Tuesday, 22 September 2009

What colour is your DNA?

I’m in the process of coming up with a new project and find myself once again choosing threads from the same palette that I subconsciously draw from each and every time, albeit slightly different tones this time round.

My favourite red DMC embroidery thread is number 816, for example. More often than not, it’s the shade I’ll pull out of my floss box first when a design calls for red. It’s also one of MTMs regular reds. And neither of us is overly fond of pastels, or pinks and purples. Although we both like dusty shades of those colours.

It got me to thinking: Is colour preference hereditary? Do I prefer certain colours because my parents and their parents before them are (or were) genetically predisposed to those colours? Are these preferences built into my DNA? Or do I choose them simply because I’m used to seeing them and they’ve become a bit of a habit?

As one does, I turned to Google for insight. But I didn’t find out much on the subject. There are studies on colour preferences between the sexes – one found that women tend to gravitate towards the red end of the red-green spectrum more than men, and both sexes choose blue more often than yellow – but I couldn’t find anything straightforward regarding hereditary predisposition to certain hues, tints, shades and tones of the colour spectrum. And I like yellow just as much as blue, sometimes more depending on the shade.

The more I stitch, the more defined my palette becomes. I add to it constantly, but more often than not with shades and tones of the same basic colours to which I’m instinctively drawn. I’m presuming this is (or was) the same for MTM, my gran, her mom and so on up my maternal family tree of stitchers. So if we do inherit our colour preferences, I guess mine are pretty much set in stone – or should I say, my DNA.


Cerejeira said...

I find the subject very interesting ...just love colors!
I tend to relate to color as a scape so at this very moment I am Red in all shades.Guess trying to prepare myself for the grey winter.

Ruth O'Leary said...

That's really interesting, and not something I'd ever thought of. Though, I tend to gravitate towards golds and reds while my Mum prefers pinks and my sister like purple best. I'll have to ask about and see what the rest of the family prefers!

Carla said...

Carol Jackson in the old "Color Me Beautiful" book says that left to their own devices, people instinctively choose colors which look good on them. If this is really so, I certainly can imagine a DNA basis for not only it but your color choices for embroidery.

karen said...

well my DNA must be black as coal, it's just about the only colour I wear apart from 50 different shades of grey!

Carla said...

LOL, I do darks myself. And I am a Winter. Pastels feel like nightgowns to me no matter how they are made. Darks are "real" clothes!

kat said...

Loved this post. Looking over my design & art direction portfolio I can see similar colours cropping up in my work over the years. Usually 'dirty' versions of bright limes, orange, blues. But those colours I gravitate to in my work are so different to the colours I decorate my home with - and different again to the colours in my wardrobe (mostly neutral). I guess I celebrate an entire palette!

IMRAN said...

As a child growing up in Pakistan, I recall an old grandma's tale which made one think of color preference and not just heredity but fate (which can also be partly a manifestation of choices we make).

The story was related to two brothers who are part of Islamic history. It is said the one who loved green was poisoned, the one who loved red died in battle.

But, in a world where our choices of what we like may be intricately tied to the choices we make in life, it could be possible of some statistical link between, say, adventurers liking red, or pacifists liking blue or green, etc.


Anonymous said...

Just blogged about this yesterday (though not quite as thoroughly)! I suspect my preferences are seasonal - we will see if they change come spring.