Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Explorations in Color

Like most people, my first explorations in color began as a child. I can still remember opening up a new box of crayons - the 64 pack from Crayola.

I remember the sharp points and the waxy smell.

I remember hoping my little sisters who I shared them with wouldn't break them. I remember wishing I could have a perfect, unused box all to myself.

I can still feel the anticipation I had of combining the colors into one big beautiful coloring project.

But mostly I remember the pristine look of the virgin crayons - ahhhhhh - what a site.


I remember the rough paper wrappers printed in black ink that had all the names of the colors down at the lower flat end of the crayon. Now they are in three languages - how cool. What a great way for kids to learn another language early!


I remember my favorite crayon color was red violet. What was yours?

Do you have a special color memory? I would love to hear your thoughts.

36 comments:

duraknit said...

I've long thought that places that do a lot of mail order yarn sales should keep a large box of Crayolas (remember the long, flat, white box with the built-in sharpener that showed you all the colors at once?) by the phone as a universlly -- well, almost -- known dictionary of colors. That way the person could describe exactly the color she's looking for - cornflower blue, magenta, burnt sienna. . .monitors aren't trustworthy, but you can count on Crayola.

bwilliams said...

Kristin,
Humans have a strong smell recognition, as do other animals. I think one of the most universally recognized smell is that of crayons. I recently bought a large box of crayolas for my grandsons and was disappointed to learn that some of the color names have changed. As for favorites, I was always partial to periwinkle blue, sky blue, and seafoam green; I guess I still am. Thanks for reminding us of the simple pleasure of a new box of crayons. I think I might just have to go out and buy myself a box. And, btw, I agree with duraknit about the box of crayons by the phone for mail order companies, and not just for yarn, but also for clothing.

KPiep said...

A brand new box of crayons has always been one of my favorite things too! And I love Duraknit's idea...it's so true that Crayola is something you can always, always depend on.

And I know for a lot of us this is probably cliche - but part of the reason why I go to my LYS so often is to drink in all of the beautiful colors and color combinations.

Lora said...

My favorite color as a child was cornflower blue. Now as an adult, give me all the shades of red...the redder the better!

Hilary said...

When I was about 5 and my sister 6 my dad came home from work one day and told us to gather up all our crayons - we were going to give them to kids who didn't have any. We were heartbroken - we LOVED our crayons - even though they were all broken little well-used nubs, missing wrappers and stored in an old plastic ice cream tub.

So we gathered the crayons and handed them over to dad, both of us sobbing hysterically. But like the good dad he was he had a surprise for us, since we trusted him... brand new 64 count boxes of Crayola crayons, sharpeners included, one for EACH of us.

I don't think my mom forgave him for making us cry like we did, but for the new crayons, it was worth it. We had never had new crayons before.

Dad died when I was 10. In his memory I donate 64 count boxes of Crayola crayons to Toys for Tots every year. Every child deserves a new box of crayons at least once in their life. :-)

And my favorite color was always red.

Kelli C said...

Hi Kristin,
I live in Newfane (VT) and was wondering if your little kittens are up for adoption and would they like to move a wee bit north to a beautiful mountain with a family in desperate need of a new kitten addition? If so, my e-mail is kelli at sover dot net.

I have two small children and make sure that they each get their OWN box of crayons every Christmas because I clearly remember the day my little sister broke the brand new Midnight Blue in my box of 64.

Michele in Maine said...

Periwinkle! And it's still my favorite.

Danièle said...

A special color memory ??? Oh yes I do . I am about 3yrs old (56 now ), I am in Texas and a huge hand ( was told later it was Don my Great Uncle's hand ) is holding mine and I am so terribly happy because I am walking to the ice cream car to get a RED popsickle !!!! I still love red so much there are no words for it LOL And I still have the taste in my mouth right now as I write LOL
As for crayolas my US Grand Mother would send us a box about once a year and I always got crayolas . I LOVED them . They were unheard of here wich made them even more special .The waxy smell and all the colors and ... Well you know .
BTW I love your work .Thanks for the blog too !
Danièle

Anonymous said...

What wonderful memories you've evoked for so many readers. I got a new box of 64 each September-- fall has always been the true new year to me. And my favorite colors were turquoise and magenta, especially when used in combination. Burnt sienna was one of my most-used colors, too, because it matched my dog's fur. Lots of canine portraits around my house. Happy times.
-- Gretchen

Kelley Hart said...

