How would you make hair like this in Blender?

I saw this on ArtStation a while ago:

I thought the hair would be some particle system, but if you look at the clay render, you’ll see it’s actually a mesh! How would one go about doing this in Blender (is it simply a matter of applying the right textures)?

Are we sure its not a particle system with a clay material on it? I cant imagine the ungodly topology mess you would have with all the holes going through it.