Posts Tagged ‘Blue’

bluer than blue?

November 19, 2015

As in any other medium, there seems no limit to the imagery one can create in working in shibori.  That’s one of the things I love about it.  The challenge lies in its engineering aspects. The image below is student work, but it wasn’t child’s play, it was work.

DL-Sailboat
I was fortunate to witness some of the aspects of the making of this piece – and yes, part of it may have been play – certainly experimental. It was a dip at a time, letting it oxidize, assessing it and repeating the process until the dye was deep enough or that it covered the desired areas. I love the playful aspects of the piece. It also takes me to a long ago place, a certain lake and some memorable sailing.

From time to time, especially when I’m in the middle of a workshop, often, a particular proverb comes to mind. I encountered it my early years of teaching as well as explorations in indigo. It has become a favorite:

「青は藍より出でて藍より青し」
「あおは あいより でて あい より あお し」
Ao wa ai yori dete ai yori ao shi.

The translation has to do with blue being stronger/better/beyond the blue in the indigo plant (at least it’s a reference to an original color source) or something of that ilk. At any rate, it refers to the student being better than the teacher – quite often the case and certainly in my experience many times. So, I wonder if this has more to do with becoming better – growing past the teacher, which is what is wanted in the end. That may be the message in the proverb and to the teacher as well.

Blue is returning?

February 23, 2013
Indigo Blue

Indigo Blue

You, dear reader, know already how captivated I am by the many variations exhibited in this color.  It doesn’t need to be said.

So, it was a surprise to find this article in the News and Observer’s Home & Garden section this morning.  It eased the beginning to a pouring down rain day and offered some refreshing ways to think about the color.

I like words like “sapphire, navy, inky, midnight, Monaco, sky, dusk” and “Zen” – they work.  I’m sure we could conjure up a few more.

It seems there is no end actually, but that could be said about any color.  Blue, indigo blue, though is one of those universals, always with us day in and day out.  All you have to do is step outside and look up.  That’s just the beginning.

Blues & Greens

August 3, 2008

Years ago, in my art history studies of ancient Babylon, and encountering the images of the Ishtar gate, I was amazed. It was almost a solid indigo! Or so it seemed. A few years later, I went to New York and visited the Met with the specific intention of seeing the Lamassu. What I didn’t expect was the lion gate which was (as I recall) just around the corner (so to speak). I was amazed at the size of the lion and of course, again, attracted to those brilliant blue-green tiles.  It only reinforced my love of the color.

The Met’s write up says, The most important street in Babylon was the Processional Way, leading from the inner city through the Ishtar Gate to the Bit Akitu, or “House of the New Year’s Festival.” The Ishtar Gate, built by Nebuchadnezzar II, was a glazed-brick structure decorated with figures of bulls and dragons, symbols of the weather god Adad and of Marduk. North of the gate the roadway was lined with glazed figures of striding lions. This relief of a lion, the animal associated with Ishtar, goddess of love and war, served to protect the street; its repeated design served as a guide for the ritual processions from the city to the temple. Here there is no mention of the color in these tiles.  And my textbook (Art Across Time by Adams), only uses the the word “blue” but there is a description of the glazing process.

However, in Blue, The History of Color by Michael Pastoureau says, In the ancient languages of the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin, the language barrier separating green and blue is often fluid. This is manifest in their artwork, specifically in the glazing and enameling where the two colors were juxtaposed or melded.

This also brings to mind a similarity in Japanese language. Often (depending on the context), ao 青(blue) is also used as meaning green. I don’t know that they make this apparent though in their use of color.


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