Kashmiri chai

Kashmiri chai
credit: jslander, via CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

While Kashmiri chai is a green tea, it’s actually pink in colour.

Originally a Himalayan drink, pink tea goes by many names across South Asia, some which reference its unusual color and flavor, from nun chai (salt tea) to gulabi chai (rose-hued tea). Salt and baking soda are key ingredients. Salt acts as an electrolyte to prevent dehydration at high altitudes, and baking soda is the catalyst that turns it pink. Infused with spices such as star anise and topped with crushed nuts, the tea is tailor-made for cold weather. In Kashmir, nun chai is drunk piping hot several times a day, accompanied by an array of breads: crispy kulcha, dimpled girda, or bagel-like tsochwor.

via Atlas Obscura

There are plenty of recipes online (some more authentic, some quicker and easier) but the key to its pinkness is getting in the right reaction between the baking soda and your green tea leaves and how long you brew it for.

Did the Ancient Greeks not have a word for 'blue'? Or is it a myth?

Blue is a cool colour (badum-tish!). But apparently, the Ancient Greeks didn’t know about it—at least, they didn’t have a name for it, so claims AsapSCIENCE in its video entitled Why The Ancient Greeks Couldn’t See Blue. I found it via Open Culture who also blogged about it in June under the title Why Most Ancient Civilizations Had No Word for the Color Blue and thought “wow, interesting!” But it appears it might not be strictly true.

The first red flag was this line:

“[…] blue doesn’t appear much in nature,”

Have you looked up lately? Or seen any of the blue flowers available on the planet? Then the comments took hold and critiqued the video a bit more. This from “Tom Neff”:

The Greeks had several words for blue: Kyaneos was dark blue and glaukos was light blue.

This article appears to have been substantially copied from a 2015 Australian Business Insider article.

Uh oh. A quick Wiktionary search throws up etymologies for the words “kyaneos” and “glaukos“:

kyaneos (κυάνεος), from κῠ́ᾰνος (kúanos, “dark-blue enamel”) +‎ -εος (-eos). According to Beekes, probably from Hittite (kuwannan-, “precious stone, copper, blue”), likely from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwey– (“to shine, white, light”) (compare *ḱweytós (“white”)).

glaukós (γλαυκός, “blue-green, blue-grey”). Uncertain origin. Barber reconstructs Proto-Indo-European *gleh₂w-ko-, noting that the root only appears in Greek (Homer, Aeschylus), but Beekes finds an Indo-European origin unlikely.

The more you read, the more you see that blue had lots of names and was very prestigious in ancient civilizations. I’d have expected Open Culture to do a bit more fact-checking and the video shouldn’t have been made in the first place.

Really hoping I’ve not been a hypocrite and spewed nonsense here so please correct me if any of this or the referenced links are wrong because I like to learn!

Easy Klein is an 'Incredibly Kleinish Blue' paint for everyone to use

Simon Semple gave us the world’s pinkest pink that Anish Kapoor was banned from using in reaction to Kapoor’s exclusive Vantablack, the world’s blackest black. And now we have a new form of paint democracy from the artist called Easy Klein. But it has nothing to do with Kapoor this time.

A paint called YInMn Blue was released as a modern interpretation of Yves Klein’s famous International Klein Blue (my favourite blue ahead of cobalt blue, by the way). But at $200 a bottle, it’s not for everyone. So Semple decided to do his own thing:

Semple’s response was to do away with both that prohibitive pricing and Klein’s legal protection of his blue which stated in 1960 that other artists would require permission to use it. According to Culture Hustle, which is selling Semple’s new easy to use, acrylic paint version, it has “an uncanny scent of CK One.”

“Due to legal reasons, I can’t tell you our blue is IKB, International Klein Blue, but what I can say is that it’s an Incredibly Kleinish Blue,” says Semple. “In my mind, it’s the most beautiful blue ever and, although YinMin is cool, a lot of us have always dreamed of having a go on IKB.”

Quote from Creative Boom article

Easy Klein is a fraction of the price at $29 a bottle and it looks just as good, in my opinion.

The Green Experience

Green is the colour of Kermit the Frog, Mike Wazowski, and two-thirds of Nigeria’s national flag. It’s associated with nature, fertility, tranquillity, money, good luck, health, movement, and ecology. It can also signify illness and envy. Grass is green, the Chicago River is green once a year for St. Patrick’s Day, many political parties are green. Great gardeners have green fingers, inexperienced ones might be greenhorns, and jealous ones might be green-eyed monsters.

Green is my second favourite colour behind red (sorry, blue, you’re in 3rd place now!) thanks to Sporting CP. Green is also a traditional colour in Islam, associated with paradise in the Quran.

