Chalk, (pronounced ‘Chock’) is from the latin work for limestone, ‘Calx’. Chalk is the finer grain of the mineral substance for calcium carbonate, which is the main ingredient of limestone. It is said that the chemical formula for chalk is CaCO3 and that its primary ingredient is ancient fossilized sea organisms. Who knew? Thus, chalk deposits often occur in areas that were once under water. The mineral itself forms through centuries into what is known as Sedimentary rocks. Think of the sea stacks of chalk deposits that form part of the British coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France, the “White Cliffs of Dover”. A history lesson on the eve of school days, indeed! Used in its pure white form of pressed sticks, its creative factor is outstanding. Long associated with school and the iconic chalkboard, one cannot help recall the sound of the chalk stick, tapping the chalkboard as a small, fine powder of chalk dust followed its trail. Ah, the days of school are upon us once again!
The history of chalk use dates back to the stone age and its use continued onward throughout time. Chalk also became a popular medium in the 15th century as early Renaissance artists began experimenting with chiaroscuro. Even the Old Masters incorporated chalk into their artistic creations. My focus on chalk, however, is the modern edge ability it has to provide interest and vitality to our spaces. The classic and iconic chalk stick of white paired with a dark, bold background. Perfection in contrast. Interestingly, natural chalk can range in color from yellow to gray to white depending upon the impurities found within it. Chalk is treated and dyed depending upon what it will be used for. Of further interest, most classroom chalk today is not typically made from chalk, but from various other mineral deposits. Again, who knew? The finished effect, however, is the same. Versatile and ever changing, the chalk and its chalkboard surface are indelibly linked to in a stylish combination.
The reusable writing and drawing chalkboard surface provides a sleek and contemporary appeal into interior spaces. In terms of the use of chalk for education, history gives credit to the invention of the blackboard for use in instruction in 1849 to James Pillans, headmaster of the Royal High School in Edinburgh, Scotland. His purpose? To use it with colored chalk to teach geography. A lasting mark in the history of revolutionizing education, indeed. Providing educators the ability to instruct larger numbers of students at one time was quite a concept. The European term “Blackboard” dates from around 1815 to 1825 while the predominately American term “Chalkboard” dates from 1935 to 1940. Again, who knew?? Interestingly, history states that the blackboard was introduced into the US education system in 1801. Originally made of smooth, thin sheets of black or dark grey slate stone, it was not until the 1960’s that the slate blackboard gave way to manufactured steel boards coated with porcelain enamel. Certainly more cost effective for education purposes. In addition, green colored boards gained popularity at that time. But what of our interiors? With the more recent introduction of chalkboard paint, a type of paint which dries to a finish that resembles and acts like a chalkboard, our worlds and the possibilities within them are limitless. Indeed, providing a surface for our interiors that is ready for modification, adapting and editing…in chalk sticks.
Rethink the chalkboard for interior spaces and in events and entertaining. Functional and stylish. Permanence is replaced by temporary. Life can be changed in a moment. Add a punch of interest, life, energy and spirit with chalk and a background of bold hue, and chalk it up to a mastered skill of individualism, indeed!
Life’s inspirations in chalk. Instruction for us all.
“How many a writer uses paper as black as charcoal, whilst his pen writes on it with white color. By writing he places a bright day in a dark night…” – Author unkonwn