Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Colorways, A Review

I promised to tell you what I thought of Interweave’s new eMag and I’ve finally had a chance to peruse it thoroughly – so here it is!


Colorways, Summer 2011, is the first issue of a new series that covers working with colour in fibres, yarns and cloth. It cost me a reasonable US$9.99 (using good old PayPal), downloaded easily and installed properly, though I needed to (again) upgrade my Adobe Air software first. I was very excited about the subject of colour applications since that’s near and dear to my heart. There is lots on natural dyes, particularly cochineal and kakishibu (fermented unripe persimmon juice) which includes history and ethnic traditions as well as instructions for use. Video interviews with a number of dyers and teachers are fascinating. I especially liked seeing featured one of my dye instructors of old, Michele Wipplinger of Earthues in Seattle. A section on coloured cotton included information on growing and spinning these fibres. Gorgeous photos throughout.

I think they are finally getting the bells & whistles of the eMag format correct. The slide shows, pop-up information (I particularly liked the slide-out drawer of cotton colour samples), embedded videos, etc. are elegant rather than gimmicky. You do have to pay attention to the number of pages included in a section and scroll down to see them. If you scroll across it takes you to a new section instead. There’s a navigation arrow at the bottom of the page to remind you that there’s more down there but it doesn’t work as a toggle, like the left and right ones do. I did have one glitch with this eMag – clicking on the included PDF links wouldn’t bring them up. For some reason I got an error message in my browser saying that it didn’t know how to deal with that file format (which is totally incorrect). Even after updating the Acrobat Reader it didn’t help so I just used Reader to hunt down the files (in Program Files) and opened them that way with no problem. There are 3: one with Trudy Van Stralen, an excerpt from her book Indigo, Madder and Marigold (which I already own), and another from a dyer from Oaxaca, Mexico, both of these on dyeing with cochineal; plus instructions on working with kakishibu. This is something that I haven’t experienced and I’m quite intrigued about getting some of this “magical elixir”! Do persimmons grow here at all?

All in all I was definitely not disappointed with this publication. It had quite a lot of fascinating details and new information that kept me clicking and watching and reading for a couple of hours. Don’t miss the last page! It’s a hoot – but I’m not going to spoil it for you by telling. I’m now impatiently waiting for the next issue, apparently due in the fall.

Another thing I’m waiting for is my book order from Chapters/Indigo which I missed today while I was at the dentist. Darn. Now I have to wait until I can go pick it up and I have a weavers’ guild meeting tomorrow which will take up most of my day. At least they wisely sent it by Purolator which was especially smart because Canada Post has currently locked out their striking employees. Doh.

I see many more reviews coming in my – your – our near future!

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