Sunday, June 10, 2007

Kaleidoscope Night Sky

This is my coloring of a classic quilt pattern called Kaleidoscope. I designed something similar some years ago, but never made it. I didn't mean to stay up so late last night drawing it in Illustrator, but it took a long time to figure out how to recreate this effect; the coloring is not at all the classic one. I wanted to get an illusion of depth, and of light shining through the surface, and I think this succeeds. Half-close your eyes to see the light and dark pattern better.

When I first designed this (with colored pencils and markers on graph paper), part of what stopped me from making it was the potential difficulty of finding the fabrics with the color gradients needed to get the effects of depth and light. Traditional fabric printing doesn't do gradients very well. I wasn't dyeing yet. Now I could dye or dye-paint a gradient that could do those patches. And since I used my favorite colors, these are ones I have worked out how to dye.

I could have found a black with white stars fabric, probably. In this version, those tiny stars are 5 and 6 points, and they have colored edges. I'd never find a fabric like that, though now I could dye-paint a black and white batik with faint star colors.

There are at least 3 sizes of circles in this design that can be brought out by the coloring; this version shows the mid-size one. Although I have used colors halfway between the blue and blue-green, and the blue and purple, in those overlapping circles, it just looks right, not as if the colors are a transparent overlap, which I thought it might. (By the way, there's one gradient direction error in the picture - do you see it? I never have to worry about the hubris of trying to rival the gods with perfection, since I always make errors. And no need to put in a deliberate error either, like the Amish.)

Now in the comments at Dressaday on the June 6 Black and Pink stripes post, Jasmin told us about digital textile printing for fabrics. This is a similar process to printing on treated fabrics with your inkjet, and fixing the prints (supplies at which I've done. But unless you have a very large printer, that's only for 8.5x11 inches pieces. These new technologies are becoming available for custom printing even for small yardages, if you have digital images in the right formats. And they do millions of colors beautifully, so gradients will work.

So I could have printed enough for a bedspread or wall-hanging, or a designer dress! Or sell the design to a digital printer who wants to make commercial yardage. At a minimum I'm going to upload a high-resolution version to my Cafepress store, WRW Color by Design and put it on a throw pillow with black borders, since I'd love to have one of them. And maybe a black tee-shirt…

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