My son is 12, and it seems he's mostly used markers, pens, pencils and such for his artistic endeavors. Maybe this is a modern thing? The other day he announced that he needed crayons for some school science project. We have some old stubby ones that he did use as a wee one (he doesn't even remember that!). Those wouldn't do, so we stopped at the Office Depot (love that place. . . they have everything), and picked up a box of 64 crayolas. He was beside himself! He had never seen such a sight (I felt a little guilty about that). He was thrilled to find the color "Macaroni and Cheese"-his favorite food! It was nice to see such a video game loving, skateboarder get so excited about crayons! Thanks for sharing your great photos.

Margie said...

Hi Kristin, what a great post, crayons seem to hold memories the world over, we did not have Crayola here in Ireland when I was a child but we did have thick wax crayons and the smell was and still is filled with nostalgia and memories. I dont remember having a favourite colour, but I do remember discovering that if I filled the whole page in colours and then covered it all with black then I could scrape away the black in places to make patterns, pictures and drawings, I am not sure what that is called. Thanks for the memories. Margie.

~drew emborsky~ said...

My fave was always teal. Still is! :)

Amy said...

This is weird for me because I'm the most sartorially conservative person in the world but my two favorite colors in the 64-crayon box were glittery gold and shiny silver. I wore them down to nubs.
Amy

Anonymous said...

it's sad really. crayola crayons used to correspond to artists colors more when i was a child. all the different browns (including sienna brown), carmine, yellow ochre...
that said my absolute favorite was midnight blue.

Ellen Gormley said...

Just like Lora said above, the first color to pop in my mind was cornflower blue, probably closely followed by periwinkle. Cornflower because of the color, so sweet. Periwinkle because it's a pretty color, but also, what a fun word to say! I admit when I was in grad school and living alone, way too old for coloring (some might say), I bought myself a big 64 box of crayons and a crisp new coloring book. It was a fun little distraction in between school work, but I think I hoarded it more than used it :)

Deborah said...

Mmmm...love that smell, too. I arranged my crayons by color and I never colored inside the lines! I've also been known to run with scissors...
My color memory has to do with knitting as a kid. My first needles were red plastic and my yarn was Red Heart acrylic variegated in crayon bright colors because I couldn't choose just one! (I think the colorway was called Mexicali.)

Cate said...

I loved magenta, which I called "magneta". Funny to see all the cornflower blue love, because that was the one crayola crayon I hated. Not due to the color, but because it seemed more waxy than the other colors and it was hard to get a nice solid layer of blue from it.

LaurieG said...

You've pictured my favorite right next to yours - olive green! Oh how I loved cracking open a new box of crayons!

Donna S. said...

Oooo new crayons! The smell!! I have always loved new crayola crayons. Now I have grandchildren & have a new reason to color but always bought the crayons anyway!! Cool to look thru some of the favorite colors & remember them all.

HOA Mgr Lady said...

Does anyone remember Maria THeresa Gold? I was in Austria and Innsbruck is painted with that color and I immediatley remembered my TINY box of crayons...I think we got the 24 -sniff- You all got the bigger boxes. I remember that smell too just sitting here I can breathe in and catch a whiff... I love the idea of donating crayolas what an EXCELLENT idea! I'm going to do that this year!
Thanks Kristin!
Roooth

Nessa said...

I loved burnt sienna, cerulean, and jungle green. I still do! My sisters and I used to fight over the silver and gold. Since I'm the youngest of the five girls (my 3 brothers didn't care much for those particular colors), I usually lost out on the metallics!

Danielle said...

Cerulean was my favorite!

Dawn Anon said...

The blues... always love all of the blues.

I'm blogsurfing tonight and wandered into yours. Had to stop long enough to say that I love your photos and your squares.

Susie said...

I homeschooled both my children.
Magenta. Still.

Every year when all the school kids were buying their supplies, we'd get a new box of 64 for each child.

This year my daughter is a new mother. Included in my box of baby goodies for my new grandson was...a new box of 64 Crayolas. She said it brought tears to her eyes and so many memories.

ChickenBetty said...

green-blue was my favorite but they don't make it anymore. :(

betty in nc said...

