Friday, May 13, 2005

geeking on color

The dye-lab setup is getting more and more complex. my newest fascination is color theory. I've been reading "Color Works" and "Color in Spinning" by Deb Menz. As a scientist, this "split complimentary" and "double triad" stuff is all new to me. the concepts are not terribly hard to grasp though, and i have a pretty decent eye for color.

I started out with 3 primaries in jacquard dyes: cherry red, sky blue, yellow sun. The colors that i made from those are nice, but the range seemed fairly limited. I was having a hard time getting really vibrant colors like turquoise, lime green, or pink. After reading everything i could find about color mixing, i decided that i needed to go to six primaries so i could mix warm and cool tones of each shade for a little more variety. I purchased Brilliant blue, bright yellow, and fire red; as well as turquoise and brown (still waiting for black to arrive from a backorder). I was very happy with the new range i was able to get from mixing different tones of each color. Still, something seemed strange. Then i found a CMYK color wheel on the clearance table at my local art store. The CMYK model is used in printing when a color is place over white paper, similar to dye on white fiber. Do other dyer's use that system? I asked big orange what he thought, but he lost me when he started in on "subtractive color" vs "additive color" thing. I had turquoise to use as cyan, "yellow sun" as an eye-bleedingly bright yellow, and "fire red" (which is far more 'magenta' than the color chart would lead you to believe). So i thought i'd give it a shot.

WOW! the colors that i get from that experiment are way more vibrant and bright than anything i made before. i made a very bright Kermit-the-frog green and some gorgeous peacock teal/blues/purples that i tried before and couldn't get the way i wanted.

In the end, I just don't have the patience for precision color formulation, a la Deb Menz. Now i am combining RGB and CMYK mixing to get a really wide range of colors and am able to get much closer to the color that i am aiming for.

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At 5/13/2005 3:27 PM, Anonymous mamacate said...

OMG, look at that setup! Is that your lab? And you can use it for dyeing? Ahhh. Let me tell you how not fun it is to do this stuff on the linoleum kitchen floor, with no measuring utensils that don't have food-related responsibilities. :) Can I come over to play????

That purple/blue peacock roving? Spectacular! Oh my.

At 5/13/2005 4:24 PM, Blogger Dani said...

Wow, quite the lab you got there! I absolutely love love love the colors! Kitty sniffing roving is so cute too!

At 5/16/2005 11:14 AM, Anonymous Lee Anne said...

Love, love, love the colors! I am envious of the lab set-up you have. I don't think they would allow me to use ours here to do the same. Shucks!

At 5/25/2005 8:36 PM, Blogger Fern Lady said...

it's me, Christina from the Switchboards...
I love that roving... looking at that...definately have my eye on that...what other colors do you have? (I swear I'm not drooling right now!)

my blog : Fern House Studio's blog Please visit


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