serious wrapping

Let me tell you about this little wrapping here:

One of the sources which James Koehler drew on in the colour workshop was the picture you can see here — I am not sure what book it comes from, but someone has already kindly uploaded it to flickr with a wee bit of commentary. As I understand it, the characterisations of the colour groups as “lucid”, “reflective” and so on are due to Goethe, and I found them rather intriguing. I would never have thought of yellow, orange and green as “serene” for example, unless the mix was about 90% green and 10% yellow/orange, so I wonder what Goethe had in mind?

Anyway, the way these colours are made is also interesting, and I have tried to illustrate it using Excel (so apologies if the colours are a bit garish). The triangle starts with the primaries (red, yellow and blue – we are talking pigment rather than light here) at the corners and the secondaries (orange, violet and green) in between.

But what happens in those little white spaces? Well, I am going to concentrate on the right-hand side of the triangle, the red-violet-blue, so first of all I am going to drop the yellow vertex as we won’t be needing it. Then I am going to start mixing. The space adjacent to the red will be filled with a mix of red and its complementary colour, green. Similarly, the space adjacent to the blue will be filled with a mix of blue and orange.

If I were doing this with paints I’m sure we would now be looking at shades of brown (presumably Goethe & Albers didn’t have this problem). And recent versions of Excel seem to have given up allowing one to fill the interior of shapes with stripes, which is a little annoying. So what I have chosen to illustrate the result are these rather alarming “gradient filled” triangles.

I think they convey the general idea — somewhere in the middle is the colour you end up with — but for my purposes, actually holding onto the separate primaries and secondaries in the mix is quite useful. We did some wrappings this way at the workshop, and it was amazing how the same selection of six colours became all sorts of combinations in the hands of different students. The five triangles shown above make the colour group which Goethe described as “serious”. They include my favourite purples, so it is a group which rather appeals to me; and I thought I would explore the idea with a small range of “Serious Scarves”.

So I went shopping.

Here are the reds, violets and blues I chose, laid out along the right hand side of a triangle you will only be able to see if you are of royal blood.

And here they are again, with their friends the oranges and greens:

These gorgeous yarns are all 20/2 silk courtesy of the mouth-watering Red Fish Dye Works. I could have just moved in with their fantastic display in the Convergence vendor hall, but I might have dribbled on the yarn as I slept and that would have made them unhappy. Anyway. I have gone for what seemed to me to be quite serious tones of the serious colours — oh, here’s that wrapping again —

but I think that throwing in those complementary colours gives the red-violet-blue combination quite a lift. Plus I am planning to use some very frivolous drafts, which I’m still working on.

serious wrapping” was posted by Cally on 19 Aug 2010 at http://callybooker.wordpress.com

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