Samsun opera artists wear handmade crochet wigs
İnanç Erkin, a hairstylist and wig artist, has been making the wigs opera artists wear on stage at the Samsun State Opera and Ballet (SAMDOB).
Erkin learned wig-making and hair design as a child from his father Burhan Erkin, who worked for the İzmir State Theater for 45 years, and has been working as a professional artist for 20 years.
Erkin begins making the wigs first by researching the era the play is based on. He later makes the wigs one by one with crochet.
Having worked for SAMDOB in the Black Sea province of Samsun for nine years, Erkin said his father was the most important reason why he started the profession.
He said he had gone to the İzmir State Theater with his father when he was a child and watched hair designers and make-up artists working for theater artists there.
“The İzmir State Theater was the first turning point in my career. I have a job that requires huge patience and labor. I create hairstyles and wigs in accordance with the fashion and culture of a certain period in history. I get very happy watching artists perform wearing wigs that I made,” he said.
Erkin said he knew about all periods of history thanks to his job, adding that they designed a different hairstyle and wig for every period play.
Erkin researches about the historical period of the play before working on the wigs and hairstyles, which he says requires meticulous efforts.
“From the outside, it looks like a simple job but our work requires a great deal of effort and dedication. Each play performed by ballet and opera artists reflects different periods. Every period has its own unique style. There are historical and cultural differences between the eras. We design the hairstyle according to the play and costumes worn by the actors. We decide with creators how to make the hair. For this reason, historical information is important. How did people live, how was their culture during that period? Knowing this makes our job easier,” he said.
Erkin said they begin designing the crochet wigs after taking the measures of the artists. “I make each wig of crochet one by one. It is a very demanding job and requires patience. I start making a wig for an actor 15 days before the play. When designing the hair, I take the character’s personality, age, weight and height into account. We work as a team,” he said.
Erkin makes the wigs using real hair or synthetic hair, adding that he made wigs and hair designs for 70 to 80 artists in some plays.