Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Black Hat, and Oops!! (Catch up)

It's been far too long since I actually typed anything up for my college diary, rather than scribbling it onto a scrap of paper, and shoving it into a box or bag.
Easily put down to a few weeks of hundred hour working weeks, and the recovery from that, but I've decided to get caught up from that now, (and possibly in the next couple of posts), in no real order, and at the same time to write about what I'm currently doing.  On any posts that are me catching up on typing up of previous notes, I'll add 'catch up' in the title line, as I have here.

Anyway, I was up to the black hat.

After I did the picture research (see Pinterest board mentioned in previous post), I found that two pictures got stuck in my head.

Source: http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/zoebrigley/entry/julia_kristevas_black/

Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=black-stars-not-holes

The next week at college, we had a workshop.  Sharon brought us a box of scraps and offcuts of felts to play with.  I pulled out a reasonably sized piece of pink felt, and started cutting into it - just freehand with a pair of snips - to see what would happen.  I did that before I blocked it, because I wanted to see what would happen after the felt was stretched over a block.

I then steamed it and stretched it over a dolly head, and pinned it in place, and it ended up looking like this:

I really like this effect.  And although I didn't go on to use it in the finished hat in quite the same way, (possibly because it's safer to cut the holes afterwards - more controlled and therefore less scary), I think I am going to try to use it on a finished piece at some point.

I decided that I wanted the final hat to be a bit more sparkly, and to play with different textures - I deliberately avoided looking at the pictures again, to see what would happen if I relied solely on my memory of them.

I also decided that I'd use a leather punch to cut the holes, after blocking, to get more even circlular holes.

In the end, I made a hat incorporating leather, holographic dance fabric, and beads, as well as the felt, and used a buckram foundation.

I blocked a piece of buckram on a dolly head, and drew out my shape on it, and wired the edge.  Then I stretched a piece of the dance fabric (a four way stretch jersey) over the buckram, and tacked it into place.  Originally I tried to block the dance fabric under the felt, and tack it to the felt, but that was a disaster, as the fabric simply 'unstretched' away from the felt and - well, big mess!

After blocking the same shape in the felt, I cut a large hole in the centre of the shape.  I added a panel of leather (suede side up) over the corresponding area of the buckram / dance fabric.

Out of the felt that was left, I blocked (using dome-ish shaped blocks, or parts of blocks that I pulled out of the cupboard) two bits of felt, and two of leather, to a slight dome.   On one of these the leather was face out, and on the other the suede was.

I then punched holes into the felt layer of the main part, in no particular order, other than getting smaller, and more spaced out as they spread out from the centre.  I attached the felt layer to the others, leaving the edge of the felt raw (but filed with an emery board to neaten), and tucking the dance fabric around the buckram to neaten the edge.  I also added lots of black and iridescent rocaille beads (sewn on).

I made up the two smaller domed pieces, and punched holes in them - all the way through both layers this time.  I had to use some glue to hold them, partly to avoid the stitches going through the leather and partly because the layers pulled apart when punched.  I wired the edges of the felts before adding the leather.

I wanted the smaller pieces to stand up away from the main part, but I found that stitching alone was unsecure - they were wobbling about too much.  So I removed them, and added a wire support:

I'm really happy with this hat - I don't know what it is, I just really like the shape - even in spite of the fact that  can see a certain 'Minnie Mouse'-ishness about it!  (If anybody puzzles about that, I have a feeling that a pair of round circles as headwear should be, in theory, as unusable as the phrase 'who you gonna call'.)

Anyhow, the hat:

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