The Artist Who Wants to Banish Fear of Color

kafe fassettKaffe Fassett has often said that his mission in life is to “banish the fear of color.” He plays with rainbow hues the same way a painter mixes shades on a palette, using needlepoint, patchwork, painting, knitting, and ceramics to create a veritable feast of color.

An exhibition of his work, titled “The Colorful World of Kaffe Fassett,” is on display at the American Museum in Britain until November 2. Laura Beresford, the exhibition’s curator, describes the show as “textile art.”

The spectacle begins at the entrance to the exhibit area, where knitted strands decorate the garden lamps and multicolored pom-poms hang from an aged tree like jewel-bright fruit. Once inside, the visitor is treated to even more dramatic visual treasures: a royal red Chinese vase presides over other scarlet-hued creations, a deep blue patchwork rug replicates Turkish tile flooring, and crisp green vegetable patterns (from artichokes through onions to cabbages and leeks) are woven into cushions with startling detail.

The author of more than thirty books, Kaffe Fassett has hosted TV and radio program for the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, where he currently resides. In 1988 his design and color work was the subject of a one-man show at London’s prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum, marking the first time a living fabric artist had a dedicated show there. The same show went on to tour nine countries. He has designed stage props and costumes for the Royal Shakespeare Company and exhibited his quilts, knitting, and needlepoint at the Modemuseum Hasselt, Belgium in 2007. Not surprisingly, his autobiography is titled ‘Dreaming in Color.’
kafe fassett 1Among the items on display at the American Museum is a knitted bodice and skirt with flowing and dotted sleeves that he created with UK designer Bill Gibb, walls of hand-knitted sweaters made from silk and alpaca, and a vibrant full-sleeved coat that Fassett knitted after seeing Rudolf Nureyev in a ballet of “Romeo and Juliet.” The exhibition also includes Fassett’s pen-and-ink drawings from 1964, which hang in a room dedicated to artwork from the 17th century.

Fassett, whose self-proclaimed motto is “When in doubt- add twenty more colors” has even made his famous craft-related quotes part of the exhibition. They have been printed on posters and hung on a multicolored wall, silently reminding visitors of the philosophy that drives his vision.

The American Museum was founded in 1961 to showcase American artwork and crafts. Situated inside a 19th-century manor, it features wood-panelled rooms full of handcrafted furniture from Connecticut or Massachusetts. A collection of more than 250 patchwork quilts provided plenty of color to offset the neutral shades of the Shakers.

When asked about future exhibition dates and details, Fassett smiles affably and shrugs his shoulders beneath a multicolored shirt. He wears a purple sweater tied around his neck and deep green corduroy trousers. This vagueness about date and place is understandable from an artist who turned his back on black and white long ago and has remained staunchly faithful to a playful color credo.

Read more Segmation blog posts about colorful artist:

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French Floral and Portrait Painter – Henri Fantin-Latour

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Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian Art

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Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian ArtAround 200 AD, color became a focal point in Christian art. In the beginning, each color’s meaning was taken from Ancient Greek and Roman interpretations, but soon the Bible became the color guide for Christian artists.

When the Roman Catholic Church began using color to represent liturgical seasons, five were chosen as standard: purple, white, black, red, and green. Years later, blue and gold were added. Later on, two more colors joined the list: vibrant orange, which represented courage and strength, and rich brown, the symbol of earth and humility.

These key colors and their variants are apparent in surviving pieces of medieval Christian art and religious iconography.

● Purple, a royal color since ancient times, is also associated with repentance. It is the liturgical color for Lent and Advent.

● White symbolizes innocence, purity, and virtue. To this day it remains the representative color for all of the Christian high Holy Days, such as Christmas and Easter.

● Black is regarded as the symbol of death and mourning, although in some instances it could represent power. Black is the color associated with Good Friday.

● Red is the color of Pentecost and symbolizes the Holy Spirit. During the Medieval period it represented the blood of Christian martyrs.

● Green glorifies the season of Epiphany. It celebrates fertility, nature, bounty, and hope.

● Yellow (gold) symbolizes hope, light, and purity. When combined with white, it is the symbolic color for the Easter season.

● Blue embodies heavenly grace. The Virgin Mary is often depicted wearing blue.

Color Symbolism in Medieval Christian Art 1During the Middle Ages, color and light became important mediums for artistic expression. Color in particular was a vehicle for illustrating a higher reality, so shading was discouraged in favor of pure color. On canvas, human skin was not flesh-colored, but a pearly and ethereal white. Blood was a life-rich red, and skies and lakes were more cerulean than blue. Mixing paint became an art form in itself, as artists tried to reproduce the desired hues as clearly as possible.

