evocative colour

Johanna van de Kamer, Kleurencirkel (early C20th) Rijksmuseum

If things seem pretty quiet around here, that is because the whole team is beavering away behind the scenes in preparation for our Allover Club, which begins at the end of this month. There’s going to be an awful lot involved in this club, with different kinds of resources and information to help us to really think about colour – as well as to knit with it.

Reeves & Sons, pigments and implements for painting on china (1880). Yale Centre for British Art.

On Mondays, club members will receive a new colourwork pattern, delivered directly to their Ravelry libraries (or inboxes, for non-Rav members). Then, on Wednesdays, we’ve commissioned contributions from talented designers – all of whom are well-known for their work in colour – who will be sharing fascinating insights into their creative processes and sources of inspiration. Plus, every weekend, club members will receive an additional “colour resources” newsletter, offering surprise pattern bonuses, additional charts, tips, and tricks for working with colour when photgraphing or styling your knits. And, finally, every Friday, I’ll be posting a new essay about the colourful history of dyes and pigments, paints and palettes, shades . . . and shade cards.

Frederick Bayer & Co shade card (1896). Victoria and Albert Museum.

Shade cards really intrigue me: I find them such wonderfully evocative objects, full of nostalgia and romance. And the intense power of the shade card, it seems to me, is often as much about the naming of colour, as it is about colour itself.

Textile Color Card Association of America, Fall 1922.

I’m currently working on an essay on the evocative nomenclature of colour – and I need your help! Whether it’s paints or threads, yarns or crayons – do you have a particular favourite shade name? What does the shade name mean to you? Is the name of the shade associated with a particular childhood memory, with the walls of a house in which you previously lived? Is it a name that makes you laugh because it seems so ridiculous? Do shade names stick in your mind because they seem so apposite – so like what they describe – or is it, in fact, the opposite: that the names of shades seem memorable because they really don’t resemble what they purport to represent?

British colour council shade card

So please help me out, and tell me about your favourite shade names in the comments on this post below. I am very interested to hear what you have to say, and hope to incorporate some of your remarks into the essay that I’m writing for the Allover Club.

British Colour Standard paints

If you’d like to immerse yourself colour in the Allover Club, sign-ups close this Sunday (23rd). Join us!