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Etsy Featured Buyer: COLOURlovers

Etsy Featured Buyer: COLOURlovers

I was asked by the lovely folks over at Etsy to be a featured buyer on their blog. My picks were inspired by the current top colors here on colourlovers. Reposted from here.

This week's Featured Buyer is Davey Sommers, editor of the art and design blog for color trendspotting site COLOURlovers.com. In addition to analyzing color palattes, Davey is a member of the The Post Family — a group of Chicago gallery and event curators, an artist collective and a print shop all rolled into one. He also sometimes makes stuff out of recycled things. Here's Davey.

I love Etsy because it is an unbordered community that brings artists and art lovers together. It's a great example of a market economy, too: one without lobbyists and tax cuts for nonlocal businesses.

Using the Colors tool on Etsy, these picks are inspired by the top colors currently on COLOURlovers.

Blue, or 'balls' blue in this case, is a reoccurring hue in the work of Mike Best, aka BestArtStudios2. It's a nice match for the thoughtful, and at times vulnerable, facial expressions of this character seen throughout his work.
Not eaxtly the same as 'The Order of the Wen', but it shares the same warm color composition as this wonderful illustration by ashleyg.


In TheaCphotography's Bounty, she melds shades of green, allowing the deep color of the berries to pull the viewer's eye. As many of her photos contain a single prominent color, and since they are all sized 8x8, you could easily create a cohesive color palette made up of her work.

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The Colorful Art Of Sand Mandalas

The Colorful Art Of Sand Mandalas

The Sand Mandala is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition which symbolizes the transitory nature of things. As part of Buddhist canon, all things material are seen as transitory. A sand mandala is an example of this, being that once it has been built and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished, it is systematically destroyed.


Historically, the mandala was not created with natural, dyed sand, but granules of crushed colored stone. In modern times, plain white stones are ground down and dyed with opaque inks to achieve the same effect. Before laying down the sand, the monks assigned to the project will draw the geometric measurements associated with the mandala.


The sand granules are then applied using small tubes, funnels, and scrapers, until the desired pattern over-top is achieved.


Sand mandalas traditionally take several weeks to build, due to the large amount of work involved in laying down the sand in such intricate detail. It is common that a team of monks will work together on the project, creating one section of the diagram at a time, usually working from the center outwards.


The Kalachakra Mandala for instance, contains 722 deities portrayed within the complex structure and geometry of the mandala itself.

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Colorful Masters Of Glass Art

Colorful Masters Of Glass Art

We've mentioned him before: Dale Chihuly, but along with his talent there are many other incredible glass artist to inspire us with their sense and taste of color.

Chihuly, together with Harvey Littleton, Dominick Labino and Marvin Lipofsky have been credited with starting the studio glass movement in the United States by creating small-scale furnaces for the use of glass as an artistic medium. The other artist featured, Bob Crooks, is perhaps the best known glass blower in the UK at present. Each of these artist have mastered their craft over long careers as prominent glass makers and their work continues to be an inspiration today.

Colors in Glass

Colors in glass may be obtained by addition of coloring ions and by precipitation of finely dispersed colloides (such as in "ruby gold", white tin oxide glass, red "selenium ruby"). Ordinary soda-lime glass appears colorless to the naked eye when it is thin, although iron oxide impurities produce a green tint which can be viewed in thick pieces or with the aid of scientific instruments. Further metals and metal oxides can be added to glass during its manufacture to change its color which can enhance its aesthetic appeal. Examples of these additives are listed below:

Dale Chihuly





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Color Inspiration: Quilts

Color Inspiration: Quilts

The tradition of quilting has been a part of many cultures. Thought to have originated in China and Egypt simultaneously, the first record of a quilted garment dates back to 3400BC. Quilts have been highly sought after not only for their warmth and functionality, but their artistic quality and color compositions as well.

Photo by ramson
interwoven steps

The History of Quilts

Quilting (stitching together layers of padding and fabric) is as old as ancient Egypt if not older and wholecloth quilts were very common trade goods in wealthy circles in Europe and Asia going back as far as the 15th century.

Piecing fabric together is also very old. It was more often used for clothing but also occasionally for decorative objects like this exquisite pieced pillow from the 15th century.

Photo by hey skinny
Hawaiian origin

The making of pieced quilts made up of cut pieces of fabric sewn in block form with the blocks then sewn together to make the quilt is a more recent development. Pieced block quilts, often called patchwork quilt, did not become the dominant form of quilt making until the mid-19th century, and still is not the traditional form in Provence, Wales, and parts of India.

Photo by shelley_ginger
ginger's quilt

Quilt making was uncommon in America in the late eighteenth century and early years of the nineteenth. Most women were busy spinning, weaving and sewing in order to clothe their family. Commercial blankets or woven coverlets were a more economical bedcovering for most people. Only the wealthy had the leisure time for quilt making so Colonial Quilting was done by only a few.

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Classic Colors: Japanese Hand-Colored Photos

Classic Colors: Japanese Hand-Colored Photos

I came across this wonderfully interesting Flickr set the other day. A selection of 49 hand-colored photos of Meiji-era MAIKO and GEISHA in swimsuit fashions of the time. The photos are from a collection of 150 from the Flickr user Okinawa Soba. Obviously, it was the colors that first grabbed my attention, but the discovery led me to look a little more into the history of hand-colored photos.

