AFRICAN COLOR WILD AND FREE

Ahh color . I have always loved it, and thought I was pretty liberated in using it; until I went to live in Africa that is...
African wax prints

In Africa there are no color rules, no color police; every color goes with every other color.  If you like it, it goes !

There is a newer housing development in our town and everyone calls it Smarties.
 Purple, pink, orange, lime green, you name it and there is a house painted that color.
Home owners association? What's that?
 Bo-Kaap Cape Town



I recently come across this great explanation for the source of the African color palette.
(see link below)
I call the first palette our desert palette. 
We are all comfortable with this palette I think.

The African color palette derives from two sources. The first is traditional and utilizes earth pigments and natural dyes. This palette is full of ochres, browns, rusts, burgundies, blacks and the whites of raw, untreated cotton cloth and other natural fibers. This is what I call the “natural” African color set.
Neutral Color Scheme

When synthetic dyes were introduced to Africa a new range of colors appeared. The cloth dyers had not much experience with dyes, so they used each one on its own and at full strength. The result was a set of brilliant, strong reds, rich full blues, emerald greens, and golden yellows, colors never before seen. These form the “dyed” African color set.
primary-colors.jpg



Now that's the wild and free palette !

Sometimes I have to caution our artisans, that Westerners are not as liberated in color use as Africans, and selling wild color combinations is often hard to do.

Myself ? 
I have to say, that how I think about color, and what colors "go together" has greatly expanded since living in Namibia, but I still have a very long ways to go before being truly FREE .


Fashion
and more fashion
Christie Brown fashion design







hand painted candles  

Even in Nature African colors can be intense

4 comments:

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

It is so refreshing to see color palettes from a different part of the world... Can't wait to see how these color palettes come across in your new bead creations!

Dr. Ann said...

Val-What an absolutely gorgeous blog! Just like the art you make! I will be avidly following you by RSS : )
Blessings,
Ann

Monique U. said...

Val, I am late to the party as usual! Just discovered your blog today, and I love this post in particular. Why is it that societies living in more modest economic strata seem to have the most gloriously colourful craft and art? And those of us in "rich" countries are so poor in the joyful expression of our colours? To busy trying to be neutral and blend in, I suppose! I love your photos and love what you are accomplishing!

Monique U. said...
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