Colour Interaction in woven cloth:

Following our recent successful exhibition at Steps Gallery, it has been suggested we should post a note on colour interaction for woven cloth.

IMG 4296

The 19th century designer William Morris once noted that “the best plan seems to be to choose a pleasant ground colour and to superimpose a pattern mainly composed of a lighter shade of that colour, or a colour in no very strong contrast to the ground, and then to light up this general arrangement either with a more forcible outline or by spots of stronger colour carefully disposed.” The weave on the left follows his first suggestion - almost!

IMG 4324

The Plush designs are usually composed of a wool warp and a silk weft. It seems that we are to some degreefollowing in the footsteps of Morris with much of what we do. The interplay of light and shade created by a dull and a shimmering yarn, which in its turn creates an interesting surface design is mostly what we aim for. Playing with different directions of twill and other weave structures creates outlines and shading. By controlling the shade of the silk, we can create many different effects, while also working within the technical confines of the equipment available. We don’t have access toa jacquard loom, so we merely push the limits of a 24 shaft dobby loom, at the same time often pushing our bodies to the limit. Weavers back is a common complaint for us both.

IMG 4238 IMG 4218

One of the advantages we have over Morris is the use of CAD. He also noted the following problem common to most weavers. “the geometrical structure of the pattern, which is a necessity in all recurring patterns, should be boldly insisted upon, so as to draw the eye from accidental figures, which the recurrence of the pattern is apt to produce”

The use of multi pick peg plans can sometimes cure some of these problems, - although not always - cure oneand produce ten more is sometimes the result!

Looking at samples in our studios we can find examples of his advice, but there are also designs which worked, which definitely break the rules (see the example on the right).

Our colour sense has developed over many years of experimenting and
sampling. It is not uncommon to have a 4m sample warp, to enable us to
try many colour/pattern combinations as possible, think and observe the sample while doing other things, then choosing the best, the ‘wow’ factor . We can sometimes ponder the sample for many days before deciding. There is no instant ‘recipe’ for this process - Design -Sample - THINK - Make!!

IMG 4228



Plush! 2016