Nina Nightingale's Charm School: Victorian Hair Arts - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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Nina Nightingale's Charm School: Victorian Hair Arts

1 hour
$15 per device
See Dates
$15 per device
$15 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

Nina Nightingale's Charm School is in session.

From silhouette portraits and hair reliquaries to postage stamp flirtation and suffragette tea parties, join curiosity artist and host Nina Nightingale in exploring history's most fascinating disciplines and their hidden origins! During each hour-long virtual live show, Nina will guide you through the basics of a specific craft, tell you about its often surprising importance in the cultural landscape, and take any questions that might come up along the way. Part Home Ec, part AP History, Nina Nightingale’s Charm School won't teach you how to be more genteel, but you’ll learn why crafting was never that polite anyway.

Let’s start off 2021 with one of the most requested and curious of the curiosities: Victorian Hairwork. Notoriously recognized as memento mori, or mourning objects, hair art was even more often created as heirlooms of living family members or friendship keepsakes. In this episode of Charm School, we’ll discuss the various ways Victorians expressed their deep sentimentality through this art form as well as creating some of our own.

Class Supplies, if you wish to work along:

- Hair :: from a consenting human or salvaged from an old doll or wig

- Glue :: best with superglue, e6000, or other non-water based adhesives

- Backer :: card stock or mat to mount your display on (cereal box is great!)

- Decor :: bits of ribbon, yarn, fabric, or string make pretty bows

- Label :: a quill & ink; a DYMO label-maker; or just a regular pen will do

Optional Supplies, for variations:

- Paint :: if you’re using a recycled cereal box backer and want a different colour

- Curling/Straightening Tools :: flat iron, wooden dowel or chopstick/skewer

- Wire :: thin enough to bend and tie by hand (floral or beading wire is great)

- Knitting Needles :: various sizes

- Clamp (to secure your knitting needle to your table)

- Hot glue gun

Where We’ll Be


About Your Host
Nina Nightingale
Nina Nightingale

Hello! My name is Nina Nightingale and I am a professional fine artist practicing the very rare art of SILHOUETTE PORTRAITURE, in which I cut your likeness from paper with no writing instruments—simply freehand drawing with scissors. This art of "shadow cutting" was popular before photography was made affordable. Silhouette portraiture is one part history and one part how-does-she-do-it?

What Else You Should Know

Once registered, you can access the Zoom room for this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account. Atlas Obscura online experiences are recommended for attendees age 13+.

This online experience will be recorded. A temporary link to the recording will be provided in a follow-up email to all ticket holders within 72 hours after the event. Access to this recording will be available for seven days.

This event is one of Atlas Obscura’s Online Experiences. At Atlas Obscura, our mission has always been to inspire wonder and curiosity about the incredible world we all share. Now, more than ever, there’s a need to stay connected—not only to our sense of wonder, but to each other.

We encourage you to follow and share the hashtag #AOExperiences for more incredible online experiences and our newest addition of Online Courses with Atlas Obscura and our friends. And check out, the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders, to keep virtually exploring the world through the website’s atlas of amazing places, unique stories, and videos.

Dates and Availability

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