Ultraviolet, the Color of the Year 2018

Each year, Pantone highlights a color that stimulates the imagination and speaks about the age we live in. For 2018, Pantone has chosen ultraviolet as the color of the year. Ultraviolet sits beyond the end of the spectrum of light that is visible to the human eye, which lends to its mystique.

Artists conceptualize the color through inventiveness and a sort of mystical imagination. It speaks of energy, higher thinking, spirituality and individuality. Artists throughout the ages have experimented with visually representing that which cannot be seen by the human eye. Philip Rothko used several hues of violet as a symbol of spirituality in the Rothko Chapel.

Tyrian purple is the name that describes dye made by the Phoenicians from the murex sea snail as early as the 15th century B.C. In ancient times, purple was an exotic color because of the expense and complex process in extracting the color from the snail. Today, purple and its many shades are made from a number of substances. It can also be made by combining red and blue pigments. Violet is different because it is a spectral color, but it is often described as a shade of purple by artists because it is near purple on the color wheel.

Antique Ultraviolet Khotan Rug 48783
Section of Ultraviolet Square Antique Khotan Rug 48783

In carpets, color is a primary element that contributes to the overall design and character of a piece. Colors are just as symbolic as motifs are in carpet weavings and are used by the weaver to tell a story and evoke emotion. Purple is associated with many qualities, including royalty, trustworthiness, wealth, spirituality and power. Violet is less saturated and more luminous, which gives it a more ethereal look.

Ultraviolet Section Large Vintage Scandinavian Rug 47667
Ultraviolet Section Large Vintage Scandinavian Rug 47667

Each carpet designer and weaver selects colors carefully to compose the composition. Purple is used by weavers of carpets in conjunction with other colors, shining through backgrounds of blues, reds, yellows and greens to highlight, contrast and emphasize motifs. Violet hues can be airy; they can also be dynamic and intense, offsetting matte colors or dense portions of the field.

As you go through your exploration of carpets, look beyond the dominant colors that may at first jump out at you. Examine a piece for the nuances that underlie the bold and obvious that you see first. Look for the hints of luminosity or brightness that express the underlying emotions that are intricately combined to present a cohesive, expressive work of art. If ultraviolet is subtly woven into a piece, see if it touches your feelings and brings out the sensations of mysteriousness, knowledge and spirituality.