Seeing rainbows?

Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet… it’s been a joy to see rainbow artworks popping up in windows worldwide as communities look to share some colour, hope and solidarity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We’re quite partial to rainbows here in the Art & Design Department. So, whilst I work from my home office (kitchen) this spring, I thought it would be nice to share a few more rainbows with you and maybe help inspire you to make some (more) of your own.

Rainbows can be found throughout the collection, but here are just 5 of our favourites. Firstly, a block printed cloth with a rainbow zigzag or ‘leheria’ pattern from the ever-inspiring Turkey Red collection. Secondly, a solid sphere centre-piece that refracts rainbows through triangular facets, quite the show stopper for a dinner party! Thirdly, a sampler illustrating a stunning flame stitch pattern in a rainbow of colours (many samplers include rainbows to explore colour but also to reference the story of Noah). Finally, two iridescent carnival glass pieces; a purple ‘fine rib’ vase and a green bowl decorated in a ‘wishbone’ pattern, both of which display a riot of colours as you move around them and the light hits from different angles.

But no blog about rainbows in the Art & Design collection would ever be complete without looking at the works of celebrated Arts & Crafts artist Phoebe Anna Traquair. A few examples can be seen here but Traquair used rainbows throughout her work, from her monumental murals to her furniture decoration; conveying hope, but also love and divinity. In the Design for Living Gallery, we are lucky to have a collection of her beautiful enamelwork on display, and this is where we found inspiration for a Traquair-themed Museum Social, back in October 2018.

Rainbows are incorporated into Traquair’s enamel compositions as rich landscapes and glowing horizons. So with that in mind, we thought we’d have a go at creating colourful rainbow dreamscapes using a modern cold enamelling technique. It was fiddly, messy and we had to work quickly, but the vibrant effect was incredibly satisfying and really showed off the bright rainbow colours.  

Each spring, the sun rises above the buildings in the Art & Design office, the light catches my ruler and casts rainbows onto my desk. Ephemeral, translucent and unexpected, rainbows proliferate our lives as motifs of hope, connecting our own world with others. But having been used as the LGBT pride and international peace flags, since 1978 and 1961 respectively, they are also now importantly seen as symbols of peace, diversity, solidarity and respect. Whilst we won’t be seeing the rainbows in the office this year, I look forward to seeing your rainbow filled windows on my daily allocated walk. Whatever art materials you use (textiles, the glass itself, enamel, paint, crayons, tissue paper, fabric…), the more rainbows we can create and see just now, the better.

- Posted

Add your comments


Other posts by this author.

Related posts