First project of the year...
To get us into the swing of the whole 'set your own brief', 'do the research', 'design something' thing, we have three weeks (including this week) to set a brief, research, design and make a black felt hat.
We've each been given one felt hood (a cone).
This is what it starts out looking like (though these are the ones I used for my Russian hat last year) :
I've started straight away, thanks to my trusty laptop, which I had with me at college this week. The first thing that struck me about the black felt thing was the word 'black'
So I googled "black".
The first hit was Wikipedia. The first info on Wiki was an outline of the etymology of the word 'black'. This is what it said:
"The word black comes from Old English blæc ("black, dark", also, "ink"), from Proto-Germanic *blakkaz ("burned"), from Proto-Indo-European *bhleg- ("to burn, gleam, shine, flash"), from base *bhel- ("to shine"), related to Old Saxon blak ("ink"), Old High German blah ("black"), Old Norse blakkr ("dark"), Dutch blaken ("to burn"), and Swedish bläck ("ink"). More distant cognates include Latin flagrare ("to blaze, glow, burn"), and Ancient Greek phlegein ("to burn, scorch"). Black supplanted the wonted Old English word sweart ("black, dark"), which survives as swart,swarth, and swarthy (compare German schwarz and Dutch zwart, "black")."
It then goes on to talk about the scientific aspects of the word - how black is created when there is no visible light to reach the eye, and about how black objects absorb more light than any others. Also, that if equal parts of the three primary colours (red, blue, yellow) are mixed together, they collectively reflect so little light that they can be called black.
It then discusses black as a sign of authority, academia, anarchism, mysticism, subcultures (goths, heavy metal, punk, etc).
The words were the thing that struck me most - along with the idea of the absorption of light. The words that I specifically pulled out of the above paragraph, as either standing out, or as being repeated were:
I made a sort of brainstorm mind-map thing, with each word at the centre, and I kept coming back again to the idea of stars, and of sun. Thinking about that alongside the absorption of light led me to the idea of stars going out.
My thoughts then progressed as follows (this is a direct transcription of the stream-of-consciousness notes in my sketchbook):
Sun is a star.
Stars are dots of light.
Stars are suns.
Stars are burning balls of gas.
Darkness if sun goes out.
Darkness if stars go out.
Stars shine through the sky.
Without stars the sky would be black.
Without sun the world would be black.
So that's the concept for the hat. Stars and Darkness.
Of course, I currently have no idea what on earth that means! But at least I've got the first part of the project nailed, and have set my brief.
The next part is to research the concept. I've set up a Pinterest board for my pictorial internet research - I'll link to it from every post if I've added to it - so here is the link http://pinterest.com/debbielough/black-hat/
(and normal service will shortly be resumed - i.e. there'll be some pictures, after a couple of text heavy posts).