Welcome to Corinna Ciera's creative blog. Here you will see posts concerning crafts and general topics of interest. At www.corinnaciera.etsy.com, you will find retro and modern fashion accessories, fabric creations for the home, and other unique items...all handmade by Corinna.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Color Purple from Snails?

I love the color purple. I use it frequently in the crafts I create. Interestingly, purple has an ancient history. In Phoenicia (now Lebanon), purple fabric trade was prosperous. Because of its high cost, the color purple came to be associated with royalty, honor, and riches. Purple is such a rich color which can range from violet to a dark red.

Where does the color come from? That particular dye, back then and today, is obtained in small amounts from sea snails. That's right, snails! Only one drop of liquid can be obtained from each snail. The Purpura patula pansa snail produces a substance that looks pale at first but becomes purple when exposed to air and light. The dye then colors the textile fiber.

This process was perfected by the native peoples of Mexico, especially the Mixtec. The Mistecs obtained their Purpura snails from the waters of the Pacific Ocean. After being "milked", the liquid being dripped directly on the fibers, the snail was returned to the sea. That practice has, in fact, preserved the snail population to this day.

Although the Purpura snail faces the threat of a growing tourist industry in the bays where it lives, many hope that this fascinating creature will be preserved and continue to provide its beautiful color.

I am thankful for this ancient way of getting the color purple. With that said, please enjoy some of my purple creations.


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