Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vermilion

I had the Pacific Northwest Quilters Association show entirely to myself today. Their traveling Spice of Life quilts are at the Vermilion County Museum in Danville, Illinois, about 30 miles from my house. When I arrived the receptionist told me to go on upstairs while she phoned the staff to turn the lights on. It's not often you get to take your time with 50 beautifully displayed quilts.

I'll get back to the show in a moment, but first I want to ask you about vermilion. Do you know what color that is? Did you know it was a color? When I crossed the Vermilion County line today, it suddenly occurred to me that vermilion is a color. I haven't heard anything called vermilion in years. In my mind I could see the color well -- greenish, with a yellow undertone. Was I ever wrong! I guess the word verdant or the French word vert confused me, because according to Wikipedia, vermilion is an orange-red pigment also known as China red. I could avoid embarrassment is if this were one of those infamous Wikipedia errors, but somehow that seems unlikely. I am red faced. You can color me vermilion.

And now back to the show. For your amusement -- these are really fun -- here are three quilts that made me smile. The first is Ladies and Gentlemen! by Pat Rosenthal. It shows a variety of outhouses and other types of toilet facilities -- definitely worth a click on the photo to enlarge it and read all the comments and look at everything more closely.

The next one is Moo-desto Cows by Cathie I. Hoover. She wrote on the label that she's from Moo-desto, California, but some of you may know it under the more modest name of Modesto.
I got such a kick out of To Each His Own by Georgia French. What a family unit -- Charlie Chaplin, Mona Lisa, and Mickey Mouse!

10 comments:

Joyce said...

My husband buys oil paint and one of them is vermilion, a gorgeous red for sure. I love the quilt with the black and white strips. They really set off the strange picture in the middle.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

I can never remember what color vermillion is either. Whee a whole quilt show to yourself!

Catherine said...

I love that black and white and orange quilt! You're not kidding -- strange family unit for sure! Thanks for sharing the photos.

Exuberant Color said...

We had an outhouse on the farm when I was small and also the first school I went to only had outhouses. The maker sure has a sense of humor.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Thanks for sharing those quilt pics - SO much to explore and enjoy!

As to vermillion, I started reading COLOR by Victoria Finlay ("a natural history of the palette"). It is not light reading, so I keep the book where I can read a few pages at a time. There are a lot of pages next to "vermillion" in the index...

jillytacy said...

You taught me something new today. I was with you thinking vermilion was a shade of green. You learn something new everyday!

Norma said...

The color I always wondered about was "Puce"............I knew what vermilion was from my big box of Crayons!

Great quilts, that last one is definately an illustration of "to each his own". Beautiful workmanship in all of them.

Sarah Nopp said...

I am quite excited to see this travelling exhibit. I haven't missed an APNQ show yet! They are really excellent, if you are planning a trip to the Seattle area around that time.

Gregory said...

According to the OED, "vermilion" comes from the Latin via French. "Vermiculus" refers to a little worm ("vermis" = worm, and I think we can see vermin close behind). Therefore, it means a bright shade of red, of course. You know, worms, red..... ummm, there's a connection somewhere.
Maybe the origin comes from the original meaning of red crystalline mercuric sulphide. Could it have taken the form of small tubes ("worms")?

kerri said...

I always thought vermilion was green as well. I guess I learned my new thing for today.

The 'To Each His Own' quilt is great!