Dyeing to get that color right

Our guest post today comes from Candy Glendening, a textile, quilt, and scarf designer. Quite the multi-talented lady! For the scoop on what makes Candy tick, she says:
"I am constantly inspired by the color and patterns I see around me. I find that I MUST be making something, and the media that sings to me is white fabric and dye. I dye fabric and then use this fabric to make art quilts as well as items I call “Everyday Art”: bags to carry your stuff, silk scarves to drape around your neck, a holder to tuck your journal in: these are all opportunities to create an item that brings joy to the senses of sight and touch. I also blog about my artistic process."
Dyeing to Get that Color Right
Same Hue on Different Fibers? Not as Easy as You Think!
by Candy Glendening

I dye natural fibers with fiber reactive dyes. Unlike paint, what you see is NOT what you get, the final hue of fabric is never revealed until it’s been washed and dried. Although it’s fine to let the dye do what it wants to do, as a scientist, I like to be able to predict my outcomes! I keep careful records with attached swatches, and years ago, when I was working only in cotton, I created this palette, from two sets of primary color dyes.

Using this allowed me to create all sorts of lovely tertiary colors to work with by using only six different dyes, like this one.
Three years ago I began working in luscious silk, dyeing scarves.

Mixing the colors for the scarves involved a bit of trial & error, where I would start with a color “recipe” from my cotton swatches, but I’d often times need to tweak it before I was satisfied. I now have 20 different color combination recipes I use to dye gorgeous, repeatable, multi-colored silk scarves.

One of my favorite scarves is one I call “Wild Rice”.

But when I dyed cotton with the same mix and dilution of dye I use on silk, I was disappointed.

Last spring I very methodically dyed cotton and silk in the same set of dyebaths to observe how the same combination of dyes would react with cotton & silk. Here’s one page of my results.
As you can see, what gives me a nice even shift of hues on cotton does NOT on silk!

In my ongoing explorations of fabric dyeing, I have now managed to create different recipes for five of my favorite silk color combinations on rayon and cotton that are much closer to the silk hues I love right now. Basically, I have to increase the amount of dye I use on cotton and rayon to match the intensity I get on silk. Also, fuchsia/magenta strike MUCH quicker than blue or yellow on silk, so I have to increase reds on the cotton and rayon to more closely match the silk.I hope you all have enjoyed a peek into a fabric dyeing studio.

Thanks, Rachel, for letting me share!

All photos ©Candy Glendening, 2009

Color Associations - Make One and Pass It On

Today's guest post comes from a woman I greatly admire. Lori Sawaya is the first to stand up and debunk color myths, firm in her resolution that there is more to color design than just recipes and misconceptions. She really knows her stuff. And she's super funny to boot!
Here's a little more about our guest blogger:

Lori is a recognized authority on color specializing in applied color psychology, color symbolism, and the integral relationship of light and color, Her perspective is unique as it has been cultivated over 20 years of hands-on experience working with print, paint, and color. Color Strategies is a color consulting service with a focus on Architectural Color and is a trusted and established resource that provides innovative solutions to industry, homeowners, and design professionals. In addition to consulting, Lori produces and presents educational and engaging color seminars and training programs.

Color Associations - Make One and Pass It On
by Lori Sawaya

I’m going to share something rather personal with you. It’s slightly gross, so read on at your own risk.
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Do you remember jars of school paste? The brush or spatula attached to the lid was the best part. It was my favorite school supply. I loved how it smelled too. And, yeah, the paste-eating jokes are duly noted. Swear I didn't eat mine. I just wanted to use that neat-o spatula to move the paste around in the jar.

Alas, the first day of school would come and go and classroom work would begin. "Take one and pass it on.” You remember that, don’t you? Inevitably, I would have to cut out words from the bottom of the worksheets and crack open my favorite school supply to paste them in the blanks above.
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The worksheets that came off the ditto machine were purple-blue and ditto ink bled. Worksheets out of workbooks were the worst because some of them would smear terribly when the black ink co-mingled with the bright white paste.

