Hello, and welcome back! This post is the first in this series all about mental health and craft. For the next five weeks, I'll be looking at different styles of material in the crafting world, particularly for knitting and crochet. So, where better a place to start than by looking at colour?
Personally, I love a bit of colour. Every day, you are surrounded it, yet it is so easy to take it for granted! Then, there are the more subtle meanings too: red being associated with energy but also anger; blue being associated with trustworthiness and in some cases being proven to relieve pain; even having colours represent minority communities. Having said all this, it is easy to be cynical and wonder "does colour really have any impact on my life?" For that reason, I decided to do a little research, looking into a couple ideas around colour online as well as carrying out my own survey amongst friends. So, today, I thought I would share my results with you and (hopefully) find the answers to all my questions about colour.
The first thing that I decided to ask people was about the colours that are in their bedrooms. I felt this was important because your sleep patterns can have a big impact on your wellbeing. Unsurprisingly, the most popular colour to have in the bedroom was white, with twenty of the twenty-nine participants saying that their bedroom contains white as a main colour. After that was cream, with ten people selecting this, followed by pale blue with seven people. But are these good colours to have in a bedroom? Well, because I only did my research among a few friends, my results were a little inclusive as to the impact that the colours had, but other research suggests that colours like white, beige and cream are good because of how pale they are but are quite under-stimulating, meaning that they can increase stress. Therefore, these colours are best when paired with other colours. Good bedroom colours are often cool colours, such as blue, green and lilac, and should be relatively pale as bright colours can distract you from sleeping. Another tip that is often suggested when picking bedroom colours is that we should avoid pairing bright colours with black, as, again, this is very vibrant and striking. The same applies with contrasting colours i.e. avoid having red and green, orange and blue or yellow and purple bedrooms. Having said this, these colour schemes are great for social rooms, kitchens or any room that you go into as soon as you wake up, as it can give you a colourful and refreshing start to your morning.
Then, I decided to look at what colours most people wear. Now, unlike with bedroom colours, there aren't any colours that I do or don't recommend as fashion is very subjective to opinion and different colours look good on different people. However, I thought I would share the five most popular colours to wear according to my survey.
1. Black - all 29 participants said that they wear black regularly.
2. White - 16 people said they often wear white, which surprised me as I will usually do anything to avoid it!
3. Dark blue - 14 people said that they often wear dark blue,
4. Red - this is one of the only bright colours that people said they wear regularly; 10 people picked this option.
5. Grey - 8 people picked grey as a colour they often wear.
How do these colour choices impact people? Do they have any affect at all? Whilst my results were a little unclear, there did seem to be a link between colour preferences and attitudes towards certain ideas. For example, I asked people whether or not they thought they are creative. Those who said they are often wear a wide variety of colour, with only two people in this category saying that they only wear neutral colours and/or dark blue, whereas nearly half of the group that didn't think they are creative wear almost only these colours. So, when you start doing some craft, why limit yourself to black and white when you have an entire rainbow at your disposal?
Arguably the most important question on the survey (apart from the question at the end asking for consent to use peoples' data, of course) was about peoples' favourite colours. Now that you have looked at what most people wear, be prepared to be shocked about what people prefer. Here is the list:
1. In at number one is dark blue, a colour which is known throughout society as being a firm favourite.
2. Dark green. This one was a huge shock, because in my experience, people who say that their favourite colour is green, particularly girls, are often seen as weird or lacking in taste. I'm glad that this is up here though because although it's not my favourite of all time, I definitely like it.
3. Three colours came in at third place: red, pale blue and lilac.
You may have noticed that unlike in other sections, I haven't told you how many people picked each one. That's because people picked such a wide range that even dark blue in 1st place only had six votes. This completely contrasts with what I said earlier about popular colours to wear, where all of the respondents picked black. In fact, only 14 of the 29 participants said that they often wear their favourite colours. But why? It may have something to do with a lack of self-confidence - over half of the respondents said that they don't like wearing clothes that draw attention to them. However, wearing colours that you like doesn't mean going everywhere in a violet body suit just because you like purple. Accessories such as shawls, gloves and socks or even cardigans in slightly more vibrant colours will not draw too much attention to you when paired with black trousers or a white t-shirt - it is definitely possible to wear colours you like without sticking out like a sore thumb. So why not try it? This may seem difficult if you are nervous about stepping out of your comfort zone, but the great thing about clothes is that you aren't stuck with them - if that purple hat just does attract too many stares for your liking, you can always change it! Maybe, if wearing colours that you like outside just is too big a jump for you, incorporating the colour into your life in other ways could be equally beneficial. One person in the survey said it very well, telling me that "[they] used to say [that their] favourite colour was pink until [they] realised that [they] don't have to be like everybody else."
Finally, I wanted to briefly mention the condition synaesthesia as one of the participants in my survey mentioned it, so I decided to look into it a little. Synaesthesia is a condition that means that when a person with it experiences one sense or concept, their mind responds by associating it with another. For example, some people with synaesthesia can associate words with tastes, sounds with textures and letters with colours. If you have the synaesthesia linked with colour, I would absolutely recommend utilising your ability when designing colour schemes or doing any craft. Even if the colours that you see are not the prettiest when put together, what your mind is doing is amazing and as a bit of geek, I think that the science of it is very beautiful! If you don't have this condition, don't feel like you are missing out, as there are so many ways to immerse yourself in sensory input and get colour inspiration based on this. If you ever smell food cooking, visualise it and think of the colours in that food (as you may have guessed, I am a huge foodie); listen to music and doodle as you listen, seeing what colours come to mind; find celebrities that you like and think of the colours that they wear. I also like to get inspiration from album covers and what I see when on walks.
So, from this, it's clear that different colours impact people differently; whilst there are some common favourites, it is important to know that everyone is unique. The best way to use colour to benefit your mental health? Incorporate colours that you like into your craft and into your life. That's all from me this week, so until next time, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..