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Workshops

19 September 2019 - 21 September 2019

Making Invisible Colours Visible: Natural Dyes and the Methodology of Historical Colour Reconstruction, Aalto University

What did colours in clothing and textiles look like in the past? How can we visualize and understand colour in early modern documents, and what sources we need to put together, in order to reconstruct different shades and tones of dyes?

Focusing on reds, greens, blues, yellows and blacks, this workshop tests several historical dye recipes from the period of 1550-1650. The aim is to deepen our understanding on the range of colours that were found in visual and documentary evidence concerning ordinary people’s dress, as well as to gain access to the processes and materials that were involved in creating the astonishing colours. At the same time, this workshop also asks, to what extent is it possible to reconstruct colours using visual, material, archival and printed evidence as a source, and how colour reconstruction be further developed as a methodology in cultural analysis of early modern dress.

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