First Steps in the New Year

We’re approaching the first steps of the New Year 2009. Speaking of steps, that reminds me, both our calendar and that of the Maya of Central America has 365 days in a year. On a few expeditions to Mexico, when I was still agile and able, I’d climb the 365 steps of ancient Mayan and Aztec pyramids (the number of steps symbolizing a full calendar year.) By the way, do you know the trick to climbing pyramids?

Mexico is in on our radar screen these days. What I find fascinating whenever we have the opportunity to go there, is not just the architecture and keen intelligence represented by these ancient sites, but today to witness the vibrance of its artists and craftspeople.

On each trip we notice new and different designs have surfaced, often combined with a highly developed sense of colour. It’s evidence of a vast reservoir in the genes of these people, this creative diversity and originality. Mexico is so nearby, yet so far removed from our North American, often vulgar display of goods and colours. During the holidays we went to a major shopping mall, just to look, and once again, this non-presence of aesthetics and harmony made itself seen and known, with a few exceptions.
In the mall we noticed all kinds of sales. What always has my attention is that the price of something hits home and has a common language, but when it comes to talking about an object by colour, it becomes more difficult to describe to someone who has not seen a particular item you’re talking about. For example, on display were several sweaters and dresses. Blue, Green, Red. Say I tell someone, “There is a beautiful blue sweater for sale, but you must decide, for it’ll go quickly”, how is that person going to know which colour of Blue we are referring to?
Unless we’d take a sample of the fabric, or bring the person to whom we reveal the “sale” opportunity, he or she will not know which colour we speak of. Now here comes the next step. “It’s priced at $59”. Now this immediately rings a bell. See what we mean? Colour has to be seen, it cannot be talked about. In our society and culture the monetary value of something is at the front burner, but often the magic and mystery of colour is ignored or unknown.
Yet, from the moment we open our infant eyes to the instant we close them forever, we’re exposed to colour. It is a mistake to think that only fashion designers, interior decorators, chemists or artists need to know about colour. The magic and mystery is there for all to see, study, explore, apply, feel and enjoy. Going back to pyramid-climbing: you do it in zig-zag fashion!
Enjoy your first steps into the young Year! Hasta luego, Henri