Color Preferences for Weavers

Weavers talk about color a lot and how difficult it is to anticipate what happens when weft crosses warp. The term mud is thrown around like it’s a bad thing, although a recent post by Christina Garton would say otherwise. I get the whole “mud” thing, but there is a whole other world of color theory I wish more people would talk about, and that is color preference. In the same way that I think it is interesting that sleeping bag in Italian translates to sack of hair in English, I believe there must be interesting cultural differences in our color preferences depending on who we are, what we do, the language we speak, and where we live.

Color Preferences

Black, silver/greay and white cars dominate in our freeways and parking lots. Photo credit: Pixabay

I just looked up car color preferences, and in North America, I bet you aren’t completely surprised to know that 72 percent of cars are white, silver/gray, or black, which explains what I call the “neutral car conventions” that I often see on the freeway and in parking lots. I purposefully bought a light blue car not only because it is a favorite color of mine but because I wanted a car that was easy to find in the parking lot. Most of us have heard and I just confirmed with a quick search, that blue is the most popular color in the world followed by red and green, so why do we prefer our cars to be neutrals?

I once heard a weaver say that a bit of black in a scarf helps to sell it, and I think she had a point based on the amount of black that people wear. I’ve also heard that weavers love purple, and although I can’t look that up, anecdotally I’d say it is true, and I’m all in for purple, too. Conversely, according to legend, yellow isn’t popular with weavers, but then yellow came up last as a popular color for the general population, so that might also be true. That said, I was just looking at some yellow napkins Elisabeth Hill wove for Handwoven November/December 2018, and they are drop-dead gorgeous. Maybe we just don’t like mixing yellow and purple too much, i.e., weaving “mud.”

Color Preferences

As long as yellow and purple don’t cross as in this rep piece, you can avoid mud. Photo credit: Susan E. Horton

In one of the many color classes I’ve taken that didn’t quite satisfy my quest for another type of color theory, I remember the teacher saying that the universal color that no one cares for is baby-poo green. That I agree with. Mud I’ll take, but not that mushy-looking, weird green-brown color.

I wish I knew much more about the origins of color preferences. I’d love to know your thoughts on how they develop, and if anyone has a great resource, I’m all ears, or maybe all eyes.

Weave well,

Learn more about the history of lace in PieceWork!

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