Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Color Collaborative: April: Red











Today, April 23rd, is St. George's Day, the National Day for England. Saint George is the patron saint of England and today is the anniversary of his death in 303 AD. According to legend, St. George was a soldier in the Roman army who killed a dragon and saved a princess. St. George's Day is a feast day in England. The day is also celebrated in many of the world's Christian and Orthodox churches. You can read more about St. George's Day here.

The color red is closely tied to Saint George and his feast day. In England, it is traditional to wear a red rose in one's lapel on Saint George's Day, and to fly a special flag, St. George's Cross, which features a bright red cross on a white field. Even though I am not celebrating St. George's Day with my English friends today, the holiday's association with the color red has given me lots to think about.

Red seems to be a color that divides people. They either love red, gravitating toward red clothing and cars, or they shy away from it, finding it too showy. My feelings about red have warmed (pardon the pun) in recent years. I think it began when I started crocheting in earnest and realized that red could be a nice, welcome addition to blanket color-schemes. I've always had red in my kitchen, with a kitschy strawberry theme.

Red is versatile. Red is a color of attraction: birds and bees, flowers and fruits. Red is a color of moods and personalities: flamboyant, volatile, warm, angry, sanguine, passionate. Red is also a color of warning and emergency: stoplights, stop signs and brake lights, firetrucks and ambulances. Red means boldness, bravery and courage. The Red Cross emblem is an international symbol of compassion and aid. Red has heralded political unrest. Red can be forbidding as well as welcoming, cautionary as well as cheerful.

How does red play into your life? Red is, for me: my first bicycle, painted dark cherry-red with mica sparkles; my high school's maroon home-game jerseys; the scarlet wool coat that I was wearing when I met my first boyfriend; the carved cherry-wood jewelry box my husband gave me before we were married; the auburn hair of the brother-in-law I never had a chance to meet; the strawberry-blond hair of my newborn son. And in between: Fisher-Price's Happy Apple, wild cherry Lifesavers, Etch-A-Sketch, Campbell's tomato soup, Coca-Cola, red-rose prom corsages, a favorite outfit on my baby daughter, a chile ristra near my front door, a blazing Sandia sunset. Red, more than most other colors, runs through my life in a connected thread of memories and moments.

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 Don't forget to visit the other Color Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts. Just click on the links below: 

Annie at Annie Cholewa 
Sandra at Cherry Heart 
 
What is The Color Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a color related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about color in new ways.

35 comments:

  1. Hello Jennifer,

    Although we are British, we had almost forgotten that it was St George's Day!

    You are quite right about red being a divisive colour. We love to add splashes of red in our clothing but too much of it can give one the appearance of being a big tomato on legs! But, it certainly does liven up a colour scheme adding passion and panache amidst the safer neutrals.


    Your photographic collection of reds are wonderful. Invigorating and intriguing, it is not always obvious, until one looks closer, what the subject is. Wonderful!

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  2. your collection is fab !!! Wonderful show of shades of red ....

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  3. We had the same first bicycle I think, a lightly sparkly dark cherry red. Oh how I loved it. Your memories of red are so evocative, I wonder if we remember the memories with red in them more clearly somehow. You've reminded me of my childhood moneybox, a little red pillar (post) box. You could turn the bottom and line up the numbers to open it. Haven't thought about that in years. And a handknitted bear, called Red Ted, who came with me even when I left home. A lovely thoughtful post Jennifer. CJ xx

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  4. Great pictures - the red is so vibrant.

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  5. I think you probably know more about St George than many English people do. The Irish, Scots and Welsh are so proud of their national days and go all out with celebrations but St George seems to get forgotten about by most. I used to shy away from the colour red but it's one of my favourite colours now. It's funny that your feelings changed towards it when you started crocheting as I think that's when mine did too.

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  6. I remember my mother told me that the first objects I recognized as a baby were red. The colour of St George makes a strong statement, and your pictures show it in all its glory. I like a little bit of red in clothing, but not too much. I love the Santa Fe pic, which reminds me of our week in that lovely city.

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  7. Some beautiful photos featuring the wonderful colour red. When I think of red I think of the old telephone and post boxes. We still celebrate St Georges day but only in a quiet way.

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  8. I loved your piece at the end about the way red runs through your life. Great details, so many little vignettes.

    I think you know more about St George's Day than most English people, certainly me! It passes me by. I think many English are wary of being too overtly patriotic and it seems like, two weeks away from a general election, that English patriotism has been hijacked by some unpleasant, nationalistic, anti-immigrant parties.I feel more British than English. Great post, very thought-provoking. xx

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  9. Loved this post. Your photos are beautiful as always. I too loved the bit in the end when you tie red into what it meant and what it means in your day to day life.

    I love the idea of taking one color and searching it out in your home/life and really contemplating on what you think or feel about that particular color.

    Have a great day Jennifer!
    Birgitta xx

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  10. Wonderful red photos and lovely red-associated memories. Happy St. George's Day - I'm just off to look for a red rose! xx

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  11. Great post! Although, I didn't even know it was St George's Day, bit shocking!

    S x

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  12. Your photos made me smile - I love red! Strawberries, raspberries and watermelon are my favorite fruits. Coincidence that they're all red? I have red accents in my kitchen. The wall at the end of my hallway is painted a deep red. My son's favorite color is red and at one time, we had his room painted that color. Now his room is neutral (black and white) but with red accents, including red curtains. The only reason I don't wear red is because the color doesn't look good on me. (I have strawberry blonde hair, very fair reddish skin and blue-green eyes.)