A passage from the Quran describes paradise as a place where people “will wear green garments of fine silk.” One hadith, or teaching, says, “When Allah’s Apostle died, he was covered with a Hibra Burd,” which is a green square garment. As a result, you’ll see green used to color the binding of Qurans, the domes of mosques, and, yes, campaign materials.

via Slate

J. Milton Hayes’s “Yellow God” had a green eye (likely an emerald), Andrew Marvell’s “The Garden” said “No white nor red was ever seen / So am’rous as this lovely green.”, and D. H. Lawrence said the dawn was “apple-green”. Aliens are often green, little, and men for some reason.

The green room is where performers wait before they go on stage, there are at least 250 films in Letterboxd with “green” in the title including Green Book, Green Lantern, The Green Hornet, The Green Mile, and 17 films simply called Green.

Green and gold go together perfectly in a room and green Victorian tiles adorn many London Underground corridors (but not Green Park’s for some reason).

Judy Horacek and Mem Fox asked “Where Is The Green Sheep?“, Dr. Seuss wrote about Green Eggs and Ham, and Hemingway talked about the Green Hills of Africa (specifically East Africa). Kermit sang it ain’t easy being green, Tom Jones sang about the green green grass of home and Beyoncé gave us the green light (as did John Legend).

In art, you have Karel Appel’s The Green Cat, Lilian Thomas Burwell’s Greening, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Queen Green, and Jean Gabriel Domergue’s Green Park. There have been 3 green colours chosen as Pantone’s Colour of the Year between 2000 and 2021 (the most recent was emerald in 2014).

There’s a lot of love about green.

10 'The Man in the' movies

I saw an old advert for The Man in the Iron Mask and noticed it came out in 1998 which I never realised despite watching it last year. During a Google search to confirm that fact, the auto-suggestion brought up terms such as The Man in the High Castle and it got me thinking: how many movies start with the phrase ‘The Man in the’?

I picked 10:

  1. The Man in the Iron Mask (letterboxd link)
  2. The Man in the Moon (letterboxd link)
  3. The Man in the Hat (letterboxd link)
  4. The Man in the Net (letterboxd link)
  5. The Man in the Woods
  6. The Man in the White Suit (letterboxd link)
  7. The Man in the Silo (letterboxd link)
  8. The Man in the Brown Suit (letterboxd link)
  9. The Man in the Wall
  10. The Man in the Raincoat

Honourable mentions: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, The Man in the Glass Booth, The Man in the Orange Jacket, and The Man in the Black Cape

There are at least 3 films with men in different coloured suits (white, brown, and grey), one in an orange jacket and one in a raincoat. Then there’s one in a black cape and one in a hat.

Update: I’ve created a Letterboxd list for them too and may add to it over time.

The story behind Mondrian's iconic style

Deconstructing Mondrian: The Story Behind an Iconic Design

While many people imagine that De Stijl was cold and humourless, as if its art was made with a ruler on a drawing board, the exhibits in the special wing show that the opposite is true. Using vivid primary colours (red, yellow and blue), members of the movement produced vibrant works of art that are unconstrained and joyful, reflecting a vision of the future that was optimistic in the extreme.

via Kunstmuseum Den Haag

(via The Kid Should See This)

The 'vantafish' that absorbs nearly all light that hits it

Last year, a Smithsonian marine biologist called Karen Osborn and her colleagues found a unique specimen while hauling deep-sea fish. But when she tried to use strobe lights to take a photo for cataloguing, she could only make out its outline. It was as if the fish was absorbing the light. Except it was.

But wait a second, Osborn figured. “I had tried to take pictures of deep-sea fish before and got nothing but these really horrible pictures, where you can’t see any detail,” she says. “How is it that I can shine two strobe lights at them and all that light just disappears?”

It disappears because the fangtooth, along with 15 other species that Osborn and her colleagues have found so far, camouflage themselves with “ultra-black” skin, the deep-sea version of Vantablack, the famous human-made material that absorbs almost all the light you shine at it. These fish have evolved a different and devilishly clever way of going ultra-black with incredible efficiency: One species the researchers found absorbs 99.956 percent of the light that hits it, making it nearly as black as Vantablack.

99.956% is as good as 100% to the naked eye so “Vantafish” seems like the perfect name.

Colour and fish related: Anish Kapoor banned from colour-changing paint, fish leather, and gefilte fish!

(via Wired; photograph: Karen Osborn/Smithsonian)

Killing the planet is the new black

Every year, Pantone Color Institute releases its colour trends report and the fashion world clambers to follow it. But with all trends, they’re fleeting. People spend billions on clothes and dispose of them within months, only for those colours to return in future years.

Elizabeth Sergan wrote “Our obsession with ‘color trends’ is killing the planet” for Fast Company back in February to illustrate how harmful these colour trends can be.

Companies from H&M to Target have figured out how to manufacture the latest styles quickly and cheaply, making them accessible to a broader range of consumers—but also adding to the waste problem.

