Tuesday 2 October 2012

Living in Syn {Blogtoberfest 2/31}

While I was debating whether or not to sign up to Blogtoberfest this year, I decided that if I was going to try and blog each day, I really needed some kind of theme.  I’ve been wanting to do a few posts about my relationship with colour.

I have a neurological condition called synaesthesia (or synesthesia if you’re from the US –  always extra vowels to be concerned about!)  For those of you who don’t know what synaesthesia is, I nicked this from the UK Synaesthesia Association website!

Synaesthesia is a truly fascinating condition. In its simplest form it is best described as a “union of the senses” whereby two or more of the five senses that are normally experienced separately are involuntarily and automatically joined together. Some synaesthetes experience colour when they hear sounds or read words. Others experience tastes, smells, shapes or touches in almost any combination. These sensations are automatic and cannot be turned on or off.
stroop2Everybody’s syn is different – in mine I have a simultaneous experience of colour with words (especially days of the week) letters, numbers, and music, as well as some other weird texture taste stuff.

We all have strong associations with colour but in the syn’s [handy abbreviation] case this is not associative, so we can’t choose what we experience. Through my life I have learned to block it when it becomes too invasive.

When I started my DPhil (abandoned after 2 years, but still flirtatiously beckoning to me) it was about synaesthesia, metaphor and language. I went by my middle name - Athene - for academic research in those days. 

So, you may indeed have already ‘met’ me, if you ever sent in a questionnaire to the UK Synaesthesia Association.   I was president of the assoc and editor of the newsletter for four years … as Jo@ BearPaw and I discovered about a year after we’d been quilty bloggy chatty mates!  So I didn’t really nick the web content above, because I wrote it!

off sony 033

When I first painted for money (it supported a year as a Research Assistant at UCL) I discovered that I had amazing syn [abbreviation, most useful!] reactions to the architecture I painted.

IMG_3915 (Medium)
Now that I sew I’ve realised that it adds the most fantastic dimension to what I do … and totally controls how I choose my colour palettes or fabric textures.  Don’t even get me started on Oakshott … *swoon.

In the next month I’d like to share my syn with you.  I’d love to hear from you if you have coloured days of the week or weird colour associations you’ve never been able to explain, or if you know you’re a syn.  I know that this mad quilty blogosphere is home to quite a few of us!

End of today’s lecture (sorry!) Tomorrow it’ll be all about the colour.
If you fancy reading more … here’s the first ever UKSA newsletter


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