Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Color and Neutrals

Recently I posted on my moving towards the use of neutrals with color. Yesterday my inbox newsletter from Robert Genn was directed to just this subject. The clickback for this newsletter is not yet available, but should be in a few days. In this particular newsletter, which he titled "Lively Greys." Genn was talking specifically about grays, but, for my purposes, I am thinking of grays as a neutral and browns can just as well be treated as a neutral. Browns can move to golds and oranges and then they become less and less of a neutral.

He believes that the use of grays (neutrals) is very important in painting. And he believes that the best grays are "obtained by using opposites on the colour wheel." In my experience, it is very very hard, though not impossible, to obtain grays in this way; but I have always found it a wonderful way to achieve neutral browns and beiges. The resulting neutrals are, as he says, much more "lively" than a gray achieved by mixing white with black.

He also talks about achieving these "lively" or "vibrating" grays by using "equal-intensity colours that essentially fight one another for attention." Genn is, of course, talking about painting techniques,but it can apply to weaving as well. A kind of iridescent shimmer can be set up just using plain weave, but with the warp one color and the weft another. I have seen this in commercial taffetas, and it is really lovely.

Sandra Rude explored liveliness of color in her fire series scarve. Go here for some lovely pictures of them. I think I will have to explore possibilities exploiting this kind of "liveliness" in crackle. Crackle, in fine yarns, seems almost born for exploring pointillistic effects.

Here is what I am beginning to imagine right now. I would use the same 4-shaft structure I am currently using for the crackle jacket, though not necessarily the same threading. I would also weave it as I plan to weave this crackle fabric. That is, I would not use tabbies. Each block would consist of the 4 treadles in succession. Block A would use colors in this order, a different color for each treadle: a,b,c,d. Block B would use colors in this order: b,c,d,a. Block C would use colors in this order: cdab; and Block D would use colors in this order: b,c,d,a. Each block would be treadled as many times as I would need to for the width I would like. The colors might consist of 3-4 different blues and 3-4 different browns, and perhaps 3-4 different golds.
There could have all kinds of different arrangements here. Indeed, there is no reason when I couldn't repeat a color. Eg, treadle 1, blue a; treadle 2, brown a; treadle 3, blue a; treadle 4, brown b. I could vary the amounts of neutrals and colors in any given block. I could work on creating the overall stripe effect I discussed in the earlier post.

But I also want to bring black into this. In some of the warp ends and/or in some of the weft ends.

But all of this is for some future date. It is back to work on the crackle warp I am preparing for the loom.

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