All of this has sent us into a state of massive overconsumption. Most of us have about 150 items in our closet. The number of times we wear each item before throwing it out has gone down by 36% since 2000, and many of us only wear an item seven to 10 times before it goes in the trash. And all of this waste is clogging up our landfills and oceans, and spewing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change.

If you’re not into fast fashion, maybe you’d consider clothes made by fish leather (providing it doesn’t contribute to overfishing).

Pink things

Some blog post ideas are nothing more than a phrase.

For this one, it was “a pink experience”. I was inspired by my previous post on the colour gold but I thought I’d elaborate more with this one.

I don’t think I own any pink things. It’s a lighter shade of my favourite colour, red, but in terms of clothes, I’ve only gone as far as some black socks with pink patches on the heels and toes. I do like salmon though so maybe that’s something?

Some facts about the colour pink

  • Pink’s etymological origins are unclear but it’s likely that its name came from a flower of the same name.
  • Surveys in the West suggest pink is most often associated with qualities such as politeness, charm, sensitivity, and tenderness, as well as the most well-known association – femininity.
  • But there’s nothing inherently feminine about the colour pink so anyone, regardless of gender, can use it for whatever they want and screw what anyone else thinks.
  • Impure forms of the mineral rhodochrosite can be pink and it’s Argentina’s national gemstone
  • Flamingos are born with a red/grey plumage but as they mature, they become pinker by eating food that contains certain bacteria and beta-carotene. The shade of pink can determine desirability when it comes to mating – a vibrant flamingo is considered the most desirable compared to a paler flamingo.

A visually pink experience

(Photos courtesy of Paweł Czerwiński, Wesley Tingey, Miroslava, Meiying Ng, beasty ., Freshh Connection, Fabian Møller, Elena Koycheva, and Anders Jildén on Unsplash, Lil Nas X on that Old Town Road, and Rihanna.)

Kintsugi: The Japanese Art of Repairing Pottery with Gold

kintsugi

The concept extends beyond pottery or objects and speaks to our humanity. We go through life feeling happiness and sorrow but dwell on the bad times more than the good. Metaphorical cracks form and we break from time to time. But do the pieces have to stay broken or can they be “glued” back together with a stronger more radiant bond?

The literal translation of kintsugi (or kintsukuroi meaning “golden repair”) is “golden joinery”. The art form involves repairing broken pottery with lacquer combined with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. A theory of its original derives from Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa who sent a broken Chinese tea bowl back to China for repairs in the 15th century. It came back with metal staples holding the pieces together. Japanese craftsmen sought improved ways of repair and kintsugi was later born. Lacquer repair had been an age-old tradition in Japan but the idea of adding luxuriant colours came from the brutal stapling.

Kintsugi is very much a Japanese tradition but it has found its way into Western art. The Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art have held exhibitions for the golden repair. Rock bands “Hey Rosetta!”, “The Rural Alberta Advantage”, and “Death Cab for Cutie” have used kintsugi and its ideal for song titles and album inspiration. The cover for Cathy Rentzenbrink’s A Manual for Heartache also has a similar style, with a golden jigsaw outline on an eggshell green background, perhaps a more British variant on the concept. But its influence lies heavy in philosophy. It shares similarities with the Japanese philosophies of wabi-sabi and “no mind” (無心 mushin), which “encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life”.

Rather than disguise the “scars”, kintsugi treats the cracks as historical signposts, showing a followed path and a beautiful destination in shimmering gold.

Reading/watching list

Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics — Christy, James; Holland, Henry; Bartlett, Charly Iten (2008)
EASTERN PHILOSOPHY – Kintsugi by School of Life [Video]
Perfect Imperfection (The Art of Healing) by Billie Bond, Dr Jeremy Spencer (2017)
Broken a pot? Copy the Japanese and fix it with gold

Anish Kapoor banned from colour-changing paint

anish-kapoor-stuart-semple-pinkest-pink-blackest-black-colour_dezeen_sq

From the blackest black to the pinkest pink, Anish Kapoor has now been banned by Stuart Semple from using his new colour-changing paint. In case you missed the original drama, Anish Kapoor got exclusive rights to the Vantablack pigment and artists got angry. So Stuart Semple turned the tables.

There’s also a legal requirement where you must confirm:

“You are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor.”

And people wonder why the masses look at art and think it’s full of pretentious arses.

(via Dezeen)

A Gold Experience

tutankhamun

For my 10th birthday, I got a Gameboy Color. I cried when I unwrapped it because a few months prior, my original Gameboy DMG was stolen along with 10 games. I also got a gold cover for it but I’ve yet to find another since.

Gold is the colour of extravagance, wealth, riches, and excess. It’s also a colour of prosperity and grandeur and that’s why it’s one of my favourite colours behind red and green.

Here’s a series of images showcasing the gold experience in all its splendour. And if you like all things golden, you should check out how it can make your broken pottery look even better.