The Butterfly Effect

 

 

COLOUR AND VISION & THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

"Through The Eyes of Nature"

 

The Natural History Museum's new exhibition, "Colour & Vision" features many wonders of nature. To demonstrate how colour is often a warning they use the cinnabar moth as an example:

 

"Orange stripes, red spots and black mouths are all warning signs that an animal is dangerous. Poisonous and venomous animals often warn off potential predators with dramatic colours and markings." Colour and Vision

A display of Cinnabar moths at the Natural History Museum's new exhibition "Colour & Vision"

A display of Cinnabar moths at the Natural History Museum's new exhibition "Colour & Vision"

I first encountered a cinnabar moth when I was on my way to the studio in Manchester a few years ago. The bold black and red patterns of the little winged insect caught my eye so I took a photo of it and looked it up. The patterns are so striking it had a real impression on me. I wanted to try and capture it in a ring, so it really a "Moth Effect" rather than a "Butterfly Effect"!

The patterns of the wings of the Cinnabar Moth inspired this red and black ring

The patterns of the wings of the Cinnabar Moth inspired this red and black ring

Image of Cinnabar Moth courtesy of Charles J. Sharp Photography

Image of Cinnabar Moth courtesy of Charles J. Sharp Photography

 

The larvae of the cinnabar moth eats the leaves of the ragwort plant making themselves and the adult moths they become poisonous. The red colour warns predators not to eat them as doing so could be fatal.

 

Red = DANGER

 

The cinnabar moth is actually named after the bright red mineral cinnabar, which is also poisonous.

A form or mercury sulfide, this mineral is highly toxic.

The mineral Cinnabar, used for making vivid red pigment

The mineral Cinnabar, used for making vivid red pigment

When ground it is used to create the pigment "Vermillion". Treasured for its vivid hue, it is the only red pigment that was known to the ancients. Vermillion was revered by the ancient Romans. They even used it to paint the faces of their victorious commanders during the "Roman Triumph" Ceremony.

Because pure cinnabar was so rare, vermillion became immensely expensive and the price had to be fixed by the Roman government at 70 sesterces per pound - ten times the price of red ochre.

The figure is a lady harpist, painted in vivid pigments by the Ancient Romans and recently found in Arles.

The figure is a lady harpist, painted in vivid pigments by the Ancient Romans and recently found in Arles.

The image above shows a fragment of Ancient Roman Fresco recently unearthed in Southern France, the colours still vivid after spending 2000 years buried in the dark. The use of the expensive red pigment shows how wealthy the inhabitants of the villa were.

You can read more about the history of this red pigment with Windsor & Newton's "Spotlight on Vermillion".

 

Colour Me Happy

I believe jewellery should feel like an extension of yourself-a little reminder of the amazing qualities you possess, and how you belong in the world around you.

That's why I love making bespoke pieces, especially in such diverse colours. The colours can be taken from nature, like a particular mineral or a treasured item of clothing or favourite object which reminds you of home.

My lovely friend Natalie Laura Ellen is a fabulous textiles designer, often influenced by plants and flowers. Her nurturing green fingers turned her Manchester City centre balcony into a jungle of thriving botanical beauties, encouraging happy ladybirds, buzzy bees and jazzy caterpillars. Here is Natalie wearing a ring I made for her, designed for the summer weddings and celebrations she was going to. Small yet instantly uplifting and full of bright and interesting things, I think it suits her perfectly! 

 

 

 

"Tiger in a Tropical Storm (Surprised!)" Henri Rousseau, 1891 is one of my favourites thanks to a huge mural in the school corridor accompanying WIlliam Blake's poem, "The Tyger". Seeing these luscious colours and those bright white teeth instantly reminds me of daydreaming about swinging through tall trees with monkeys in exotic jungles whilst queueing for morning assembly.

 

In the wild  COLOUR  is a whole language. For us, it can have an instant impact on our mood and conjure up emotions or memories in just one stroke. 

The effects of making colourful jewellery are inescapable! My tools and workspace are often drenched in the palette of my current pieces.

A pair of my contrasting Hewn rings, Blue and Pyrite and Orange and Carnelian. The orange patterns remind me of "The Tyger".

A pair of my contrasting Hewn rings, Blue and Pyrite and Orange and Carnelian. The orange patterns remind me of "The Tyger".

Colourful Jewellery is a key to your interests and passions, condensed in a wearable format to communicate to others.

 

I love the freedom of expression I have by being able to work in colour, and create pieces inspired by the vibrancy and diversity of the natural world from bold and saturated, to delicate hues and marbled shades.

I'M REALLY EXCITED BY  THE NEW  PANTONE COLOURS FOR 2016  IN PARTICULAR, "ROSE QUARTZ!"

 

"COLOURS THIS SEASON TRANSPORT US TO A HAPPIER, SUNNIER PLACE WHERE WE FEEL FREE TO EXPRESS A WITTIER VERSION OF OUR REAL SELVES."

Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director, Pantone Color Institute

Email me at info@jademellor.com if you have an idea for your own special colour or texture and we can chat about the rainbow of possibilities!