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# Cornrow Project

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by

## Erica Lin

on 8 October 2013

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#### Transcript of Cornrow Project

Reflect upon your process and determine if you have achieved a solution.
Cornrow Design Project
Step
Step
Potential Ideas:

Make a general plan for your idea and tweak accordingly for problems you encounter.
Identify problems in the plan and adjust it accordingly to accommodate changes.
-
Problem
: I couldn't make a spiral that would connect into a complete O shape, no matter what parameters I set it to.

Solution
: In order to solve this, I used two spirals that mirrored each other to create the two sides of the O shape, much like graphing an ellipse
-
Problem
: The Paint program refused to let me color the whole word at once with the "paint bucket" function.
Solution
: I clicked frantically with the
paint bucket tool in order to create a
sort of "spray paint" effect, creating a filled color with a multitude of dots
By Erica Lin,
3rd Period

Solving Problems From the Roots Up
500 BC
1600
1800
1990
African Origins
-Cornrow braiding is a very popular type of hairstyle in Africa that dates back to ancient times
-Evidence of cornrow braiding has been present in many
statues, figurines, and pictures
, such as this ancient Nok civilization's statue featuring a cornrow braid hairstyle
-On many statues, figurines, and hieroglyphs, Africans have paid special attention to carving and etching detailed cornrow braids into the hair, showing its symbolic significance
-Cornrow braids represent religion, kinship, status, age, ethnicity, and other factors of identity
-There are many styles (straight, curves, spirals) that involve geometry and math to create
The Middle Passage
-The Middle Passage refers to a frame in time (1600s-1800s) where millions of African men, women, and children were brutally forced to leave their homes and board ships to be sent to the New World as slaves
-Heads were shaved upon capture for hygienic purposes, but cornrow braids had served as a cultural symbol for centuries of history. This was like stripping them of their culture, beliefs, and history.
-Slaves were required to keep neat, so they cornrow braided hair into tidy sections, keeping the culture alive
-Flamboyant hairstyles were worn more as an act of defiance
-Many book covers and paintings from the 17 to 1800s show the usage of cornrow braids or "natural" styles
Civil War to Civil Rights
-African Americans began straightening hair after the Civil War, the most popular method being invented by Madame C.J. Walker, which didn't damage hair. Profits were donated to the NAACP
-Children's hair still stayed in the traditional cornrow braids. They didn't wear it loose unless it was Sunday or a holiday because of the time it took
-Because of revolts against African colonialism, many people began to realize the cultural significance of the cornrow braid, and continued to utilize it in hairstyles
-Naturals, or "bush" styles, were also rediscovered and renamed "Afros" to stress the African roots
-Many African American celebrities began wearing hair in these styles, such as Miriam Makeba, Odetta, and Cicely Tyson
Hip-Hop Hair
-As Afro styles began to disappear in the 1970s, cornrow braiding became popular as stylists of celebrities even made trips to Africa just to learn more about the art
-West-African immigrants in the 1970s brought more techniques with them as hip-hop became predominantly black in the 1980s, such as the philly cut for men and style weaves for women
-More celebrities began to embrace these styles, like hip-hop artists Ludacris and Lil Bow Wow, and NBA star Allen Iverson
-Geometry and math became huge factors in creating complex hairstyles as the AfroFuturist movement began its rise
2013 (NOW!)
Step - Part
Step --- Part
Step
Dilation
-Dilation is the geometric concept that an object grows steadily larger or shrinks at a specific and set ratio.
Rotation
Rotation is the mathematical concept that allows objects to turn at a certain degree as a chain goes on. It's what allows us to create the curved shape in braids instead of a straight line.
Translation
Translation is the math concept that controls the distances between objects in a graph. In this case, it controls the distance between each plait --- either with a set amount, or a ratio.
Reflection
Reflection is the geometric concept of symmetry and mirroring each side to form a congruent, but flipped, portrayal of the other. Imagine folding paper...
Vectors
Vectors, used in physics, indicate something's position, direction, and quantity (speed/force). They're indicated by a line with arrows.
Mathematical Concepts
Step
-This project's main purpose is to create an original design using the Cornrow Program that can act as a logo for an existing company.
-This design must highlight mathematical concepts that are used in creating cornrow braids in hair.
-In a presentation, I have to describe the process I am taking to solve this challenge in detail and illustrate what I have done to get over obstacles.
Find the conflict of interest (identify the problem) and identify the components and details that stand as required.
-I completed research on the topic of cornrow braiding, how it was used in the past and the ways it is utilized now.