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On the days we had to paste up worksheets out of the books that smeared, it was easy to identify the kids in the classroom who picked their noses. Think about it.

I sat at a table with a kid named Melvin and by the end of language arts worksheet time, his face would be smeared black, white, and various shades of gray. I hated the worksheets-from-the-books days because my paste would get all mucked up and Melvin would be a mess from ear to ear (as he was also a sleeve-wiper).

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Melvin would clutch his cuff with his pinky and ring finger so the sleeve stayed sturdy for a solid wipe all the way up to his elbow. Even though it grossed me out, I still watched him do it – and he did it a lot.

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By the time it was warm enough for a short-sleeves reprieve, the school year was almost over.

So what does Melvin and paste have to do with you or color? Simple. Personal color associations. This whole color story leapt from my past and into my now when I saw a color palette on another popular blog.

Has anything similar ever happened to you?

The pictures of this house instantly transported me back to my jar of paste. The colors in these pictures are identical to the grays, browned grays, and charcoal colors that would dry up the sides of the jar and crust over because of the worksheet’s black ink.

Of course, there’s also the memory of Melvin's nose issues which is all over my color association with that palette and that memory is as dense as Melvin’s boogers were all over his sleeve.
After a spin in the time machine courtesy of my instant color association, I decided that this was not a color palette I could personally live with. In a way you could say I've been there and done that color story. It’s a gorgeous home and in that house the colors work.

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The pictures of that lovely home inspired a new Aha! color moment that is this: Color associations can stick with you a long time and they can be mighty powerful and choc-full of vivid memories and meanings.

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What are some of your most vivid color memories and associations?

Welcome guest bloggers!

As I head off for 2 weeks in Italy with my beloved, be reassured that I have arranged for you a stellar line up of guest bloggers to inform and entertain in my absence. From "Boho Folk Retro Chic" to kids eating paste, we've got it all.

I encourage you all to welcome them with comments and pithy discussions!

October prep work

No, it's not October yet, but since I'll be away and unavailable (possibly lounging in a chaise overlooking the Tuscan countryside, strolling through an Etruscan village, eating pasta so good it will make me cry, gorging on gelato, etc etc) I thought I'd get October's header up before I leave...

Making your commute more fun

Shocking subway riders out of their daily zombie-commute, a new Sol LeWitt piece has recently been installed in New York City's subway system. For those close enough to go check it out in person, it's at the 59th Street-Columbus Circle subway station.

To match LeWitt's saturated hues, originally created in acrylics, studio assistants and transit authority officials hunted high and low for a tile maker who could replicate his colors. They eventually found someone in Madrid to take on the task.
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“Whirls and Twirls” is made up of 250 porcelain tiles and covers a space 53 feet wide and 11 feet high. Moving in "whirls" and "twirls", like masses of people moving through the subway system, it has a lively energy about it that truly encapsulates a New York subway scene.
Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) has certainly left his mark for all to enjoy.

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This installation is part of an ambitious project by MTA Arts for Transit, encouraging the use of public transit by commissioning permanent works of art as well as presenting visual and performing arts projects in MTA NYC Transit subway, MTA Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North rail stations.

Artistic Wars

For those of you who create, a friendly reminder:

Whether you write a blog or freelance articles here and there, host a website, or own a business, it is vitally important that you protect your identity and work. Rip-off's happen all the time. Sometimes, it's as innocent as someone posting a photo on their blog without crediting the photographer. Other times, it's a blatant plagiarism of someone else's design or work. Luckily, it's often simply a case of misunderstanding blog-etiquette and copyright. But in other cases, all you can do is take precautionary steps.
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Maybe I'm naive, but I always thought that if you created something unique and well-established, that competition wouldn't bother to use your work, as it eventually would get traced back to the originator. Like my blog Hue- pretty solid going on 3 years now; who would be silly enough to use any version of Hue Blog or Hue Consulting for their own business?
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But alas, people are ripping off writers, designers, and artists all the time. So my advice to you? Get your business name trademarked and your work copyrighted. It's all fun and games early on, but trust me, unscrupulous people lurking as "experts" themselves have no troubles taking what isn't theirs.

