August 15, 2017 by Kathleen
“It must be admitted, that if blue is anything on this earth, it is abundant.” – Bluets by Maggie Nelson
It is the season of blue: vast blue skies, the endless blue sea, blue and white stripes on a crisp, cotton blouse, blue blazers over khaki slacks at a sunset soirée, fresh blueberry pies on blue-checked tablecloths, red, white, and blue flags fluttering in the summer breeze, and blue hydrangeas in full bloom, their soft round blooms stretching above white picket fences.
On my recent visit to the southwest of France, I enjoyed a lecture demonstration on the ancient blue pastel dye from the town of Lectoure in the region known as the Golden Triangle (Toulouse, Albi, and Carcassonne). Fresh leaves from the woad plant furnish the remarkable pigment. The leaves are harvested three to four times a year, crushed and reduced to pulp. The fermented pulp is then molded into balls by a woad master (soaked, oxidized, rested, and dried). During the Renaissance, the trade of the woad balls brought immense wealth to merchants and the blue obtained from them was called the “King’s Blue.”
The color blue has been employed in interior design through the ages, incorporated into fabrics, wallcoverings, china, porcelain, and tile. It's been used in cotton toiles and ticking stripes for centuries and continues to be the darling of the color wheel. Its many shades give myriad options for room schemes— from watery baby blue to deep midnight hues. Blue lends a fresh and crisp feel to a room when paired with bright white, and nautical navy is a quintessential component of so many seaside and coastal interiors. It can be cold and cool or dramatic and moody depending on the way the light hits it.
“There are colours that feel right for now and as I look at my color palette when I am designing, my eye keeps straying back to blues. There are so many different tones to choose from — from the palest sky blue to deepest darkest denim, rich indigo to dirty petrol shades, and a kick of that amazing Yves Klein blue that lends a little zippiness when used on the piping of a chair or inside the kick pleat of a valance.” -British interior designer Kit Kemp, Every Room Tells a Story.
And yet the term blue has many other — and sometimes less joyful — associations. The phrase "feeling blue" refers to feelings of sadness and melancholy. The phrase is linked to a custom among many old deep water sailing ships. If the ship lost the captain or any of the officers during its voyage, she would fly blue flags and have a blue band painted along her entire hull when returning to home port (from quora.com), "Out of the blue" gives the color a sense of unexpected mystery, while "talked a blue streak" and "blue in the face" have an air of rushed impatience about them and likely come from analogies to weather and lightning. "Once in a blue moon" connotes a rare occurrence. “Black and blue” conjures feelings of anger, sadness, and hurt, while “moody blues” elicits memories of enjoying calming jazz in a smoky speakeasy.
Half the population in the Western world claims blue to be their favorite color. It has been used by hospitals to calm crying infants and sedate the emotionally disturbed (Bluets) and in spiritual circles it is the color of the throat chakra. “Blue connects you with the Divine; it is the color that we associate with Heaven. Blue energy is pure, soothing, calming, and healing. Imagine yourself lying on the grass on a beautiful sunny day, looking at the blue sky. How do you feel? Peaceful. Serene. Content. Tranquil.” (from chakra-anatomy.com)
Here are some images to enjoy with hopes they leave you feeling calm and contented.
Au revoir for now!