The popularity of hand-colored photos peaked in the late 1800's and early 1900's but fell from their standing due to the development of color film. They were especially popular in Japan.


Hand-colouring refers to any of a number of methods of manually adding colour to a black-and-white photograph or other image to heighten its realism. Typically, water-colours, oils and other paints or dyes are applied to the image surface using brushes, fingers, cotton swabs or airbrushes. Some photographic genres, particularly landscapes and portraits, have been more often hand-coloured than others, and hand-coloured photographs have been popular enough that some firms specialised in producing them.

Photo from Okinawa Soba

Until the middle of the 20th century, nearly all photography was monochrome – essentially black-and-white, as exemplified by the gelatin silver print. Some photographic processes inherently produced images with an overall colour as, for example, the blue of cyanotypes, and photographic processes were altered by various techniques to produce variations in tone

Swiss painter and printmaker Johann Baptist Isenring used a mixture of gum arabic and pigments to make the first coloured daguerreotype in 1840 or 1841. The coloured powder was fixed on the delicate surface of the daguerreotype by the application of heat. Variations of this technique were patented in England by Richard Beard in 1842 and in France by Étienne Lecchi in 1842 and Léotard de Leuze in 1845. Later, hand-colouring was used with successive photographic innovations, from albumen and gelatin silver prints to lantern slides and transparency photography.

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The Colorful Art of Paper Sculpture

The Colorful Art of Paper Sculpture

Each of the four artists featured today use paper in the most colorful ways. The meticulous nature and repetition necessary to work with paper, and create such detailed pieces, is a tribute to all the all the artists character and focus. From dissecting books and completely transforming them into something unexpected and new, to exploding (figuratively) the individual colors of a stack of construction paper, each artist gives us a new perspective on paper and color.

Ferry Staverman


Ferry Starvermen has created a colorful garden of sculptures crafted from recycled cardboard and string. Each sculpture is made with variations of the same color giving the piece a magnificent presence and depth, even more so with multiple sculptures displayed together.


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DIY Color: Dye It Yourself With Kool-Aid

DIY Color: Dye It Yourself With Kool-Aid

With the help of our friend Ana we're going to take you through some ways to use Kool-Aid as a colorful, affordable and environmentally safe dye.

Kool-Aid dyeing works best with animal fibers. Which means you can dye your hair but you might have trouble with your cotton t-shirts.

What You Will Need:


  • Kool-Aid, in as many colors as you can find (try looking in your kid's, or 'Nintendo loving' roommate's, drawers)
  • Microwave or stove
  • Containers to soak, bake and cool the yarn
  • A place to dry the yarn.


Getting Started


Let the yarn soak in a dish filled with lukewarm water and a squirt of dish soap for 30 minutes until soaked all the way through.

Remember: Cover your work surfaces to protect against staining by using plastic bags.

Combine 1/2 cup water to one packet of Kool-Aid and stir until smooth.

Use the proper tool for the job. The tennis racket cocktail stirrer served multiple uses. The stick-end was used to stir up the KoolAid dye mixtures and the racket-end was great for scooping the test mini-skeins out of the hot water.

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Confectionery Colors: Creating Art With Food

Confectionery Colors: Creating Art With Food

Two artists are taking some of our favorite colorful treats and turning them into a new medium for their artistic expression.

Liz Hickok has taken each flavor of America's favorite gelatin desert and molded it into colorful models of San Francisco and Scottsdale. Since JELL-O isn't the most durable of materials, as part of the project she has two videos that capture these wonderfully sculpted cityscapes. You can see them here and here.

Working with gummy bears, Yaya Chou has created some of the most fascinating sculptures, the best being, of course, a bear skin rug.

San Francisco In Jell-O

This project consists of photographs and video, which depict various San Francisco landscapes. I make the landscapes by constructing scale models of the architectural elements which I use to make molds. I then cast the buildings in Jell-O. Similar to making a movie set, I add backdrops, which I often paint, and elements such as mountains or trees, and then I dramatically light the scenes from the back or underneath. The Jell-O sculptures quickly decay, leaving the photographs and video as the remains.

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The Colors of Woodblock Painting

The Colors of Woodblock Painting

Called "pictures of the floating world," or Ukiyo-e, the main artistic genre of Japanese Woodblock printing first reached popularity during the second half of the 17th Century, and lasted into the 20th Century. Although initially challenged by limited colour, woodblock printing soon become a defining method of producing art. Capturing landscapes, theatre, and even more intimate scenes, Ukiyo-e captured hearts and tastes as well, as they could be inexpensively mass-produced. Traditional Japanese art usually relied on high contrast and a flattening of the dimensions in the piece.

For more on how the art is created: Diary of Carving Woodblocks

the great wave off kanagawa by katsushika hokusai

Perhaps most famously in this genre -- and still produced today -- is that of Katsushika Hokusai's work The Great Wave Off Kanagawa(above), part off his series One-hundred Views of Mt. Fuji, wherein Mt. Fuji is but a hill in the shadow of the tsunami. The wave seemed to reach out for the people desperately clinging to boats with claws, as if the size and arc weren't enough to suggest its ferocity. This piece, though one of the more popular ones, is marked as the one that is the least Japanese in technique of his works.

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