Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Colour Indigo


What does the word ‘indigo’ mean to you?

For me it brings back memories of childhood, specifically of learning the colours of the rainbow. 

Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue . . . and then there was this mysterious colour, Indigo, before you finished off with Violet. It always caught me out. I didn’t know what it meant, apart from the fact that it was the colour in between blue and violet.

And worse still, on colour charts, it always looked like some sort of dirty blue-black that completely spoilt the beautiful bright colours of the rainbow!

So much for my childhood associations with the colour indigo - as an adult, it’s a colour I love. And it’s a colour that holds its own as trends come and go – this article was published a while back but there’s still plenty of indigo around in the shops.

A look at my Indigo board on Pinterest will show you that this colour has had worldwide appeal down through the centuries.
on Pinterest

So why is it so popular?

I suspect that the main reason is that the Indigo plant which the dye is made from, grows all over the world.

Add to that the strange fact that the colour blue doesn’t show the dirt as easily as most colours and you can begin to see why it became the colour of overalls in the workforces all over the world, from the USA to China!
Such was its popularity that there came a time in the late 1940s that the plant became an endangered species. So when Blue Jeans became popular form the 1950s onwards, a synthetic form of indigo had to be used.

Indigo dye is colourfast in wool but not in cotton. But the faded colour is one of its attractions when it comes to denim, where the warp threads are blue and the weft threads white. So as time goes on, the white shows through and gives us the traditional faded denim look.
This faded look was around long before the arrival of the ‘Shabby Chic’ fashion. It arose from a time when the Royal Navy wore denim and a faded uniform denoted many years of service and the prestige that went with it.

Another reason could be that Indigo blue is easy to live with and easy to wear for most people. Like blue in general it has a relaxing effect and indigo in particular has spiritual connotations – though I don’t suppose that contributes much to its popularity. 

I always seem to have several indigo blue items in my wardrobe and some of them have been with me a while! It’s a colour I’ve used in various homes I’ve lived in – in ‘Midnight Blue’ and ‘Laura Ashley Navy’ form, for painted items like Bentwood chairs and even the outside of a Victorian ball-and-claw-footed bathtub.

How about you? 

Are you ever without the colour indigo somewhere in your life?

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