Pantone, the color consulting company that tracks and predicts trends in fashion and décor, has named Ultra Violet the official Color of 2018. As a member of Generation X, when I heard the news my mind immediately went to rock stars Prince, aka “The Purple One,” and U2 (whose song “Ultra Violet (Light My Way)” ended up being stuck in my head the rest of the day), with echoes of Jimi Hendrix playing in the background.
I’m not the only one who associates the deep purple color with rock music. Heck, I just namechecked a classic rock band in that previous sentence without even intending to – that’s how ingrained my thoughts about the color purple must be. Wait, I just did it again!
Even a look at our own catalog of quilts featuring purple fabric shows that other designers and editors like to refer to song titles such as “Purple Haze” and “Purple Rain” when naming patterns. (And I have to wonder if Doves was inspired by Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”)
Suffice it to say, purple carries many cultural connotations for us in music and literature. I think that when it comes to quilters, it’s one of those colors that elicits strong opinions and preferences. Those who love purple really love purple (I’m looking at you, Acquisitions Editor Lori Baker); meanwhile there are some who would never in a million years include it in a quilt.
As for me, I think I fall somewhere in-between. I just took a quick look back at a photo album of quilts I’ve completed, and although I’ve used purple here and there through the years, it’s never been prominently featured. It’s not that I don’t like it, because I do, but it’s not a color I have a lot of either in my stash or in my wardrobe.
I’m intrigued by the story Pantone is telling around this color, describing it as “complex and contemplative,” one linked to the cosmos and the intrigue of the future as well as the counterculture and unconventionality. Cosmic and countercultural are not words anyone would use to describe me, that’s for sure.
It’s not a bad thing to evaluate the types of quilts we make and the color palettes we return to time after time, if only to ask ourselves if we’re truly making the quilts we want to be making or if we’ve gotten complacent. Maybe I haven’t been seeing all of the possibilities offered by incorporating dark purple into different color schemes, such as the different palettes Pantone has on their website (scroll down to the “How to Use the Pantone Color of the Year 2018” section).
I think I’m going to add an Ultra Violet quilt to my 2018 To Make list and search my fabrics to see if I already have one of those coordinating palettes on hand. It doesn’t have to be a big or time-consuming quilt, just something a little out of my normal comfort range that pushes me to explore something new.
I think Prince would be pleased.