September – Purple

Colour Project – Purple, Part 1

I think it pisses god off if you walk past the colour purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.” Alice Walker – The Colour Purple

Violet, Egg Plant, Thistle, Orchid, Mauve, Passion Fruit, Plum, Periwinkle, Iris, Lilac, Lavender, Wisteria, Grape, Mulberry, Purple People Eater, Amethyst, Jacaranda, Purple Rain, Hydrangea, Heliotrope…

Purple is uplifting and calming, it offers a sense of spirituality and encourages creativity. It is a balance between hot and cold (red/blue) with red to enliven and blue to calm.

Purple is the colour of royalty, reserved for the highest ranking emperors and kings and the highest vestments of the priesthood. It is also associated with mystics, wizards, clairvoyants…

Purple dye is very rare in nature and was therefore only available to the wealthy and privileged. Tyrian Purple from the Murex shellfish was found in the Lebanon area of Tyre and extracted from the glands of the Murex shellfish. In 1685 William Cole described the sun sensitive colour process of the shellfish that gave purple dye/pigment. …if dye is placed in sun it changed colour – white (milk), light green, deep green, dull sea green, watched(blue), purplish re, deep purple red... It leaves a fishy garilcy smell – even centuries later it can determine where the fabric is from by the smell when it is rubbed.

In 1856 William Henry Perkin  made the first man made purple dye from Coal Tar (an organic substance from fossilized trees) he was trying to find a synthetic alternative to quinine. This lead to medical and commercial spin offs in Cholera, Tuberculosis, Chemotherapy, immunology etc

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me, And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.”  Jenny Joseph

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