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Artist Makes Hair Come Alive

May 6, 1991

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) _ Tim Bowman sat patiently almost three hours while his shoulder-length mane was sculpted into an elaborate replica of a Three Mile Island cooling tower.

Bowman, a college freshman who lived in the area 12 years ago during the nation’s worst nuclear power accident, was a man with a bouffant to die for and a whole evening ahead of him.

The only question: Just how to get to sleep after it was all over.

Artist Terry Niedzialek assured him that a couple of shampoos would bring the hairy headpiece tumbling down whenever he decided it was time to become nuclear-free.

″You spray it with a water bottle to soften it up and then work backwards to remove the pieces. It takes about two shampoos,″ she said.

Niedzialek, a former New York hairstylist who now resides in eastern Pennsylvania, has been working artistic wonders with hair since about 1983.

Her manes with a message portray political, environmental and technological themes.

At a recent appearance at Harrisburg Area Community College, Niedzialek created ″Radiation Free″ on Bowman’s head, featuring a silver cooling tower with a plume of cottony smoke, tree branches draped with green hair, a small plastic cow and the ultimate wave - a splash from the Susquehanna River that jutted out from the base of his neck.

″I always meant to do a hair montage of a nuclear reactor,″ she said.

″Oh wow,″ said Bowman when he finally glimpsed his new do. ″It’s huge. It’s wonderful. I like it.

″When I move my head, it feels big. It’s hard to describe.″

Other designs have depicted the Berlin Wall, war, American politics and patriotism.

Hair is stretched into asphalt roadways, curled around skyscrapers, woven through factories, flattened by wire cages and dotted with bulldozers, plastic animals and toy soldiers.

″It’s kind of like whatever strikes me at the time,″ Niedzialek said.

″I wanted what was said in the piece to relate to any nuclear reactor, themes like us versus technology, humanity versus technology,″ she said.

The artist’s creations, some done on wigs, cost from $125 to $3,000.

As for Bowman’s new do, the cost would be ″the worth of his head,″ she said.

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