My question to you is, will a symbol on your logo, name, creation, writing, etc. really deter someone from ripping it off? Any what constitutes a broad enough gap between what you did and what they do, to consider them protected and legit?

Anyone have an experience with this?

Soothing Bedroom Colors- It's Personal

This reader dilemma comes from Anna in Arizona, with a question about selecting a color for her bedroom.
"Great blog! I've been here several times and always find your posts informative and interesting, especially for a relatively color-challenged person like me.

Our house is in the northern Arizona desert and it's a very neutral-toned area: lots of creamy pinks and sandstone colors. We like a fairly serene color scheme, but of course color is good.

So here's our color dilemma: We'd like something soothing in the bedroom, keeping with the mood we've got in the rest of the house..but also something stimulating.

I'm not a fan of colors schemes that seem disjointed in living spaces (i.e. "I like this color and this one and this one, so I'll slap 'em all on the walls in different rooms"). I'd like the entire house to flow, color-wise.

We've been really into blues lately; but while that turquoise color you featured is fantastic, it may be a bit much for us. Is it possible to find a soothing, yet stimulating color?

Color swatches are just bewildering me right now! Looking forward to your ideas!"
Alrighty then, let's take a look at what Anna's working with here...
In their bedroom, the master windows face the southwest. They can see the sunset while laying in bed- how cool is that? The ceilings are high (10 ft) and there is lots of natural light throughout the house. Anna just wants to paint the large accent wall above her bed and leave the rest of the bedroom in Navajo White, a creamy off-white from Behr paint. Here's the other side of the bedroom, facing an office area.
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This is going to be their new bedspread from Dwell. They'd had an idea of continuing the graphic up the wall, reversed-out to mimic the white leaves against some color background.

To give you an idea of their existing palette, here are some snapshots of other rooms in the house:
In the living room, they've replaced white with Navajo White and painted some accent walls in Behr's Milestone.In the kitchen, they painted it Behr's Blue Agave.

My first reaction actually has nothing to do with the bedroom, but instead, "where did that kitchen color come from?!" As far as flow and cohesive palettes, I'm wondering how the bright blue kitchen walls fit into the picture of serene colors. But that's for another post some other time.

Our dilemma at hand: Anna wants to know if there exists a serene, yet stimulating color. My answer would be "It's personal."

Everyone has a different reaction to colors. What one person considers exciting, dynamic and uplifting might give another person a headache. Conversely, a calm, soothing tone to one might appear dingy and depressing to another. What I'm getting at is that there are no recipes when it comes to the psychology of color. Personal tastes, the desired goals of a design, and the context of a color all come into play.

So, where does Anna go from here? I might suggest a soft blueish gray or lilac, which would set-off the warm blonde wood and golden art above the bed.
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This would be in keeping with the existing Navajo White and Milestone colors elsewhere in the house, while anchoring the bedroom a bit more. I'd also suggest considering painting the office alcove, as this space has an entirely different purpose than the bedroom area.

I love the idea of incorporating a graphic onto the wall above the bed. A sense of organic movement would be quite lovely. Be careful not to continue the pattern exactly as it is on the bedspread, but instead take inspiration from it to create your mural.

Here is a mural my friend and I created for her little girl's room, taking inspiration from her Dwell bedding.

I'd love for you all to weigh in too, as there are always multiple solutions to any color quandary.
What would you suggest Anna do?

The war of paint companies

Fantastic post on battling paint ads over at Artestyling- you should go check it out!
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Dogs gone wild

This is hilarious!
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Need a new outlet for self-expression? Maybe feel like your boss might not be too thrilled if you show up at work with purple hair? Do like the Chinese, and dye your pets! Check out this photo essay for more.

No money? Try winning it

Remember those gorgeous colored pencils I wrote about? Social Designer now has a competition for one lucky person to win the whole set (worth $600)! I am definitely going to come up with an entry.
How to use 500 Pencils?

