair on the market. It's also some of the longest, coming in around 8+ inches. It's so gorgeous that I'm hoarding it until I find exactly the right project. I am dying to make a hard cap wig with it or even reroot a girl or two. It's a luxury but definitely worth the investment: Bella Bambino Nursery

You just want to take a Benedryl and bathe it in!!

I hope I was able to guide you through the mohair waters and inspire some new creations! Have fun!

1 comment:

aquabluerose said...

LOL...sorry re: allergy, Sam!!

This is so informative and cool! I love seeing the unique differences to each. I am a fan of mohair wigs...absolutely love them. To me, even if they are glued on to the doll's head..like my Syb Eaton, or Syb Sanctuary...they get this incredible 'bed head' look which I love. In this case, the messy strays of hair are so sensual.

gerri XXX