Barbaraanne's Hair Comb Blog

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As we take our steps from the online world to the real one, newspapers notice, too. La Charente Libre of Cognac, France, wrote an article on the Creative Museum‘s Tete a Tete exhibition at the Musée d’Angouleme on November 5th.

Everyone from around the world :-), please say hello to Catherine and Joel Olliveaud. What I see in this photo is Joel looking at the Creative Museum’s headdress with his photographer’s eye. Catherine, you are beautiful!

The article tells the story of a collection, which is really the story of a family, who had a serendipitous epiphany. They saw a few combs in their grandmother’s wardrobe and devoted their lives to her legacy. Coincidentally, many combs are made to pay homage to ancestors, so that gives added poignancy to the Creative Museum.

From the article: “The idea of ​​the museum came to me after the organization of the exhibition ‘Chinese and Japanese Hair Ornaments’ at the Oisellerie Castle in La Couronne, France” said Catherine Olliveaud. “Many people told me that these objects were worthy of museums like the Musée Guimet in Paris. It gave me ideas. The advantage of the virtual museum is that it is accessible to everyone everywhere.” The Creative Museum has visitors from 97 countries.


Mercedes Robirosa was one of Yves St. Laurent’s favorite models in the late 1960’s and 70’s. Laurent chose Robirosa to model the Mondrian dress, which is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute.

After her modeling career, Karl Lagerfeld hired her to design jewelry for Chanel. Four years later, she went out on her own.

The newest acquisition of The Creative Museum, this comb came from her Karl Lagerfeld period. It was designed for one of his haute couture fashion shows.

Hammered brass finials surround a turquoise-glass stone. Your eye never loses interest in the finials’ asymmetrical nature. The comb is a great sculpture in its own right. It is signed, original, and in perfect condition. The intelligence behind these purchases are what differentiates a collection from a museum, and what makes The Creative Museum great.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Yves St Laurent by Frances Muller

The Yves Saint Laurent-Pierre Berge Collection: The Sale of the Century

By The Creative Museum:

Nous ouvrons toujours des yeux émerveillés devant des peignes qui méritent le titre d’œuvre d’art. Nous admirons la beauté et la richesse des matériaux, la perfection des formes, le savoir-faire des orfèvres qui créent ces véritables bijoux.

Mais c’est un autre sentiment tout particulier qui nous saisit devant les témoignages d’art populaire.
Ils nous parlent des traditions d’une région et nous font saisir l’âme des gens.

Un peigne confectionné par une personne individuelle nous touche par sa charge sentimentale. On est ému par ses maladresses de formes et de façon. On cherche à déchiffrer le sens de ce qui est représenté. C’est une pièce destinée au départ à une personne précise. Mais elle a pu traverser les générations et elle est alors porteuse de toute une histoire. Si nous laissons notre imagination vagabonder, on peut en voir le film.

Ce peigne peut être naïf, les matériaux peuvent être de vil prix. Et pourtant il devient un objet de valeur par le fait qu’il est unique.


For more scholarly research, please examine

American Folk Art by William C. Ketchum Primitive and Folk Jewelry by Michael Gerlach
French Folk Art by Jean Cuisenier

Online community is still miraculous. In addition to publishing superb books, our devotion to the beauty and cultural revelation of combs is being recognized by museums.

Thirty combs from the Creative Museum join headdresses from the private collection of Antoine de Galbert for a “world tour” exhibition at the Musée d’Angoulême. En Tête à Tête: Parures de tête à travers le monde (English translation: From Head to Head: Headpieces from Around the World) will show from October 1 to December 31, 2011.

Noticing our online achievements, curators are realizing that hair combs “mark the beat of life… are privileged witnesses to cultural identites… and are immersed in a magical vision.” We did it. We’re walking in the front door. Today is a glorious day. Hi Birds. :-)


For more scholarly research, please examine

Prehistoire de la Charente: Les temps ante-historiques en Angoumois a travers les collections du Musee d’Angouleme (French Edition)

Ainsi soit-il : Collection Antoine de Galbert – Extraits

The Creative Museum was featured in the British online magazine, Obsessionistas, this month.

