Thursday, March 30, 2023

Color Psychology...and History


Once many years ago, a fabric designer visited our guild.  She told us that during times of economic turmoil, fabric companies choose to produce fabrics with clear colors.  She told us the clear colors often enhance moods and cited the Great Depression and the many colors we associate with the pastel era of that time.

Although I don't doubt the idea of manufacturers producing bright colors to enhance quilters moods, there was another side of the story about 1930s fabric.  Today, let's take a look at it.

By the time World War I broke out, the Germans had already become dominant in the use of synthetic dyes.  The U.S.A had a large textile industry and became an important market for the German dyes.  When the U.S. entered the war, the U.S. government seized a number of German patents.  Among them, dye patents.

The government did in fact do this.  
Only a month after the Armistice had been signed, the U.S. government sold the patent for the dye formulas to an American company. 

And to make matters worse for the Germans, the Treaty of Versailles actually legalized the seizing of technologies.  Another aspect of the dye patent seizure?  Bayer Aspirin.   

Now I know this is probably more history than you need but the important aspect of all this is that results usually have more than one reason.  The dye patents enabled textile manufacturers to offer a wider variety of colors, particularly pastels which became popular particularly in the late 1920s and all of the 1930s.

Did quilters gravitate to these colors because they enhanced moods?  Quite probably.  But a bigger reason most likely was that the fabric was something new, different, and pretty.

I'd like to know more about the colors and kinds of fabric you gravitate towards but we will save that until next week.  

Tomorrow is Flower Friday and please share any photos of what's happening in your region.  Many apologies to our friends who are still contending with snow :(  Our hearts and warm thoughts go out to you!

Have a safe and happy day!

1 comment:

  1. Nary a flower growing here and won't be for a while, I'm afraid. But hey a little grass under trees is showing up so it is moving along. Enjoyed this post very much. Who knew there are always such things happening behind the scenes that affect our "tastes" in anything I guess. But fabric too. I find it hard to pin down what I'm drawn too and really can't pick a favourite. But we'll chat more about that next week you promise!