Thursday, 4 September 2008

Why red ?

Why red ?

This is going to be a long wordy post, I’m afraid !

I was welcomed into life with a drama and a red flower bunch ; a gift by my grandpa’s excentric 3rd wife, which my mum thought very shocking and unappropriate.

Later on at age 7, I was gifted by my parents with a red bedspread which became my dummy and helped me stop sucking my thumb. I am quite ashamed to reveal that I still have it on my bed, although it has grown very dishevelled with the passing of time. On last year’s Bead Journal Project I was tempted several times to do a page with a piece of that old bedspread, and also to work on the red thread theme.

I love colours and when I started reading the book “A Perfect Red” by Amy Butler Greenfield which had just been translated into French last year, I got really excited and fascinated. I had no idea that the quest for a colour was so intimately linked with political, economical and scientific issues !

Then just before I left for the holidays I read somewhere the claim that black, red and white are the three major colours of mankind. Elsewhere Michel Pastoureau, a French historian specialized in colour, claims that red is THE ultimate colour. Black and white are sometimes said to be no colours. These 3 colours are associated with many symbols ; day, night, bone, earth, blood, life, death, power, desire, church….

Obviously as soon as I had made up my mind I saw red everywhere, in paintings, road signs and even insects !

Finally the Museum of Arts Décoratifs in Paris is organizing an exhibition on the colour red next March.

For me, working primarily from colours rather than concepts is an attempt to harmonize my efforts and also to go towards abstract.

Plus I have decided to buy a minimum of supplies this year, and a very large part of my existing stash is red based.

There you are ! :o)

Added later : the BNF - French National Library organized an exhibition on red and the costumes of designer Christian Lacroix a few years ago. The text is only in French but there are nice pictures of the costumes here.


GraceBeading said...

I like your thought process and I think I would have really enjoyed meeting your grandpa's 3rd wife!

I think it's remarkable that you still have a bedspread from your childhood. It seems have so little from mine, but wish I did sometimes.

I look forward to seeing what you do with your first page.

Hélène H said...

Thanks Grace !

ACey said...

Am so intrigued by your plans for this year. It's funny, red is the color I have the least of and I am always surprised by that because I actually like red quite a lot ...

KV said...

Your idea sounds wonderful, Helene! Looking forward to seeing what you do with these great colors . . .

Kathy V in NM