By Zurita Moore, Plascon Digital & PR Manager
The history of the colour blue, as used in arts and crafts, goes back about 8 000 years to the mining of semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, in Afghanistan. First used for beads, as is evident at the Neolithic Mehrgarh site in modern-day Pakistan, its ornamental influence later spread to Mesopotamia and Egypt in the early fourth millennium BCE where it also began to be used for pendants, amulets, bowls, figurines, statue inlays, seals and jewellery.
IMAGES | Left: Lapis Lazuli (semi-precious stone) | Centre: 'Cleopatra'-styled make-up | Right: Star-studded ceiling as seen in Nefertari’s tomb. All images sourced from Pinterest
According to Dr Heinz Berke, a chemist from Zurich University who has studied the history of the blue pigment, "Early mankind had no access to blue, because blue is not what you call an earth colour ... You don't find it in the soil." Only with the advent of mining, Berke notes, could sources of blue pigment be extracted. (nytimes.com)
This noticeable absence is apparent not only in Palaeolithic cave art, such as the famous cave paintings from Chauvet (c. 35 000 – 26 000 BCE) and Lascaux (c. 18 000 BCE) in France, but the pigment is also absent in early Neolithic rock art around the world, confirming that the first stable blue colour was only discovered or created in the late Neolithic period.
IMAGE | https://en.wikipedia.org
The oldest-known synthetic blue pigment, "Egyptian Blue", is first evident on a Pre-Dynastic Egyptian bowl dating back to about 3 200 BCE. Some of the most notable displays of this particular blue can be seen spanning entire ceilings in the burial chambers of the Egyptian Ramesside Kings IV, V and VI, as well as in the Temple of ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor. Adorned in hieroglyphics, these Egyptian Blue ceilings are a literal monument to the celestial sphere above.
IMAGE | Astronomical ceiling in the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, Egypt.
Photo by Mick Palarczyk (Source: paulsmit.smugmug.com)
Blue is an ever-evolving colour and the newest shade, an inorganic pigment, was accidentally discovered in 2007 during experiments with materials used for making electronics. Named YInMn Blue, the colour was only released for commercial use in June 2016.
IMAGE | https://it.wikipedia.org
In other blue news, South African born artist, Conor McCreedy has developed his own blue pigment, called McCreedy Blue. Conor uses only this trademark blue for his art and has extended his artistry into a lifestyle brand. Keep an eye on our social media channels for more about this phenomenal artist and entrepreneur.
IMAGE | CONOR MCCREEDY
Getting back to the present and exploring practical, everyday applications of the colour blue, there's so much to love about Storm Cloud (B4-C1-1), Plascon's colour of the month.
Storm Cloud embodies the winter rain clouds and the stormy seas. Although most blues are seen as cool hues, Storm Cloud is anything but cool. Even in the middle of winter, Storm Cloud is rich, intense, bold, and creates dramatic effects in any home if paired with the correct textures and accessories.
I will let Storm Cloud speak for itself with a few inspirational collages:
IMAGES | www.pexels.com/fancycrave
Whether your style is feminine, contemporary, industrial or more masculine, Storm Cloud will do it justice.
IMAGES | Pinterest
And whether you are using a monochrome, complementary or adjacent colour palette – our colour of the month fits right in!
IMAGES | Pinterest
IMAGES | Pinterest
If you're not quite ready to take the bold step of painting a whole room or feature wall in Storm Cloud, the easiest way to introduce this beautiful bold colour into your spaces is by choosing interesting accessories like the ceramics seen on the right in the picture above.
We can't wait to see your take on introducing Storm Cloud in your home. Share your ideas with us on Instagram and be sure to use #PlasconSA.
Stay warm, and here's hoping that all the drought-stricken areas in South Africa will be seeing a lot more Storm Clouds in the coming months.