Ultra Violet

On Christmas Eve 1968, Astronaut Bill Anders of Apollo 8 captured the Earth and Moon in an epic image known as Earthrise. The once inviolable void between the Earth and her Moon was breached. At the end of a tumultuous year, the beauty and unity of Earthrise inspired the world to believe in the possibility of peace. - Lapchi Holiday card 2017

Recently announced as the global color of the year for 2018 by The Pantone Color Institute, Ultra Violet is a color for outliers, explorers, nonconformists, and peace lovers. It's an askew shade imbued, says Pantone, with “cosmic” overtones that “allow us to imagine [our] unique mark on the world.” 

Ultra Violet was chosen by Pantone as a color of hope; a visual balm to soothe a world that for many feels increasingly unsettled. Ultra Violet is by nature bipartisan; the color created out of the cooperation between red and blue. But the true beauty of Ultra Violet lies in its unusual, outlier associations. Ultra Violet has shaded, nuanced, and cosmically mysterious associations that we can imagine allow us to see into the future. 

The astronauts of the 1968 Apollo mission to the Moon floated in an ultraviolet universe. The scientific light known as ultraviolet hides unseen in the shadow of violet just off the edge of the visible color spectrum. Invisible to the unaided human eye, ultraviolet hides in plain sight.

A similarly stellar but earth-based version of Ultra Violet is the sparkly 18th century violet pigment known as smalt. Made by “strewing” crushed cobalt glass on a tacky paint surface, the finish can be seen in the remarkable 18th century Ultra Violet bedchamber in the MacPheadris–Warner House in New Hampshire, where smalt walls surround the slumberer in a peaceful violet void. 

Ultimately however, Ultra Violet is evidence of a peaceable kingdom, and a lesson to the human species on coexistence. When threats to the small vegetarian mollusk known as the Sea Hare turn toxic, the prey's response is creatively tempered. The Sea Hare can be handled, prodded even, and it will remain passive. Only when the Sea Hare is under direct attack does it release a cloud of Ultra Violet ink, not to harm but to distract. As its languid cloud of violet ink drifts and settles, some Sea Hare predators are so mesmerized by the violet haze they forget about the Sea Hare and instead attempt to catch the cloud.

What does all this have to do with rugs? Last year, Lapchi and Chicago artist Francine Turk, in tune with the emerging Ultra Violet zeitgeist, created a rug masterpiece. The tones of the Sea Hare's cloud are reflected in Matador, shown below being washed just after coming off loom. 

If the purpose of selecting Ultra Violet is as a catalyst for hope and a prompt to “make a mark”, then let the mark we leave in the year to come include renewed efforts towards local and global unity and peace. In our opinion, Ultra Violet is the perfect color choice for harmony in 2018. The year ahead can be better than the year we leave behind. Happy New Year!

– Denna Jones for Lapchi