There is nothing like a new box of 64 Crayola Crayons! Luckily I was an only child so I never had to share my crayons with anyone. Although I desperately wanted an older brother (I obviously wasn't a real bright child) I know I wouldn't have wanted to share my crayons. I loved it when they were new and still had the fresh out of the box point!

Spring Green was my favorite. It always made the best 'grass' in my pictures.

what great memories! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I still love midnight blue.

Anonymous said...

I also vote for magenta and burnt sienna!
Wasn't there a blue-green and a green-blue?
My grandparents brought my sister and me the box of 64 crayons, which was the most fabulous gift.
Lisa R-R

Michele said...

Kristen-
It is funny how Mothers think because I too was living this memory as I jealously cuddled with my daughter's box of 120 crayons just the other day!! She had been running back and forth asking me to read the names and I obliged happily surprised at all of the new names! It made me stop and smell the roses (or crayons as the case may be) and spend a few minutes remembering myself. The youngest of six, I was spoiled enough to have my own box and was so happy when they invented the big box with the sharpener on the back. There is nothing like a sharp crayon. I would outline my colorings with a sharp dark line and then color them in smoothly and perfectly. My most used crayon was black, which was used so often it was a hard to find nub in the bottom of the box. My favorite color was cornflower blue.

pancake and lulu said...

Like so many other people here: my favorites were cornflower blue and periwinkle. I LOVED them in a passionate way! Now I love all colors, I guess I have grown up a bit. A new box of 64 Crayolas (a think I had a few in my child-life) was the best gift ever. Arranging them took hours and hour. (Come to think of it, I think I sort of worshiped them!)

Krista said...

I ran across your blog from someone else's blog (I can't remember who's) and I was overcome with nostalgia when I read your post about crayons. I too have a strong memory of the smell of the crayons. I also loved the order of a new box of 64 crayons. The lovely way one color flowed into the next. I used to try to put the crayons back just where they started, but I always messed it up eventually. My favorite color is strawberry red. Many years ago I was given a Strawberry red crayon by someone who I greatly admired because he said that it reminded him of me. I kept that exact crayon for a long time, but eventually lost it during one of my many moves during college. almost 20 years later, I still think of him when I see a strawberry red crayon....and I still feel a little special.

Dawn said...

My favorite colors were all of the horse colors-sienna, burnt umber, and black, black was always used up first.

A few years ago I did a color crayon quilt- the best part was buying myself a brand new box of crayons. I'm going home to color!

CuteStuffInside said...

Favorite Crayola color - Tickle Me Pink!

S.W.A.K.
www.CuteStuffInside.blogspot.com

Teresa said...

A new box of crayons, a couple of nicely sharpened pencils, a pen with a perfect point and blank paper. The possibilities are endless and so exciting.
Which color to choose first, what words will flow from the pen or pencil, will my doodling turn into something never imagined?
Your pictures and thoughts brought back a landslide of memories. I remember saving up my money to buy myself a box of crayons. Of course it was the 64 with the sharpener but I never liked how the crayons sharpened. I liked using a pocket knife and peeling away slivers of color until the point was the way I wanted it.
Thanks for the memories.

redmittens said...

WHHHAAT! I read above that Chicken Betty said they don't make green-blue anymore??? What kind of a world do we livein???

Green-blue was my favorite (not to be confused with blue-green, which was a horrid color!)

The old waxy crayons were definitely the best. The washable crayons of today are not the same. Plus, you can't use all the little nubs of washable crayons to make nifty projects, like crayon shavings ironed onto the paper or hot rock painting! I love crayola!

CHECK OUT THIS COOL SITE--all 120 crayola colors, and Crayola inspired palattes:

http://www.colourlovers.com/blog/2008/04/22/all-120-crayon-names-color-codes-and-fun-facts/

A N N M A R I E said...

your blog is fascinating - i just finished reading e'one's comments and it sure did bring back some awesome memories. i was the second oldest of five children, and lots of neighbor kids were always around, so there was lots of sharing going on - my most favorite has to be midnight blue (oh and forest green). I STILL love crayola crayons, and i actually have a few tins of crayons that were sort of collectors series that i keep safe (ha ha ha). i truely LOVE crayons, and coloring and my sister jnet actually sent me the link for your blog and said "Another crayola enthusist! This post is so very Annish!!" she is right to say that your post is so "ann-ish" ---- what a wonderful way to think back to a simpler time! have a happy holiday!