Alisha Khan

Structural Iridescences Inspired by Insect Surfaces

Alisha Khan is a final year Textile Design student aiming to portray the brilliantly iridescence and structural elements of a butterflies wings through her project.

Textile Design - BA (Hons)

Give us a brief overview of your project

My aim is to develop colour focused and surface manipulated samples that capture the natural iridescences found on butterflies, using material and colour interactions.

Why did you choose this concept?

I was inspired by the concept of structural colour found in animals. Any animals that is incredibly bright or has an iridescent sheen like a beetle, is due to it's translucent structure that acts like a prism that refracts certain wavelengths of light. Morpho butterflies have translucent structures, with blue being refracted the most, which is why it's so bright.

What processes have you been using?

I’ll be using a heat gun to distress synthetics and heat transfer colour onto sequin, organzas and polyesters using Tyvek. I’ll also be printing with iridescent pigment and using Lamifix as a coating to trap sequins and other materials.

What do you hope to achieve with your project?

I’d like to gain consumer awareness of the benefits of structural colour as an alternative to dyes. Scientists are studying ways to create structural colour flakes that will replace pigments and dyes. This ties into looking at the future of colour and the need for ethical colour practices and circular economy.

How has your course helped you to prepare for working on your project?

I’ve had lots of tutorials to help me along the way as well an interim review. My teacher helped me learn that it was colour I was most interested in capturing early in the module, and not print, which shaped the path of my project.