I’ve always had a fascination with colours. Not just the colours we see, but how they are made and where they come from. I have this tendency of buying art supplies, just because they have pretty colours and look so nice together, and then never use them. I’ve even wrote my master thesis on the use of colour in films to convey moods and different worlds/states of mind.
The first book about colours and their origins I came in contact with, was: Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay. So, it comes to no surprise that: The Secret Lives of Color caught my eye. The title, the minimalistic cover ant the fact that the pages are colour-coded on the cut edge. I just had to pick it up and have a look.
I really like the book. I’ve read it pretty much cover to cover, but you could also just dip in and out, guided by one interesting colour or another. There is a short introduction on colour, colour vision and the link between colour and language, and then it is just a treasure chest of stories in relation to colour. Some I’ve heard before, some new, some scientific, some linked to the art world, some to fashion, some short, some long. Just this amazing collection giving a glimpse of another world and other times. I would really recommend this book for someone as fascinated by colour as me, or as a coffee table book to serve as inspiration and starting point for discussions that go beyond favourite colours.
As a knitter and maker, I like the fact that knowledge about colour can add another dimension to a project. Knowing that today this colour is produced like this, but a few hundred years ago it would have been like this. To know that until very recently, I wouldn’t have been allowed to wear purple as a woman and commoner. That in general the world used to be way less colourful or with a different colour palette to what we are used to today.
This book is based on and extended upon a column, author Kassia St. Clair is writing for Elle Decoration. For more of her writing, I highly recommend checking out her website. On the 4th of October she also has a new book coming out: The Golden thread: How Fabric Changed History, that I’m really looking forward to.
Some more colour related books I want to check out or own, are:
- The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen and Cotton at Home by Kristine Vejar
- Colour by Abigail Ahern
Have a lovely day and keep making,