Crayon Love

I need a healthy distraction, so I decided to come on here and write. 

 crayon-2.jpg  crayon-7.jpg  crayon-1.jpg

My first career aspiration was to name Crayola crayons (my second was to name paint chips).  I poured over my crayon box and memorized the names of each one.  I used to line up all 64 in order of my favorites (a scoring system based on color, name, and how well the wax went on paper…not all crayons were created equally, you see).  Midnight blue was a superior color.  It went on the paper exceptionally well, and the name was evocative of mysterious things like space and night.  Cornflower was disappointing because it never went on the paper very well…no matter how much pressure was applied, it only succeeded in creating a semi-transluscent waxy smudge on the paper without delivering the delicate blue that it promised.  Shamrock is my current favorite.

Once at a party, I brought up the subject of crayons.  Someone laughed and said, “Honestly, who still cares about crayons?”  My friend Ryan and I both said we did.  I asked if he had a favorite one, and he said yes.  I said, “Me too!”  We got into a “you tell me yours first” match, so we agreed that on the count of three, we would both say our favorite.  We counted to three and shouted in unison, “Macaroni and cheese!”  I thought I had found my soulmate.

Crayons have come a long way.  In 1903, there were 8 colors.  Crayola boxes have housed over 400 colors.  There are currently 120.  The four newest are inch worm, jazzberry jam, mango tango, and wild blue yonder.  The four most recently retired are blizzard blue (I will miss it), magic mint, mulberry (another sad loss), and teal blue.  Americans choose blue most often as their favorite, followed by cerulean and purple heart.

Did you know crayons have a political history?  ‘Prussian blue’ became ‘midnight blue’ in 1958; ‘flesh’ became ‘peach’ in 1962 (Civil Rights movement); and ‘Indian red’ became ‘chestnut’ in 1999.  My guess is that the days for ‘beaver’ are limited, but maybe that reveals my dirty mind.

Cool crayon facts: The glue that binds the paper to the crayon is simply cornstarch and water, since kids have a tendency to eat such things.  The job of placing paper on crayons used to go to farmers during winter months to supplement their income.  The smell of a crayon is the third most recognizable smell (after coffee and peanut butter).

Cheers to crayons, color, and the innocence of childhood.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “Crayon Love

  1. bottlecappie

    I always thought the metallic crayons – silver, gold, copper – were the least satisfying. They never looked sparkly and shiny on the paper. My daughter has glitter crayons, and they’re pretty cool, but the metallic ones still suck.

    I loved this post, by the way. You are a damn good writer lady. I’m a little jealous :D

    Are you doing ok?

  2. It’s funny that you say that. I initially picked gold to write about as my least favorite crayon (rather than cornflower). All the metallics were disappointing, but if I had to pick one, silver was probably the best of the bunch. Maybe that’s because I’m biased toward silver as a metal.

    Glitter crayons?!?!? I have to look into buying some for myself. I am such a sucker for all things sparkly.

    Thanks for the compliment. I’m hanging in…today is finally seeing some improvement. Take care.

  3. Kevin Olsen

    This is an outstanding article.

    I love it when people pour themselves into the abstract, the details that are thrown aside by the passers-by. You have a great breadth of passion and the ability to communicate it.

    It makes me wish we could sit together under some “Cerulean” sky with the “Dandelion” sun on our backs, and “Shamrock” grass between our toes, coloring the afternoon away.

  4. Dearest Kevin…you tug at the strings of my heart. Dandelion is yet another excellent crayon! You captured perfectly the essence of innocence that I feel when I color. (Yes, I still color.)

    I have been exploring your site a little since you dropped by here a few days ago, and you are an inspiring writer. I definitely want to listen to your music when I get home to where I have a computer with speakers. What kind of “strings” do you play besides guitar?

  5. Kevin Olsen

    I play the violin. It was my first love. It’s easier to make a living/entertain with a guitar (if you run in my cirlces), but the violin is so majestic, so beautiful, so fragile and yet so powerful.

    I love all of the stringed instruments! Though I can’t play it, I’m a sucker for the hammer dulcimer too. :-)

  6. Kevin…

    I’m jealous that your initials are ‘KO.’ I’ve made a meager few bucks from strumming the guitar at retreats or youth conferences. Once in a while, we used to go downtown, open our guitar cases, play a few songs, and treat a homeless person or two to dinner with the sympathy money we were thrown. I miss those days. A number of my cousins play the hammered dulcimer (that whole Irish thing…although it’s originally a Persian instrument). I mostly stick to piano.

    By the way…I’m listening to your demo songs…very cool. I especially like ‘Forever Apart’…such sad lyrics!

  7. Kevin Olsen

    The WaLL JuMPeRs were far more successful with our first lead singer. Nathan was amazing, but it was his time to move on. Fortunately the remaining Jumpers couldn’t let go so easily. Being the “granddaddy” of sorts, I was nominated to take the lead. It had nothing to do with my voice (my first guitarist has a great, rough timbre), only my passion. I love to write, and I love to put my writing into songs. That love fed my love for the band, which fed my love for the performance.

    I can say my voice has improved over the years, and our songs have too. I’m not even allowed to put our newest recordings on Pure Volume yet (legalities), but I’m chomping over here to do it. “Forever Apart” was written YEARS ago. I’m talking, like in 2001 or 2002! Still, they can’t stop me from recording some acoustic tracks and uploading them to my WordPress.

    Why are you jealous of my initials? Do you like boxing? :-)

    I’d love to hear you play the piano sometime. The piano (as anyone who’s anyone knows :-) is a stringed instrument, so it ranks very high on my favorite list.

    Have a beautiful, clean day.

  8. Rhea, I stumbled upon your site this morning during my ritual of postponing activity. I have to admit that your picture initially drew me to your site, it’s artfully sexy. I soon found myself drawn into beautifully colored familiar pictures. I am in awe of how you can turn distressful situations into clear images. I have a hard time staying within the lines while coloring with words. I am intrigued how easy it is for me to paint by numbers within your coloring book. I think I have found yet another addiction in your concise honesty.

  9. Hi ktrain…you paint an intriguing picture with your words. I’m glad you enjoyed my coloring book. :)

  10. c.a. leibow

    God bless it and god damn it. Crayons are a thing that helps me keep my sanity. I steal them from resteraunts and it makes me snicker as I draw. Thank you rhea.

  11. c.a., you’re welcome. :)

  12. :D this post make my day!! i fuck love crayons!

  13. Anonymous

    they are amazin! i love them. i want some.

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  15. Anonymous

    strange strange strange!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  16. Alex

    I am doing a research project of crayons and this site is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  17. Fernanda

    This post made my day. I had a discussion with someone today about crayons, and this just answered all my questions…THANKS!!!

  18. I wish I would find them in stores

  19. Pingback: » What does Creativity Mean to You? :: Positive Space :: The Graphic Design Blog • Webliography

  20. Joann

    I named a crayon a few years back. Crayola had a contest on their website and my claim to fame is Illuminating Emerald…the new metallic crayons kick ass…..

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