Friday, August 8, 2014

History of Purple Dyes & Purple Snails

One thing leads to another when I start browsing Facebook and Blogs. You never know where it will lead you. Such fun!

I have spent the past hour trying to prove whether this first snail is real or not. Still not sure. Someone recently claimed to find one in Northern California. Click here to learn more about it if you are curious.

But the next two are for real and I have put the links below. 
Just click on the captions directly below each photo.

Click here to see more about this photo.

Click here to go to source of this photo.

Here is what Wiki has to say about purple snails.

So what does any of this have to do with quilt history?
Human beings love for colored cloth! 
Especially purple since it was discovered by the "purple people" -- the ancient Phoenicians.

Ohio Amish quilt quilt sold by antique quilt dealer Darwin Bearley. Click here to see his book.
To see more purple quilts, click here and here.

1950s Rolling Star block as seen on eBay - - Brackman#3795

Marie Webster's Poppy pattern as seen on eBay.

(Learn more about Marie Webster here and Marie Webster inspired fabrics here.) 

But at first only the rulers wore purple.


"Murex is the dye first famous as “Tyrian purple,” named for the city of Tyre, today in Lebanon but 3000 years ago the center from which that energetic trading nation, the Phoenicians, controlled a far-flung luxury trade in murex-dyed silks. Later, the dye was known as “royal purple” or “imperial purple,” from the Roman and Byzantine emperors who reserved the color for members of the imperial family."     Philippa Scott

To get the whole story, read this whole fascinating article on 
the discovery of a "royal" purple from sea shells 
by Philippa Scott by clicking here.

Click here to see a video of the Murex extracted purple color. 

Hope you're not squeamish. Be forewarned.

Here is a written explanation of the process.

~ Mauve ~

What happened when 18 year-old English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way to produce mauve in mass quantities? This is such a (yes!) also fascinating read!  His lucky accident "revolutionized organic chemistry — and fashion" according to some.

Don't have time to read the books? Just click on the links (the highlighted words) throughout my posts.

A review by The Guardian:  "Mauve with the times.
Since its accidental creation in the 1850s, the colour has aroused strong emotions. Simon Garfield chronicles a vivid history.

The Red Dyes: Cochineal, Madder and Murex Purple: 
A World Tour of Textile Techniques 
by Gosta Sandberg

This book reveals the fascinating history of how the natural red dyes came to various people and cultures centuries ago. Click here to find a copy.

Here is an Anne Orr design styled after Marie Webster's earlier Poppy medallion.
Both are Honorees of The Quilters Hall of Fame. The Anne Orr Iris can be seen
at Mark French's eBay store here

Click here to read more interesting details about the meaning of the color purple 
among various cultures through-out history.

Another version of the same Iris pattern above.

More colors to come!

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