February 26, 2005
Light and Yarn
There appear to be at least two main varieties of light reactive yarn. Retroglo is a reflective yarn. "Retroglo® has 50,000 minute glass beads to the square inch, reflecting light back to a light source, such as a car's headlights. The driver sitting behind the headlights, immediately sees the reflected light and is alerted to the wearer ahead."
Uni-Glo is a phosphorescent yarn. Exposure to a bright light for 10 minutes causes the phosphorescent yarn to glow for hours. The yarn creates a work that changes with exposure to light, to the current lighting conditions and over time, as the light-emitting charge in the yarn slowly discharges. The possibilities for expression and exploration using this medium seem quite broad and not fully explored by fiber artists (needle-felters take note!). Antoinette Carrier and Christine Keller are two artists who created works using the light emitting yarn.
From a 1999 review by Jennifer Dudley of Antoinette Carrier's contemporary tapestry works: "Like ghosts, the works exhibited are semi-transparent, having a luminosity and glow achieved by the weaving materials used - shiny polypropylene twine, clear cling-wrap, silk, shredded silver-gelatine on paper, phosphorescent yarn, light - everything which encourages our perceptions of the insubstantial, of a shifting reflexivity, the ever elusive quality of memory, of things which are, and then are not. Where we stand determines what we see. Notations appear as text panels for a story-cloth, suspended slightly in front of the woven cloth surface, whose structure is also its dominant texture and contains in its weave the marks of its images."
For a presentation at Australia's 2004 Space Between conference, Christine Keller writes: "...these pieces respond to light in unexpected and unknown ways. The viewer will experience a space where images appear and disappear on the structures through illuminations of various kinds. Due to the properties of Retroglo yarns two layers of visual appearance are integrated in one fabric, alternately visible.
The phosphorescent pigment will store the projection in a ‘magic’ way and let go of it slowly. Layering of images is possible. This constructed textile surface has the potential to memorize the traces of light it is exposed to. A fabric is created which can carry various motifs. New high tech materials are being placed in the realm of contemporary art. The potential exists to expand these applications to performance, theatre and dance etc."
Image above by Christine Keller. Keller will be teaching a workshop at the 2005 Surface Design Conference, Uncovering the Surface.Posted by sfenton at February 26, 2005 09:49 AM