Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with leading you on a meandering tour of the virtual garden of delights and curiosities and thoughts that make up my world – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
Z is for…
zaffre: a prescientific, or alchemical substance, is a deep blue pigment obtained by roasting cobalt ore, and is made of either an impure form of cobalt oxide or impure cobalt arseniate. During the Victorian era, zaffre was used to prepare smalt and stain glass blue.
I love finding color names I haven’t heard of before. It feels like some kind of magical discovery.
The entire world of color fascinates me. But for as long as I can remember I’ve had magical dreams with the most extraordinary and brilliant deep blues of late night skies. I dream of lapis lazuli and azurite and cobalt.
Photographers talk about the “blue hour” – the period of twilight (in the evening or in the morning) when the sun is far enough below the horizon that the light’s blue wavelengths dominate. The sky is deep blue and the landscape is imbued with bluish light. This is a magical time as well. You can view some lovely photos of this here.
But I think it is the true night sky that fascinates me, and I often think of artists painting it, particularly van Gogh’s works. I feel like I’m becoming even more obsessed with color than ever. I’m planning a dyeing project and investigating natural dyes, particularly plant-based ones. I’ve also just read a book about an illuminated manuscript painted in the 1400s which has my mind wandering all over the palette of obsolete art pigments. You can explore a few of them here.
But what thinking about is something Pablo Neruda said:
At some point during this time of sequestering, the following poem by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky, came to my attention, and I’ve been thinking about it as well.
The sky Is a suspended blue ocean. The stars are the fish That swim. The planets are the white whales I sometimes hitch a ride on, And the sun and all light Have forever fused themselves Into my heart and upon my skin. There is only one rule On this Wild Playground, For every sign Hafiz has ever seen Reads the same. They all say, “Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun, In the Beloveds Divine O, in the Beloved’s Wonderful Game.”
It delights me to end the challenge with that admonishment from Hafiz – it feels so apt, so pertinent, so beautiful and encouraging for these times.
The task I had set for myself during this challenge’s abecedarium, which I reminded myself of each time I wrote a post (and you dear reader at the beginning of each of them), was to lead you on a tour of the virtual garden of delights and curiosities and thoughts that make up my world. None of us are immune to the challenges of these times, but it has always been, and I hope will continue to be, my intention to continue to fish for the light and hold it up whenever I find it.
I offer my sincere gratitude to everyone who has stopped by during April, whether once, or faithfully, or any permutation between. It’s always a joy to connect.
Now tell me about you. Do you dream of colors? Been inspired by something this April that you’ll be exploring? Think about painting the sky? Do tell – you know I love to hear.