Brief: How would YOU use 500 Colored Pencils?

We're looking for the most ingenious and imaginative ways to use the 500 Colored Pencils - ways to go beyond everyday use. Think creatively!

Prize: $1,000 and a set of 500 Colored Pencils

Deadline: October 5th, 2009 (that's just around the corner-better enter soon!)

The next step after painting

I've been struggling to figure out what to do with my dining room for quite some time now. We painted it a beautiful pumpkin color about a year ago, and have been working on refinishing some chairs to spruce up the space. I always felt it was a bit cave-like, so this past weekend, I repainted the ceiling a tint of the walls, which helped a ton. But honestly, the decorating part has received back-burner status for so long, I really needed some guidance.
My blogging buddy Jennifer of Design Hole was kind enough to write a post with some designing suggestions for the next steps I could take to help make this space feel more finished. What do you think I should do? Head over to Design Hole for the whole scoop!

What is the color of prostitution?

As early as the middle ages, dress code has been implemented as social identifiers, used to isolate and often humiliate "pariahs" of society. Originally cooked up by the Church to set prostitutes apart from society like lepers, it sought to ensure that respectable women were not mistaken for harlots.
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The result? Color and dress became something of a business advertising tool for these enterprising women.

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Yellow was perhaps the most commonly-associated color with prostitution. In classical Athens, prostitutes wore saffron-dyed gauzy cloth, set apart from respectable women who wore wool and linen. In Rome, these marked women were required to wear blonde wigs or dye their hair yellow.
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In Vienna, it was a yellow scarf; in Leipzig, a yellow cloak trimmed in blue.

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Red was also utilized to mark these women. 15th century Besancon women wore red arm bands, while women in Lyon and Nevers had to wear a red knot on their sleeve. For some, these "badges of infamy" took the form of aiguillettes, a knotted colorful cord falling from the shoulder.
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In France, it was red (inspired by the red cord in the window of Rahab the harlot in the Book of Joshua). Or a hat: a red cap in Berne and Zurich.

Today, social identifiers take on different appearances, but we understand them all the same. Prisoners in orange pantsuits, or gang members in their color of allegiance, we recognize the signifiers. Can you think of a contemporary "marked" group that has adopted a colored garment as their own?

thanks to reader Cathryn for this idea!
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Yes, you can walk on this art

Why not turn walking up a flight of stairs into an experience, rather than just a task? And what better way to do this than through color and text!

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This is "Scala", painted by Horst Gläsker in Wuppertal, Germany. The words on each of the 112 steps describe different emotions in relationships.
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1st set of stairs text translated:
to forgive, remorse, to protect, jubilant, honor, family, to frighten, fear, innocence, homeland, to, cuddle, to heat, mother, to stroke, luck (more)

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There are 9 sets of staircases in all. That's a lot of climbing and reading!

I'd love to know how the color and word combinations were created. Was there a specific theory behind how each color corresponded with it's word? I sent an inquiry to the artist, but haven't heard back from him.

Want to see more? Professor Gläsker has created many other amazingly colorful architectural pieces.

via source-thanks for the tip!

For your inner child

This is pretty silly. Perpetual Kid has an online store dedicated to all-things "inner child" related. I, of course, was drawn to the color-themed items. For instance, a Crayon-scented perfume.
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"Inspired by childhood, the Crayon cologne smells just like that new box of crayons you opened on your first day of school!"

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Or how about paint-scented perfume? This, I thought, was pushing the envelope a bit far. Does anyone actually -like- the smell of wet paint? "Watching paint dry may be boring, but smelling it is an entirely different matter!" Of course, given that my husband loves the smell of gasoline, I suppose it's possible...

So, I figured it was all gag gifts- they were kidding, right? But then after reading the next product description, I think they may actually be serious!

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"Our sushi scent smells of sticky white rice and seaweed, with a hint of ginger and lemon. Delectable! After all, if it smelled like fish, would you wear it?"