Ari work is a time honored embroidery tradition in India, typically practiced by the Mochi caste of Gujarat, India. The Mochis adopted the Muslim religion during Mughal times and belonged to a leather-working caste. Leather work was done by men who used an ari hook to work lines of chain stitches on decorated leather shoes and slippers. This work is still done today and can be found in the shoe shops that cater to locals and tourists. I found a picture of these on the internet from Wandering Threads. As tastes change there are fewer customers for embroidered shoes and skilled men look for other ways to practice their traditional art. When recently in India I found a group of Muslim men commissioned by Kamlanjni Design Studio (no website) to stitch beautiful ari shawls and wall hangings with silk thread for the upscale Indian home décor market. The men work on floor frames that hold large pieces of handwoven fabric, several men working on a single piece. The designer has used traditional Mughal themes for the embroideries. The stitchers work with one hand on top of the fabric and one below. The ari hook itself is like an awl with a tiny hook at the tip. The thread is held beneath the fabric with the hand on top holding the hook. The hook is pushed through the fabric catching the thread into a loop which is then drawn to the top. This action is repeated as the hook advances creating a line of tiny or long chain stitches. In the work I photographed, the tiny chain stitches are used as filling stitches in a variety of colors as the patterns dictate. The colors and stitch patterns are radiant, and I am so happy that this beautiful stitch tradition has not been lost.
Neutral is a word that has a number of different meanings. Some people take it to be a color neither here nor there (a wishy washy color) or if based on a discussion – taking a stand somewhere between opposite sides. When studying art, a true neutral is a color or non color that is either greyish, black or brown. Sometimes it is referred to as one of the mud colors, often seen in nature. Making a neutral with paint can be made by mixing 2 complements or near complements from the color wheel. For example red and green make a glorious grey. Colors can often be neutralized a little so that the color is still recognizable but it is not nearly as bright as that of the purest brightest color. Once again, these dull colors can be made by mixing 2 complements or near complements together with varying amounts of paint. Neutrals can be even more enlivened when they vary in value from very dark to very light. As you can see below, a range of neutrals or neutralized colors are used together in each of the images. Occasionally a small quantity of bright saturated color is used with the neutrals which makes them and the bright color all the more powerful. Thanks again to my students who have contributed their art work with mine. Gail Harker
I am met with an exhilarating rush of excitement at seeing the lush, bright green fields below me when coming in for landings at Heathrow Airport. I can still hear the sound of the lowering ailerons on the plane as we approach the runway. That sound also enhances my own symbolic image of GREEN.
GREEN that changes from yellow green corn fields to emerald blue water. Green that has orange, red, purple, white or grey accompanying it. Green that is so pale that you can barely see it to a rich deep blackish green that envelopes like a forest. We humans are able to see more colors and values of Green then any other color.
There are ever so many symbolic association stories that accompany green. For example : emerald green pigment was made from verdigris and copper arsenite – a deadly poison used for painting and wallpaper in the 1800s. It was said that the noxious fumes from the green wallpaper in Napolean Bonaparte’s, St. Helena home caused his death. Read more if you like interesting diversions. Although this is interesting, it doesn’t tell me anything about how I feel about the color GREEN. The story above does. What is your personal association with Green? Gail Harker
Red is one of the most powerful colors when it is at its brightest. But Red has many moods and may be the most misunderstood color of all. For instance when red starts out as a very pale tint, it will be named pink. Pink conjures up very different images than a bright red or even a dark red. When red is at its brightest, it is sometimes associated with a so called true red. But which true red – one that is slanted towards purple (violet) or one that slants towards orange? or a red that swings on the pendulum somewhere between the 2 colors. It is at this point that color students become irritated with red – when they are challenged with how they have perceived their lifelong idea of red. It can be interesting to read about how different cultures perceive colors, as we do in our level 1 Color Course but there is no substitute for analyzing your own past and present color memory. Give red a chance in all its nuances. Notice the colors that are teamed with red in the blog. Thank you to our lovely students who are contributing to the Red blog. Have an enjoyable Valentines Day!
I asked my husband, Don if he liked the color blue and if so, what made it interesting to him? He answered me in a short sentence: Blue is blue and I like it. I thought – what a finite response! Well not everyone looks at color in the same way, especially if it doesn’t need to work for them. I had been placing blue pictures on this blog and was thinking about things such as: If you are trying to create an essence of peacefulness, which blue could you use: blue that leans towards violet, one that leans towards green or another that is somewhere in the middle? Blue is one of those colors that is so symbolic that we can’t easily shake away what happens in our human world of the blue water and sky. Fish can float and swim in water as stars appear to be floating above in the sky. Artists make this a symbol that allow spiritual images to float in space, untied to the earth. A type of freedom! Dreamy celestial feelings can be realized with blue. Blue pairs so well with green, which is right next door on the color wheel. This is what we see in nature with green grass meeting the blue sky. There is something to be said about blue – it doesn’t change its personality when it moves through the values of the palest tint to the darkest shade. it stays True Blue. So many values in between the lightest and darkest. Thank you to our students for showing their blue artwork in this blog. If you click on each image, you will be able to see the complete image with credits. Gail Harker
Violet can be as dark as the night or as pale as pearls. Since it can be such a dark color in pigment, there are so many possibilities of tints using this magical color. There is a wide range of Violet (Purple) colors that are mixtures of colors anywhere between red and blue. Purple has been known as a color since ancient times and was named as such in the English language since 975 or thereabouts. The name Violet was first recorded as a name in England in 1370. In the language of Color, both names could be used interchangeably. A particular color, in past times was often associated with the object itself. For example – the flowers violet and viola. There is no need to be a purist about finding an exact color to match its name. People perceive color names differently. Come April and May, you can look for yourself (if you live in the climate where violet (purple) flowers grow. If you don’t, most of my violet/ purple photos are from this time period in Washington State. Sometimes you can see the colors red violet, violet and blue violet in one flower. Pair this flower with green leaves surrounding it and you have a terrific color scheme, or try its complement yellow to see what you get. You will see a number of other unlikely colors that are striking next to violet in the photos below. Thanks to our students for showing their paper and stitched fabric art on this blog. Gail Harker
I first discovered that color was a cultural phenomena, when we moved to Scotland and then England in the seventies from Canada. I was swept into a darker world with granite buildings, overcast skies, neutralized soft greens and heathers and people dressed in dark colors. The subtlety of the colors escaped me until I learned to see and understand neutrals. Once in England I made the mistake of wearing a bright orange dress to college. My friend mentioned kindly to me that orange was over the top as a fashion color in England. Later in the nineties when we moved to America, I was awestruck by the mountains of orange pumpkins piled high in front of the grocery stores in October. Indeed there were bright colors of orange that met me at every turn. I had an aha moment about colors that surround people in their every day environment and how it affects them. Orange is still one of the raciest, lightest brightest colors – from pale to warm and then pulsatingly hot. Notice how the complementary blues or near complementary color in the photos reacts with the orange. Or how the analogous colors of yellow and red flow smoothly together with orange. Thanks to our students for some of the beautiful images. Click on each one to see full credits and the loveliness of each piece. Gail Harker