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  13. Oh, I did enjoy reading this. And yes, I think I'd have guessed red is one of 'your' colours. The first red memory that stands out for me is of blood, my own ... a gate hinge and a thumb were involved, you really don't want to know more. But later I remember red bikes, and coats, and shoes, and red lego bricks, from my own childhood and my children's. Pantone 032 C apparently, I just looked it up!

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  14. What a wonderful post! And I agree with you when you say "Red is versatile. Red is a color of attraction..." It so is and perfect when used in all of the right places. I love red but have learned it's not always great for walls. Hee We do have some red accents throughout our home; a good balance, I'd like to think. Your photography is wonderful, too. :)

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  15. I love your red photo's Jennifer and what a great tribute to St Georges Day. Red is one of my favourite colours it always cheers me up my favourite jacket is red and I wear it all the time. :) xx

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  16. Lovely pictures, of all the different reds. For me, it totally depends on my mood. If I'm feeling more passionate or too much energy, I tend to seek out calming colors like blue. But too much, and I need doses of red to balance out. We used to have a red wall - but it was too much for me - I prefer accents. Fun to think about. I do love that it is the first color we are able to see as babies.
    Have a great week. :)

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  17. Loved this post Jennifer. I have never thought much about how red plays in my life. I enjoy bright splashes of color but rarely, if ever, wear red. It makes me look even paler and whiter than I really am, if that's possible. :-) My first bicycle was also a red Schwinn. I loved that bike. Thank you for this very education post too. I had never known most of that about St. George.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  18. I was one of those who thought of red as showy and I always keep away from it . When I had my stroke I found myself donning on a red lipstick .I had to use a stick and I felt embarrassed and somehow less of a person about it but for some reason I didn't want anyone to know so I wore the red lipstick. It somehow made me feel I could face the world. Colour is such a powerful thing.
    Great post Jennifer.

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  19. Happy St Georges Day to you too! I must admit i do usually shy away from red, but i love it in nature and food, it looks cheery and vital! :) Katie x

    http://www.long-may-she-rain.blogspot.co.uk/

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  20. Jennifer.. your red photos are outstanding! Wow! What a treat for the eyes! Red has always been one of my favorite colors. I'm back from New Orleans.. what a wonderful city. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  21. Beautiful, Beautiful pictures. And Red. It's true what you said -- you love it or you don't. I love it!

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  22. Beautiful photos of red. So well put together and really capture what red is :)
    I adore red. It has so many good memories for me. My first pair of red wellies that I wore to bed each night (thanks to my Mum for letting me.) my first red tricycle, my red t bar shoes for nursery, the mess my daughter got in the first time she had fresh strawberries. Oh the mess!
    Like you said red is a love it or hate colour.

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    1. Lovely reds, Jennifer. I'm a red lover! :o)

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  23. A super post, Jennifer. i love your intriguing snapshots of so many aspects of red. I love red too, especially because there are so many shades and tones to play with. Here in the UK I think of red postboxes and old-fashioned telephone kiosks and our familiar red postal delivery vans, as well as toys and dresses and sweaters of the past of every shade of red.

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  24. Such pretty pictures! I loved reading your memories of red too.

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  25. Your photos are stunning Jennifer!! And all of those red connections at the end of your post such as red life savers just completely brought me back...you have an amazing way of doing that! I haven't thought of them in ages but remember that when opening the pack I would sort through them to find red! So stunning! Have a great weekend! Nicole xo

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  26. This is wonderful, it got me thinking......red........it is not a colour I am drawn too, I have realised. It's not that I don't like it just prefer others. We had a wee celebration of St George's day yesterday :)

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  27. Red is a fantastic and energising colour!!! Happy weekend! :)

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  28. I love it! Everything in red looks divine.

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  29. Hey Jennifer,
    Wonderful pictures. I share your love of accents of red. I have two red lamps that I am particularly fond of, and my kitchen has a mixture of blue and red bits and pieces. Sam asked me yesterday if I thought that St George's Day should be a public holiday in England, in the same way that Scotland, Wales and Ireland celebrate their patron saints. I said no, because I think that as a nation we celebrate out patriotism in so many ways. A lot of them relate to our history and culture, our patriotism and the rituals borne out of that. Having said that I always think that the British have this peculiar way of not getting too excited about anything until about a week before it happens. Take the Olympics; no-one really gave a monkey's about it as far as I could tell, and then about a month before they got under way we were gripped by Olympic fever, got really into it and had a great time as a country! It's a bit like the general election and the royal baby (although tbh I couldn't really care less about the royal baby. I'm a bit anti royalist. Although I quite like the Queen.).
    Have a great weekend!
    Leanne xx

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  30. I have never put much thought into the description or meanings for the colour red before. You have written this really well. I too have a lot of redot in my kitchen my favourite thing being the red gingham curtains.
    Rosie xx

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  31. Oh, those oranges look good!
    I'm not a huge fan of red and see it mainly as a festive colour: Santa Claus, holly berries and so on. But I love red food, particularly cherries and raspberries and peppers and tomatoes... I also love red geraniums on my kitchen windowsills and deep red peonies.
    I like the way you've looked back at your childhood memories to pull out all the red things.
    S x

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  32. It is interesting to learn how red has figured into your life...many of the ways it has shown up around you it has shown up around me :) Now that you have me thinking about it, a significant way red has been prominent and enjoyed in my life is through the stream of red coats and jackets I have had from childhood till now. One special red wool jacket I received as a gift when I was around seven years old and a friend purchased it in Mexico for me.
    Thanks for another good post, Jennifer! xx

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  33. I am a fan of red, though would never wear red trousers, don't ask me why...but yes to scarf, jumpers, gloves, and home furnishings, also kitchen-y stuff. X

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