How did this 30-year, 2000-comb collection start? With the treasures of a grandmother.

The wife of a French army captain, Leona Petit collected a small number of combs from around the world. After she died, her grandchildren noticed the combs in her wardrobe. Fascinated, they realized these small objects symbolized the history and culture of those who made them. The brother, sister, and her husband decided to devote their lives to continuing their grandmother’s legacy.

Today, it has become a prestigious online museum, which is making its entrance into real museum exhibitions. I am sure Mme. Petit is looking down from heaven with joy. Here are some of my favorite pieces. Other parts of the collection are in the article.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Chinese and Japanese Hair Ornaments by The Creative Museum

The Creative Museum was featured in Poland’s Weranda Magazine. The Polish-to-English translation was done by Kajetan Fiedorowicz. (Thank you!) Both of us thought real scholarship in hair-comb history was too vast to be portrayed in a magazine article. However, here is what Weranda wrote. They tried, I guess. My favorite part was the way they photographed a small portion of The Creative Museum’s collection.


“Combs were used to underline natural beauty, bring luck in love, and scare off bad spirits. In the beginning, fish-skeleton combs were used as bug removers. Supplied by Mother Nature, they had nothing to do with hair grooming at all.

“In Ancient Greece, an anonymous first woman left a comb in her hair as an ornament out of boredom. We don’t know who she was, but her novelty was immediately noted, and a new fashion trend started. Craftsmen carved beautiful scenes on ivory and bone. Upper-class women would wear combs made of gold and silver, often encrusted with precious stones.

“In the Middle Ages, combs went back to being utilitarian. Sometimes, an inscription “memento mori” would remind one of unavoidable death. (Editor’s note: the carving art was reserved for liturgical combs, especially in France.) Most women covered their hair with headdresses.

“In the 16th Century, combs became ornaments made of expensive materials once more. They denoted social status, as did jewelry or a fan. Since a wig was able to support a heavier comb safely, their popularity allowed jewelers to adorn combs with additional precious stones.

“The 19th Century brought the Industrial Revolution to comb making. In France, Germany, and in also in Poland, gutta percha and early plastics replaced expensive tortoiseshell, making combs cheaper and affordable to the general public.

“Napoleon’s wife, Josephine, known for her innovations in jewelry design, played a leading role in creating new trends in hair combs. Jewelers became very busy trying to please the queen.

“Today we have wide access to various combs. However, those truly amazing pieces are available only in museums and well guarded private collections.”

Mysteriously trolling the streets of Paris, exquisitely dressed, Alain found this: a celluloid comb signed by a heretofore unknown designer, E. Burlisson. The shape of the comb, with its black edge, is pure Art Deco. However, the floral designs that fill in the edge are Art Nouveau. Looking at, I did find a Burlisson family in London in 1891. If the maker is English, the comb did not come from Oyonnax. Perhaps it came from another company in France, England, or America.


For more scholarly research, please examine

Art Deco Jewelry: Modernist Masterworks and their Makers

Imperishable Beauty

The Creative Museum’s French Collection

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Longlocks Hair Sticks

Your long locks are truly one-of-a-kind. Shouldn't your hair jewelry be?

Creative Museum

Two sparrows clutch berries in this clear horn comb by Albert Vigan, c. 1900

Jen Cruse. Author

The Comg: Its History and Development

Lavishly illustrated with over 500 photographs, this is a wide-ranging, scholarly reference book.

Miriam Slater: Artist, Collector

I hope to share the beauty of Japanese hair ornaments with a broader audience.

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May peace and human kindness be victorious over war.

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"to link the nuances of creation to the precision of the handwork"


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