An eclectic blog about beads, beading and beyond

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beady Greenery Treasury, green healers and a touch of arsenic

Prompted by my ‘Yellow’ blog last week that briefly explored the different meanings of Yellow I’ve just started reading Victoria Finlay’s (2002) Colour: travels through the paintbox. London: Sceptre. (7th edition). I was prompted by this and by the happy coincidence of two Etsy beading events in my life this week to blog about ‘Green’. Ruthie, a member of the Etsy Bead Weaving ( team featured EBWer’s green creations on her blog and I found one of my Ziangles (see picture) in a an Etsy treasury – Beady Greenery (see photo) curated by Nemeton another EBWer. For me, there is a wonderfully calm and fresh feel to the treasury.

I’m not alone in associating green with a sense of calmness. Apparently, the rooms that people to relax in prior to a TV appearance (known as Green rooms) are green because of a longstanding belief in western society that green is a calming and refreshing colour. However, not so relaxing, is the idea that a green room may have killed Napoleon. In all likelihood he died of arsenic poisoning from the green paint used in his wallpaper. The paint known as Scheele’s green (after it’s creator) was made from arsenic and copper (see Finlay, p. 291). Wallpaper dyed with Scheele’s green became highly fashionable throughout Europe in the late 1700s and 1800s. It produced a vibrant green colour that was new and highly desirable. By the late 1800s wallpaper poisoning from Scheele’s green became recognised as a cause of illness and death.

Apparently, less deadly is the green of crystals. Wearing green crystals reputedly brings balance, a sense of freedom to do and bring a desire for growth in your life. If you use crystals in your life for health and healing there is quite a range of green crystals to choose from – here are just some of them:
- emerald
- malachite
- aventurine
- jade
- peridot
- moss agate
- dioptase
- bloodstone
- infinite stone
- chrysophase
- serpentine
- green calcite
- green tourmaline.

Alongside the life-affirming meanings of Green gemstones is it’s varying spiritual meanings. In Islam green is a sacred color. In the Qur'an, sura Al-Insan, believers in God in Paradise wear fine green silk and Muslims often wear a green turban or carry a green flag after a pilgrimage to their holy city of Mecca. This is why many flags of the nations of the Islamic world are green. Interestingly, the simple green flag Libya is the only national flag in the world that is a single color with no other markings. In Hinduism, green symbolically represents the fourth, heart chakra (Anahata). According to Wikipedia “Anahata chakra symbolizes the consciousness of love, empathy, selflessness and devotion. On the psychic level, this center of force inspires the human being to love, be compassionate, altruistic, devoted and to accept the things that happen in a divine way.”. So, green may be deadly, life-affirming, calming or holy. It depends not only on our cultural and religious context but also on our historical contexts. In many countries, laws protect us now from deadly wallpaper paints meaning that sitting in a ‘Green room’ can indeed be calming and refreshing.

Many ways of being green exist in nature that can offer wonderful inspirations for beaders who want a little green beadery in their life but as I use I am now wondering how are the dyes used in our beads made? How do bead-makers produce colours such as:
- Asparagus green
- Emerald
- Sea Green
- Feldgrau
- Fern green
- Forest green
- Jungle green
- Moss green
- Myrtle
- Pine green
- Sap green
- Shamrock green
- Tea green
- Teal

Off to find out more now… but would love to hear what Green means to you.

PS - There’s a good there’s a good review of Colour on Hughes’ News blog -

- – - - -


Rachele said...

I love your post!! Green is my favorite color and always has been!! I have had a green room in my house before and I absolutely loved it!! We have since moved, but I would love to have another green room!!

Marsha Wiest-Hines said...

I am a green gal too! By far my favorite color. What a fun collection of interesting factiods. And best of all, here's a look for me at Ruthie's green collection, which I can't see on her blog for some unknown reason!

Cindy Caraway said...

Green is also my favorite color! I just made an embroidered cuff bracelet in all shades of green. It was a commission and she picked out the beads herself - ALL green and all different shades. I wasn't too sure about the combination but it turned out beautifully! Anyway, green rocks!!

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Thanks for the linky love - and such an informative post!

Dax Designs - now on Artisan Co-op