Virginia Ray is a Marin County, California, artist who has specialized in participatory artwork for twenty years [as of 2001]. Her work usually involves an invitation to the viewer to interact with the art in some manner. Ray brings to her work inspiration from her mediation practice and from everyday life, creating sacred spaces for homes and offices, handmade prayer flags and altarlike pieces.
The Hair Piece (above) was a yearlong creation to acknowledge physically the connections I felt with people. I originally invited 100 friends to send me a lock of their hair, a physical symbol of oneself. Then, every day for one year, I wore an earring of someone’s hair as a special tribute to that person. I have been naturally bald for a number of years, so this exchange of hair very much complemented our existence, showing we are all parts of each other.