Thrums’ books, as you may know by now, are heavy on photography. Our archives contain tens of thousands of photos of textiles and artisans and landscapes from all over the world. The images, the colors, the richness sometimes overwhelm one’s eyeballs. (The hours spent editing the photos, choosing the paltry few we have room to use in any given book, are overwhelming, too.) So it was a feeling of gratitude and relief that I recently just shut my eyes and listened to one of our authors, Keith Recker, speak about the vast world of color he inhabits.
The opportunity was a podcast created by my friend and colleague at Long Thread Media, Anne Merrow. Keith riffed on so many aspects of natural color, told so many great, funny stories, dredged up so much fascinating history, that I’ve actually listened to the session several times. I had no idea that ikat dyeing was a jailable offense in Uzbekistan during the Soviet occupation. I didn’t know the ancient Greeks had no word for blue. (Now I know.) I didn’t know why those old Mesopotamian temple gods had such ungodly huge, staring eyes, paved with lapis lazuli. I never thought of my laundry errors involving new blue jeans and baby blue underpants as a form of natural dyeing! I remain skeptical about the discovery of indigo being attributable to a wet baby, a warm fire, and a random leaf, but it does create a vivid little movie in my brain.
We’re expecting copies of the revised edition of Keith’s book, True Colors, to arrive in our warehouse any day now, and if you don’t already own it, grab it now. But meanwhile, just sit back and listen and marvel at the world of color we all live in. It’s free.