Although there was a system in place for color symbolism, it was not set in stone. Artists yielded to a natural impulse and added their own interpretations while paying lip service to the original standards. In the study halls and libraries, theologians and philosophers assigned additional meanings to each shade in the artists’ palette. It can make things confusing for modern art historians, especially when you take into consideration that the color symbolism of religious art found its way into secular art too. But a strong enough core system was in place to allow reasonable interpretation to be possible even today.

Read more Segmation blog posts about color symbolism:

The Stories Behind Holiday Colors

Colors Red and Purple: A History of Emotion

Art in Ancient Egypt

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Basic Color Theory – Color Matters

Color Wheel

The world is filled with infinite shades of color, from a candy-apple-red sports car to a smoldering orange sunset to the crisp green of springtime grass. The popular color wheel simplifies the shades into 12 distinct colors to help illustrate the variations.

Arranged in a circle with 12 sections, the wheel presents a visual representation of the primary colors in the following order: blue, blue/green, green, yellow/green, yellow, yellow/orange, orange, red/orange, red, red/purple, purple, blue/purple. The colors are arranged in a chromatic sequence, with complementary shades opposite one another. These are all of the standalone colors that cannot be created by mixing other hues. Secondary and tertiary hues can then be created by mixing three primary colors (traditionally red, yellow, and blue).

The color wheel is further segmented into active and passive hues. Active colors (reds, oranges, yellows) will appear as more dominant when placed against passive shades, while the passive colors (purples, blues, greens) appear to recede when viewed near the active ones.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Primary colors:

A Closer Look at Complementary Colors

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Colors of Cancun

What happens in Cancun doesn’t necessarily stay in Cancun. People love to share pictures of their Mexico vacations on their social networks. Throughout the blogosphere a common praise is repeated about Cancun: it is full of color.

    • Cancun Quintana Roo, Mex. © Aaron Rodriguez

      © Aaron Rodriguez

      I have never experienced sunset in this way before. The colors are simply delightful.

-        Worth a Thousand Words

    • This is how blue the water was, without help from photoshop…

-        Ever Lovely

    • The best way to appreciate [the peculiar colors of Cancun] is to rest on the beach, enjoying the nature around you, letting it amaze you with the most incredible panoramas.

-        Hyatt Regency Cancun

Natural Colors

Why are the colors of Cancun so enchanting? Some say, aside from beautiful sunsets and white sandy beaches, that Cancun is mainly water and jungle. Even though many visitors only see the tips of textured greens that exist in the jungle, they note how the shade of the jungle is a sharp contrast from the brilliant exposure of the ocean.

Cultural Colors

Plush foliage surrounds the ancient Mayan ruins and brings the history of Cancun to life. People visit these artifacts and are fascinated by the stories locals and tribesmen tell. The distinct look of Mexico’s native people is also rooted in color. Their brown skin, dark eyes and black hair are very distinct. Most carry the stories of Mayan culture with pride and some boast the green, red and white of the Mexican flag as well.

Oceanic Colors

Private Beach at Rui Caribe Cancun Mexico  © cgt

© cgt

Tourists tend to visit the ruins at certain times during their holiday but try to spend much of their time on the beach, too. The colors of Cancun’s water are rich blues. On Pink Shore’s blogger recently wrote, “…the blue water went on for days it was so beautiful!”

Even those who have yet to visit Cancun can attest to the fact that this destination is full of color. During springtime, social networks come alive with pictures posted from Cancun. It is one of the most popular spring break destinations for people in North America and other parts of the world. People seem drawn to Cancun for its warm weather and promise of relaxation, but those who truly experience the colors of Cancun are the ones who leave refreshed. Even though their holidays end, Cancun doesn’t easily leave them. The colors live on in their pictures and memories.

 

Read more Segmation blog posts about art, color and travel:

Why You Should Make Art When You Travel (www.segmation.com)

Travel Like an Artist

The World’s Favorite Color

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Colorful Flowers to Plant this Spring

Do April showers bring May flowers where you live? In many parts of the world, especially the United States, this is true. In some areas, flowers spring up with little help. They create breathtaking scenery throughout nature. You can also create a distinct backdrop by planting flowers of your choosing.

Flowers come in all shapes and sizes, literally. From sunflowers, which can grow beyond 12 feet tall to trailing calibrachoas, which are best hung, you will be able to choose the perfect flowers to make your scenery complete. There are no wrong flowers to pick when planning a garden, but there are some colorful choices Segmation is excited to see this season.

