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Victorian Art of Mourning (Workshop)

October 15, 2022 - 18:30 - 20:30

Learn to make sculptural flower art using hair with artist Cindy Stelmackowich. This workshop will explore Victorian mourning traditions, including hair wreaths and jewelry. While it might seem macabre today, the practice of weaving the hair of a loved one into intricate pieces of art was considered both sentimental and fashionable in the19th century and was part of a wider trend toward public demonstrations of mourning inspired by Queen Victoria.
As part of this workshop, participants will use synthetic* hair and wire to sculpt a bouquet of flowers while enjoying the ambiance of Ottawa’s oldest wood frame house at Billing Estate National Historic Site. Unique mourning artefacts from the City of Ottawa Museums collection will be on display. Light refreshments will be served.
*Participants are welcome to bring hair they would like to incorporate into their piece, however synthetic hair and all other required supplies are included in the cost of the workshop.
Artist bio: Cindy Stelmackowich is an Ottawa-based artist whose work explores the materiality of the body. In 2011, Cindy was artist-in-residence at the Bytown Museum where she researched the Museum’s mourning and Victorian hair artefacts. The solo exhibition that followed featured hair sculptures and installations. Cindy’s artworks are in the collection of the Canada Council Art Bank, the Ottawa Art Gallery, and York University.
Saturday, October 15 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Ages 16 and up.
Cost: $70 per adult; $63 for seniors.
Advance registration is required. The deadline to register is October 8.
How to register:
Registration for this workshop is completed using Service Ottawa’s online system ( with the barcode listed below. You can also find the program listing by navigating to “Activity Search”, clicking on “Advanced Search”, and using the keyword “Billings”.
Barcode: 1636861
– This workshop will be presented in English.
– Advance registration is required and the deadline to register is Saturday, October 8. Workshops with insufficient registration may be cancelled. If an alternative cannot be offered, a refund will be issued.
– The workshop will take place in the ballroom which is located up a set of stairs on the second floor of the museum. Please contact [email protected] if you have questions regarding accommodations to facilitate participation in this workshop. Additional information regarding accessibility can be found on the museum web page:


Billings Estate National Historic Site
Billings Estate National Historic Site
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K1 Canada
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