How Do You Color Your World?

On one of the forums in Ravelry, there was an interesting discussion on color versus black and white photography for simple patterns for a beginning knitter’s class. As this is a topic on a forum for designers, it was interesting how the topic went in different directions.

From a marketing standpoint, at least in knitting and other crafty hobbies, color photography is seen as a higher quality. Interestingly, you are not always able to see the best detail with color photography. In the case of the thread that started the topic, they are simple patterns with (I have heard although have not seen) a very good quality black and white. One of the reasons they are given in black and white is to keep costs down for the beginner students so they don’t have to shell out so much.

Another interesting observation on the topic was how black and white photography (art photography) has value. Think Ansel Adams. Of course, we live in an instant gratification, more is more, huge is more, all the bells and whistles is more society. We do judge a book by its’ cover…or rather, color. Photography, that is. One thing that surely makes or breaks a pattern in that very small amount of time a consumer spends looking at things before picking it up and looking further. If the photography is not eye catching and well done, chances are the pattern will not be looked at.

For myself, I honestly cannot enjoy a sense of intimacy with a black and white art photo. I can appreciate it’s beauty, but I don’t want to live with it. It feels sterile and devoid of passion. Color greatly affects feeling, emotion, sense of well being. Color can make you feel energetic or languid. Color communicates, and we internalize what is communicated.

I am sure you all have seen some tone on tone rooms done in beige or off white. I know they can look sophisticated, but again it tends to not be my thing. Right now I am picking out carpeting and paint colors for my studio. I already have a sofa going into it that I am pulling colors from the upholstery, but deciding on a final color scheme has been somewhat tricky. I don’t want my studio of all places to be devoid of color, and so neutral it has a neutered feel.

The upholstery is a wonderful tapestry with ducks swimming in water, grasses and cattails, leafy trees, and some ducks flying. The ducks are mallards. There is an amazing variety of colors in this tapestry. The problem is if I have too much color on the walls and floor, the tapestry will not be a focal point. If I go with too neutral of a scheme, there won’t be enough punch in the room to look like anything but the home of someone who cannot commit, someone who doesn’t know color, or someone who enjoys an “artsy” or “sophisticated” no color kind of palette. I am none of those. I was on the Dean’s list when studying metal smithing, but I can say without hesitation that there are things about the world of fine art that are needlessly high brow.

I enjoy color. In my home, I want a peaceful environment while feeling energized. I want a welcoming environment, so I want it to feel warm. I also want it to feel like a creative space. I want it to feel like it has personality.

In the end, for the carpet, I picked out a light colored neutral for the carpet. The walls will be a yellow green (a color that is in abundance in the tapestry upholstery, as is the light colored neutral). The upholstery also has some mauve, royal blue, blue green, yellow, orange,rust, and other colors. I plan on picking up some of the mauve and purple colors in accents. This ended up being a good compromise between not enough color and too much color. There is enough of a chic feel with the yellow green on the walls to fill the artistic and creative needs (I thought some orchids would be a nice touch in that room too). There isn’t such a huge wow between the carpet and walls that nothing else gets noticed either. In designing the room, I had to decide what was going to be most important and make choices based on that. Not everything can be the “subject”. In design, some things have to more important, and other things have to recede and play a supportive role.

Peace and Knitting, JoLene Treace

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