 Flowers In Bloom by Segmation

Here are four colorful flowers we hope to see this spring:

      1. Dahlias are dramatic flowers. Related to sunflowers and daisies, they are tall with full blooms. They can be seen in a multitude of bright colors (except blue) throughout the entire summer and into fall. These flowers are at home in Mexico, where they are the national flower.
      2. Clematis is actually a vine plant that reaches for the sun. With is roots planted deep in mulch and the support it needs for its delicate frame, clematis will climb, twist, curl and sprout new purple leaves.
      3. Daffodils are properly known as narcissus flowers. When they appear it is safe to say spring has sprung. In fact, from their appearance it looks like they want to announce it themselves. With their trumpet-esc bells, ruffling pedal collars and vibrant shades of yellow and orange, they are sure to catch everyone’s attention.
      4. Snapdragons bring afresh sense of color and fun to any garden. These flowers will develop into different bright shades as they take on the shape of a dragon’s mouth. This is why the flower properly known as an antirrhinum is now popularly known as snapdragons.

All this talk of flowers beckons the question: when will spring reach full bloom? It could be right around the corner or a ways off depending on where your live. But if you are craving the surrounding of plush flowers in full bloom, check local flower shows. Many cities, like San Diego, look forward to the upcoming floral exhibitions.

Flower Shows

Each year The San Diego Museum of Art hosts a fundraiser and flower show called, “Art Alive.” Unlike other flower shows, this year there will be over 100 “floral interpretations of famous artwork.” Also presented will be flowers inspired by the Spanish baroque architecture of the museum and its gardens. If you are in the area, this is going to be something you want to see with your own eyes.

No matter where you live, this is the season where you will want to notice the natural beauty of flowers. Whether you plant them yourself or enjoy the ones that spring up, enjoy the sight while you can. Blink and you might miss it.

Read more Segmation blog posts about out-of-the-box art:

Sunflowers are Summer’s Glory

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Roses May Smell the Same, but Colors Make a Difference

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Can Trash Become Artistic Treasure?

scaled vector version of originalThe saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure,” seems as old as time. It is often said at garage sales and donation centers. For instance, a man might shout this when he finds the perfect 9 iron for 25 cents. Or, a woman when she finds a beautiful piece of artwork for pennies. Now, this statement is being proclaimed in art galleries around the world, and the trash being referenced is worth a whole lot more than a quarter.

From New York to Argentina and all the way to Rome, artists are proving trash is worth its weight in gold… and then some.

It wouldn’t be surprising if entrepreneur Justin Gignac could sell ice to Eskimos. After all, he has made a business out of selling trash to people all over the world. His company was not intentional but the by-product of a bet. In 2001 Gignac was an advocate for the concept of product packaging. He believed nicely packaged products would sell, even if the products were… well… trash.

He started creating NYC Garbage Cubes to prove this point. Gignac fills clear cubes with trash found on the streets and sells them for $50 per pop. He has sold over 1,400 of them. These NYC Garbage Cubes are believed to have made their ways into the homes of people in over 30 countries.

Unlike Gignac, nothing about Elisa Insua is packaged. The Argentinean artist describes her work as, “mixed media art.” To create a single piece she might combine hundreds of small items, like dice, pieces of jewelry, buttons and nails with a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Insua puts these pieces together in creative ways and ultimately comes up with what she likes to call “resurrected trash.”

In Italy, one cleaning woman might find herself wishing trash would resurrect itself. An art exhibit in Bari included cookie crumbs scattered on the floor. It is easy to guess what happened to this display. She accidentally threw away an estimated $13,700 worth of artwork because she thought it was trash.

What one person sees as trash, another person considers treasure. Contemporary artwork is not always understood in its own time. Currently, the rising popularity of using trash as an art medium is anything but ordinary. In fact, it’s quite extraordinary. Who would have thought to collect and sell trash? Or use cookie crumbs in an art gallery exhibit? Perhaps Elisa Insua says it best with her term for the mixed art medium she loves. It is resurrected trash. In its new form, it is art.

Read more Segmation blog posts about out-of-the-box art:

Art Making from Unconventional Objects

Chalk Art Transforms the Sidewalk into a Canvas

Man Uses His Own Blood as an Art Medium

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Gender/Color Divide

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How many colors can you see? It’s easy to start rattling them off, but after a couple dozen, you may find yourself struggling to keep the list going. In reality, most of us are trichromats, which means we have three standard cones in our retinas to detect blue, green, and red. From there, our brains can discern about 1 million different shades made up of those three primary colors.

 

While you’re still reeling from that number, consider this: studies have shown that a small percentage of women are tetrachromats — in addition to the standard three cones in their retinas, they have an extra fourth cone that allows them to pick up a total of 100 million shades! That’s a whole lot of Crayolas.

Interestingly, men don’t have the potential for this color-detecting superpower. That’s because the extra gene is found on the X chromosome, and men have only one of those. Since women have two X chromosomes, there’s a rare possibility (2-3%) that they’ll have two types of red cones on each one.

In many cases, tetrachromats may not even realize their heightened sensitivity to color variations — until someone else points it out.

Read more Segmation blog posts about Gender artwork:

Blue is for Boys, Pink is for Girls

Do Men and Women See Colors Differently?

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