Last week we went to see Thea Porter exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey.
In the shop were necklaces made from loom bands. They were pretty basic, just loads of loom bands shoved on to a cord. I thought I could do much better.
For a while now I’ve been keeping loom bands chained together in clumps. It saves on the hundreds of little plastic bags needed to keep the slight variations in colour apart. This would make an interesting necklace that is fairly quick to make.
I made this Coral one to get an idea of size. It’s half red and pink. It’s made up of 75 units and sits just below the notch between ones collar bones.
coral necklace 600 red and pink bands
Originally I wanted to make a necklace for my fellow museum visitor, but first I thought I’d work out the technique in green – a necklace for me.
As well as making a necklace that was the right size and was interesting to wear I wanted to involve colour.
So each unit is made up of eight loom bands to give the right degree of bristle. There are 75 units. 75 isn’t a terribly useful number. 75 = 3x5x5. so i made a grid of 72 = 2x2x2x3x3 units. This means the pattern can be broken up in lots of different ways. (Add a centre unit and repeat the extremities to make it up to 75.
Here is my first attempt. I wanted to shade from dark at the throat to pale at the nape.
the chosen bands all laid out ready to be chained together. they snake down the board in a symmetrical design from nape to throat and back
a necklace of two halves… looking light a monkey puzzle branch
Green is a tricky colour. There aren’t many variations available to engineering to make a wide selections of tones and shades. The most popular kind seems to be ‘grass before a thunderstorm’ which isn’t very flattering.
There is more than one problem here.
- I started with a bright green as a spine that runs the whole length of the neckless. Which overwhelms the other tones
- At the centre there is too much of a difference between dark and bright green so it’s discordant.I should have removed the bright green here and put in something deeper.
- At the back the pastel jumps the other way.
- There are lots of translucent loom bands in the mix, they have a wider tonal range, but not enough. The transparent bands ‘share’ tones, but they need some solid bands and an anchor.
- I did try to blend the different tones across the length of the necklace but not successfully.
When I took the necklace apart I sorted out the different colours. You can see why it doesn’t work. There’s a big gaps in the variations between the tones so it would take careful application to work around them.
bands used in first necklace. the bands in sqr 30 were used throughout the necklace and rather dominated it
Here is a much smaller sample. Still there are eight colours over four steps (of three units). I’ve paid more attention to the tonal variation. I could make a full sized neckless in this design but it wouldn’t take advantage of all the steps available.
the tonal range is much smaller here. I hope you can make out where the different colours start and stop.
bracelet and bands used
After some thought I lined up the various greens I have available which I thought would be suitable for the necklace.
these are all the greens that aren’t violent neon. i have varying amounts of each and only a few dark tones in comparison to the pale
This gives me an idea of the limitations to my designs. 5 dark, 6 mid, 8-9 pale.
I have eight places to fill in each unit. If I change the selection every three units ( about an inch) I’ll have 12 combinations. (because symmetry)
Here’s some diagrams.
some thoughts on how a necklace could be arranged. Of course the gradations of colour from dark to light don’t have to be followed at all.
Here is my second attempt at the green necklace, showing had the units laid out. I have paid much more attention to the gradation of colours than the first one.
dark tones take up 1/4, but extend to 1/2 the total with the introduction of mid range tones. the outside 1/4 is mostly transparent and very light. generally the tones take up 1-1-2-2-1-1 spaces in each unit repeat.
On reflection I don’t think the necklace needed the really dark tones ( well in the same piece as the light ones). But they were there, so I used them. Lesson learnt.
This is a more satisfactory necklace, but maybe it’s too green and verdant. I think next time (!) I’ll stick more to mid to light tones. with a different emphasis on the tonal range one third / two thirds for example. I might need to get my colour pencils out and do some sketches…
Now to do it all again in purple. Which should be easier as I have almost 24 available colours…
So when does a colour leave off being one thing and start on the next? Not all of these will make it into the finished necklace, but it’s a start.
And if anyone can think of a legitimate project to make out of pink loom bands do let me know. There are rather a lot of them – pink bands that is.
edit late March
The purple necklace was well recieved. As you can see I went with a different approach than trailed by the green necklace. Too many of the purple colours are actually far too grim to make into something you would want to wear next to your face.