Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Exploring new media

Or, my camp contest entry...

The theme this year was Musicals. I wanted to explore something called electroluminescent wire. But, I am cheap. I didn't want to pay for shipping multiple times and none of the stores around me stock this. So I designed my project based on internet research and no actual experience with the wire. I don't recommend this

I planned to make a poster of the musical CATS with light-up yellow eyes and light-up white lettering. I carefully tried to size how much wire I would need. Failed miserably

I enjoyed the process of creating the intarsia patterns to make the poster and surprisingly, I even enjoyed knitting it. I am not a fan of intarsia but in small quantities, it is fun. I thought I would duplicate stitch the wire over the intarsia.

Then I ordered the wire and it came. It is pretty exciting stuff. Depending on the length of wire you need to light, you have a power system - an inverter and a battery or a plug. So you have to decide in advance how much wire you need so that the inverter can be sized accordingly. I ordered 4 ft of yellow and 4 ft of white.

Unfortunately, while the diameter of the wire is smaller than the diameter of the yarn I used (Cascade Eco Wool), and the wire is very flexible, it is not capable of being knitted or stitched at the same gauge as the yarn.

So I resorted to plan B.
Here is the poster, unlighted. I used the white wire to make cats' whiskers to highlight the fact that the poster is the image of a cat's face.Here it is lit up. I opted for a battery pack so that it would be portable. It is pretty cute lit up.I used the yellow wire to outline the eyes. Not wonderful but adequate.
I had to embroider the finer details around the eye to make the dancers in the poster.
This is the other eye.

While this wasn't the most successful project in showcasing the media, I am excited about playing with it. I can re-use this wire to see what sort of gauge I can get with the wire. Then I can actually knit with it. It will also help me estimate how many yards I need and get the right power source.

I came in between 5th and 10th (lost track of the counting) so it wasn't the best contest entry either. However, I won a prize that was tailor-made for me so I am very happy. I will give you the details of that and my Camp acquisitions next time.

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