Sunday, 23 September 2012

Progress on black hat, and other stuff...

So I have done some research on the internet for my black hat - lots of info on dark stars, and dark matter, and normal stars, and lots of pictures of starscapes and outer space on the Pinterest board (and some random pictures of nails and things that came up on google image, that I thought were interesting or kind of cool).

I'm still a little jumbled on it though - I have some very vague, half formed ideas, but no picture in my head as yet.  I've been reading some books on branding and 'how to design a collection' for this years college work proper, and I think I need to pick a market to aim for - so I think I'm going to look at the Goth / Burlesque markets - Goth obviously comes up as a thing when you search on 'black', and I'm off to see a friend in a Burlesque show at the end of next month, so it all fits - and it may help to focus me a bit.

The other stuff... I finally got some decent pictures of most of my hats to date, so I'm just in the process of cleaning them up, and I'll add a gallery page to this blog.

Friday, 21 September 2012

'Design and Make a Black Felt Hat'

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


(and normal service will shortly be resumed - i.e. there'll be some pictures, after a couple of text heavy posts).

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Back at college...

Yesterday was our first day back at college.  I'm all re-registered, and paid up (till Christmas, anyway).

Most of the work this year will be gearing up for our final collections, to be shown in the end of year show / exhibition next summer, when the college gets turned into a gallery for a week.   So yesterday was all about putting a collection together, and how to do the research involved in that.

We have to keep a research diary - mine will be this blog, in conjunction with Pinterest boards that I'll link to.  As the 'summer collections' from last year are now done, and all marked up, I'm going to archive the bibliography page for that by copying all of the information to a blog post (in case anybody finds it interesting).  I'm also going to move the links to my 'summer collection' Pinterest boards to the same blog post.  That way I'll have the space to add links to the boards I'm using for the collection this year, and to add a bibliography page for that (a bibliography is not in the brief, but it'll help keep me on track in terms of what I've looked at).

I still haven't firmly decided what I'm going to be researching for my collection.  I've been looking at fossils and geology...  There's a museum in Newcastle - now the 'Great North Museum: Hancock', though to me it'll always be The Hancock Museum - in which I practically lived when I was a kid.  We went there over the summer, when we were at home for a family party, and it's changed a lot - but I still recognised most of the exhibits!  It has lost something of what it once was - it's a bit more generic now than it used to be - but there is a lot more of the geological collection on display.  Photos, etc, to follow!

At the same time, I've been looking through my books at ways that fabric was manipulated in history - through plaiting, twisting, cutting, stamping, heat stamping, slashing, pleating, etc.

And there's an advertising picture that really caught my eye in a magazine of Ralph Lauren's A/W collection - very 20s/30s country house, but updated by using modern cuts, and mixing up leathers and tweeds and animal prints.  Again, I'll share pics in the next couple of days, once I've found them!

As I write I have no idea of the direction in which this will take me.

Meanwhile, we've been given a mini-brief, to design a black felt hat - more of which in my next post!!

Bibliography for 'Summer Collection' 2012.

This is the archive of my research bibliography for the project from last (academic) year.  I'm going to be using the bibliography page for research for my final collection, so I'm putting this to one side!

The 'summer millinery' Pinterest board is here:

The '1920s' Pinterest board is here:

Bibliography of websites looked at, and books used in research (broken down roughly by subject area).

Please note that this is a complete bibliography - some I have read either all the way through, or the relevant chapters - others I may only have looked at two or three pictures, or a read a couple of paragraphs.  The ones I have used most are in bold text.

Historical / period research

Through the Looking Glass: A History of Dress from 1860 to the Present Day
    Elizabeth Wilson and Lou Taylor - BBC - 1989

A Hat Maker Remembers: A Conversation with John Reed-Crawford.
    Recorded and transcribed by Debbie Henderson, 25 July 1994.
    Costume: The journal of the costume society - No 32 - 1998

Fifty Hats That Changed the World
    Robert Anderson - Conran Octopus Ltd - 2011

The Emancipation of Women
    D C Brooks - Macmillan - 1970

Gillard D (2011) Education in England: a brief history

A Century of Change: Trends in UK statistics since 1900

The Cut of Women's Clothes: 1600 - 1930
    Norah Waugh - Faber - 1968 (1994 reissue)

The Visual History of Costume Accessories: From Hats to Shoes: 400 Years of Costume Accessories
    Valerie Cumming - Batsford - 1998

Dress and Morality
    Aileen Ribeiro - Batsford - 1986

Haute Couture
    Richard Martin & Harold Koda - Metropolitan Museum of Art - 1995

Dressmakers in Worthing, 1920 - 1950
    Ann Wise - Costume (the journal of the costume society) - No 32 - 1998

Hats: A History of Fashion in Headwear
    Hilda Amphlett - Dover - 1974

A Shriek in the Night (film - director Albert Ray) - 1933

Be Yourself (film - dir Thornton Freeland) - 1930

A Star is Born (film - dir William A Wellman) - 1937

The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss (film - dir Alfred Zeisler) - 1936

The Thirteenth Guest (film - dir Albert Ray) - 1932

The Young in Heart (film - dir Richard Wallace) - 1938

Pandora's Box (Die Büchse der Pandora) Dir George W Pabst - 1929

Diary of a Lost Girl (Tagebuch einer Verlorenen)  Dir George W Pabst - 1929

Nosferatu (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens)  Dir F W Murnau - 1922

Metropolis - Dir Fritz Lang - 1927


Summer Millinery
The Cutting Edge: 50 Years of British Fashion 1947 - 1997
   Amy de la Haye (Ed) - V&A - 1996

Hats: Make Classic Hats and Headpieces in Fabric, Felt and Straw.
    Sarah Cant - Black - 2010 (image search)

And via Pinterest:

NB - I have also looked at some images on Pinterest that are not credited to their original source.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Creative people...

A friend found this blog post and posted it to Facebook.  I thought I'd post it here, because I think it's cool.

(And it also made me feel a little better about my easily-bored-ness, and my dislike of 'rules', and my constant questioning 'why' about everything...)