-The aspects of cornrow braiding's culture has allowed me to understand what kind of image I must create to make an authentic representation of a cornrow-involved logo.
Timeline of Culture
-Logo for a hair-related company and use the program to create cornrow braids as a way to integrate the concept
-Logo for a hip-hop related company and emphasize the usage of cornrow braids in African-American culture as a way to integrate its purpose
-Logo for a fashion company to initiate the concept that cornrow braids are a very stylish aspect in creating a global trend
Brainstorm potential techniques and collect data about how you can initiate these techniques to reach your goal.
1) Search up a hair-products company and look at its existing logo for inspiration.
2) Use the company's name to create a general outline of the logo on the Cornrow program.
3) Using the cornrow shape, create different lines and spiraled braids to emphasize and highlight its touch with cornrow braids and African-American culture.
4) Save the image, and open it in a photo editor. Use its paint feature to add color
to the logo.
5) Save the image once more.
Tutorial
So... How do you use this thing?
Step 1
Use a fine-toothed comb to part the hair so that one strand of hair is isolated. This strand of hair can be of any thickness, but keep in mind that thinner strands mean more cornrows as an end result.
Step 2
Determine the direction in which your braids will form. A possible style would be to braid from the base of the neck to the hairline.

At the beginning of the hair row, separate your isolated strand of hair into three sections. The left side is A, middle B, and right side C.
Step 3
Hold the three strands of hair --- a suggested way would be to hook A with your left pinky, grasp B between your left index/thumb, and hold C in your right hand.

While bringing A under B and over C, grab a small strand of hair from under the forming braid and add it to A.
Step 4
Continue the over-under pattern with A, B, and C --- not the original names, but with the new positions. Basically, what used to be A is now C because you've brought it over A and under B and C, placing it on the right.

When you finish this row of hair, continue braiding new rows of hair until the head of hair is finished.
A
B
C
Under-over!
-This shape is dilated at a ratio of 50%, so 1 inch will dilate to .5 inches. The next shape will be 0.25 inches because it is 50% of 0.5 inches. It dilates from the shape before it.
You can see in the image to the right that the "&" shape is created using dilations. Do you see how the plaits of the braids are gradually growing smaller and smaller?
You can see above that this iteration is rotated at a 15 degree angle with each succeeding plait. It goes from 0 to 15 to 30 to 45.
In this O shape to the right, we use rotation in order to form the two curved lines that join to make the smooth O.
You can translate it with a fixed distance like above, at 0.5 inches, or with a set ratio, like the one to the left, at 75%, which causes the distance between plaits to be 75% of the last one.
It may be
hard to
see, but
the

translation

distance of this O
had been set to a ratio of 80%
so that I could create a "tight"
spiral.
When you reflect across a line, like the y-axis, you create a mirror image of the braid as if you'd folded the paper and left an imprint on the other side.
In my picture, I used the concept of reflection to create the mirroring lines of the letter W. See how the letter has one line of symmetry? I used reflection to duplicate that on both sides.
In this case, the quantity is the plait size. From this, you can see the center of rotation is the visual center from which the braid wraps around.
Rotation of the vector is what gives the braid its curved shape, as it "accumulates" degrees with each iteration. The vector is also dilated and reflected with the braid itself as a sort of "guiding line".
In my entire picture, I use vectors in order to guide the initial shape of the letters. I actually turned the vector function on in order to see if the shape of my braids made sense.
The Two-Step Process
2) Cornrow Programming 101, Part 2
(How to Position Braids)
1) Cornrow Braiding 101
Cornrow Braiding 101
How to Position Braids
Starting Point
Your first plait, outlined in blue, can be moved around the coordinate grid by changing the starting point to (x,y). If you add braids at the origin, it will start at (0.0).
Starting Angle
The starting angle is the angle at which your first plait is positioned on the grid. It determines the direction in which the iterations will follow as well.
Starting Dilation
The size of the original plait looks something like this:
Starting Reflection
When you add braids, they normally build towards the direction of the upper right corner. You can choose to have it reflect over one/two axis/es so that it builds in a different direction as a mirror image.
Cornrow Program 101, Part 2
If you change the coordinates to something like (60,-120), you can move the position on the grid where the braid starts.
This image's starting degree is 0, so it starts from (0.0) and goes right.
This image's starting degree is 90, so it starts from the origin, but goes upwards instead of to the right.
But sometimes, we don't want the braid to have the first plait start out that large. Therefore, we can using what is called starting dilation, where the first plait itself has been dilated from its original size.

From this, you can still add regular dilation.
Reflection over y-axis:
X-axis
X and Y axes
Full transcript