Whether you have had lots of snow this winter or lots of brown (such as can be found in the Desert Southwest), I bet everyone can agree that we are all longing for color! Colorful flowers, grasses greening, big blue skies, etc. The list can go on and on. This week’s Wonderful Handmade Wednesday on Indiemade features a wide range of colorful handmade creations by artist friends. Any will make a perfect pick-me-up gift for a loved one . . . or for yourself! Enjoy these “Colorful Creations”:
The weather has been unusually warm here in the Desert Southwest (sorry about that to my northern friends!). Winter was only a glancing blow a few times. Since the days have been warm with plenty of sunshine, the grass in the back yard is beginning to green up and some fruit trees are already blooming, masses of pale pink and white flowers. One of my geraniums is blooming, the hot fuchsia color is so welcome, and the hardy roses are putting on lovely reddish new growth. Am sure they will be in full bloom in several weeks. And, happily, the much beloved Spanish lavender is setting buds. Soon the cacti and other native desert plants will be in full bloom - maybe not the showiest of flowers, but gorgeously sublime nonetheless.
I have always been fascinated with words, especially when it comes to colors. Just how many different words are there to describe a color? But one person “blue” is not always another person’s “blue.” My husband is a good example. This past weekend we were at Lowe’s looking at paint chips: yellows, blues and greens. DH’s definition of any shade or tint of blue, whether it is a pale baby blue or a dark navy blue, is “blue.” I, myself, am much more exacting most of the time. So, if I see “cornflower blue,” I will call it that.
This week’s Wonderful Handmade Wednesday on Indiemade features artisan design that feature spirals, circles and/or arcs. All three symbols were used as early as 38.000 BC in Europe, Africa, Australia and South America when ancient man began to carve into stone or paint cave walls in protected areas. It is possible that earlier hunter/gatherer peoples might have decorated their bodies and clothes or marked trees or features in the landscape but, if they did, evidence of that art has not survived.
The theme for this week's Wonderful Handmade Wednesday on Indiemade is "The Magical Number 7." Throughout the history of mankind, the number 7 has been seen as a number with special magical and / or spiritual significance. Here are some examples:
- The number 7 is the number of perfection, security, safety and rest.
- Used 735 times in the Bible (54 times in the book of Revelation alone), the number 7 is the foundation of God's word.
- Seven circles form the symbol called “The Seed of Life”: six circles symbolize the six days of creation and the central circle symbolizes the day of rest.
- The number 7 is the sacred spiritual number, “the energy of the mystics."
Last week’s Wonderful Handmade Wednesday blog focused on artisan made creations using the color red. This week the focus is on the color pink. Pink is another color that has deep associations with Valentine’s Day, often paired with the more emotionally intense red on cards and candies and other Valentine’s items. Although both red and pink represent love, the color red represents heat and passion, while the color pink represents romance and charm. Hot pink is used to communicate playfulness, while light pink is used to communicate tenderness. It is the color of universal love, of others and of oneself. It symbolizes friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability (which is why I often will wear a pink top when selling my jewelry at an arts festival).
One of my favorite sayings is from Carl Sandburg: “Nothing happens unless first we dream.” I don’t know about the other artists that are included in this post, but I often dream about a design, especially one I am trying to figure out, whether it be a color combination or a new wire wrap technique. Maybe “dream” is not exactly the right word, but a design can come to me in that state between wakefulness and sleep where my mind comes up with all sorts of weird stuff.
Anyway, the handmade items in this post are the first ones listed (at least at the time this was posted) in the shops of the Indiemade artists featured here. Most are one of a kind items . . . and all are a “dream” to have. Enjoy.
Since purple is a fairly rare color in nature, an almost magical aura has been associated to it throughout human history. The first historical record of a purple dye, called Tyrian purple, indicates that it began to be manufactured in the Phoenician city of Tyre in the eastern Mediterranean in the 14th century BCE. The dye was extracted from the glands of several types of shellfish, but especially the Murex brandaris. The process to extract the dye took about three days. Thousands of putrefied, crushed shellfish were left to bake in the sun. Salt was then added and the mash of glands were boiled down. (Can you imagine the overwhelming stench of the process!!!). It took about 12,000 shellfish to extract 1.5 grams of the pure dye, barely enough to dye a single garment the size of a Roman toga. In 301 A.D. during the reign of Roman Emperor Diocletian, one pound of purple dye cost 150,000 denarii or around three pounds of gold. This is the main reason the purple color was reserved for emperors or individuals with titles of royal authority.
Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. It is a day that started with pagan roots, associated with the Roman festival, Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February (February 13-15), Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders, Romulus and Remus. Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed around 496 A.D. when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. It is not known, however, which of three St. Valentines (all of whom were martyred) Pope Gelasius was honoring. In 1381, Geoffrey Chaucer, a famous English poet, first associated St. Valentine's Day with romance in a poem he wrote in honor of the engagement between Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. The engagement, the mating season of birds, St. Valentine’s Day and true love were all linked . . . and it’s been a day for lovers ever since.
A new year is almost on us. Which leaves me to wonder: what the heck happened to 2016? I don't know about you, but it sure zoomed by quickly! Despite its swift passing, 2016 also witnessed exquisite handmade creations from a host of artist friends. To help ring in 2017, I decided to share some of those favorites - many are one of a kind pieces - that would be perfect to wear to any New Year's Eve party. Enjoy!