Elusive iridescence

I’ve tried two wefts on the pink-and-orange warp. One is a black, which makes the warp colours lovely and rich. The yarn — a silk I’ve had for ages and whose technical specification is now, alas, lost — is a bit finer than I had planned for the current sett, but that is not a difficult adjustment. The other is the turquoise I mentioned, and that has really turned out fun. I wasn’t sure whether orange and turquoise would be sufficiently complementary to give me iridescence, but they work brilliantly together — or perhaps “against each other” would be more accurate.

Then I tried to take some photos, but that’s a thankless business. Iridescence is all about movement — movement of the cloth, movement of the viewer — so that the colours are seen from different angles and each one leaps out unexpectedly as warp or weft comes to the fore. Seen flat, the two complementaries just flatten each other out. So after this…

…I tried putting bumps in the cloth like this.

That’s a slight improvement, but very slight. So, committed as I am to sharing my bumbling creative processes with you, my dearly beloved readers, I decided to try and make a video. That’ll capture movement, right? Well, not when I do it. And, as I am a complete numpty at this, it is also totally out of focus.

Want to see it anyway? Of course you do. In fact, I have two videos. The one I took sensibly against a blank bit of wall, which unfortunately puts me between the light and cloth…

iridescent sample 1

…and the one I took in bright sunlight with an enormous shadow of the camera over everything (and an enormous shadow of me over the cats, who were not pleased about the interruption to their sunbathing).

iridescent sample 2

And I really should have moved that chair. Ah well. This is all before wet finishing, so no doubt there will be more hullaballoo after.

elusive iridescence” was posted by Cally on 9 March 2011 at http://callybooker.co.uk

Creative Commons License

9 Responses

  1. Alison
    | Reply

    That’s fascinating, Cally. I was looking at the second, rumpled photo thinking, “I see iridescence there! No worries!” – but after seeing the videos, especially the second one, I *really* see why you wanted to share more. It reminds me of sari fabric.

  2. Bonnie Inouye
    | Reply

    Cally, did you sample different weft colors on the Saints warp? Echo is great for woven iridescence. With two colors in the warp (or three in my recent warp) the weft can be across the color wheel from any of those.

    I haven’t tried taking videos of cloth yet. Once I carefully adjusted the placement of loose folds while my woven scarf sat on the ironing board. I can change the height of that surface and move it so it is in sunlight or not. The changing colors were evident to me while I walked around the piece or when I compared photos taken from different places in the room. When I wear that scarf, it is fun- or distracting- to play with it and watch the colors shift.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Not for the saints – just several shades of blue to find the perfect one. I am having fun with this orange and turquoise combo though!

  3. Evelyn
    | Reply

    the irridescence really does show in the second film! despite the filming problems. 😉

  4. Sandra Rude
    | Reply

    Yes, irridescence is a lot of fun to play with. I’ve found that I can’t always predict the outcome. I’ll weave 5 scarves on the same warp, each with the same threading and tieup, each with a different weft color and treadling order, and some will really show irridescence, and others just sit there and look flat. But then, I love surprises.

  5. Susan Harvey
    | Reply

    Its a tough one but there are some basics that do help if irridescence is the primary goal. I took a silk and colour workshop in 2000 with Karen Selk (of Treenway silks) and one of the looms was threaded for irridescent effects.
    It was a fine 60/2 silk and we used 60/2 silk as weft. They could be any colour but of similar values (depth of shade)
    We wove a 2/2 twill and no irridescence…. but plain weave with a balance of intersections… BINGO!
    I’ve used 10/2 tencel to good effect as well…

    So fine smooth, shiny threads, plain weave or areas of PW with twill, and you have all the basic ingredients for the illusive colour shifting!


  6. neki rivera
    | Reply

    the turquoise weft!!!
    i’ve gotten cool iridescence with twills and complementary colors.

  7. Julia
    | Reply

    Oh, Cally! Thanks for reminding me that documenting your work is also an ongoing creative process. I applaud your efforts, and I think the cloth is lovely!

  8. Cally
    | Reply

    Thanks everyone, and thanks for those tips Susan!

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