Working towards a definition of nuance

In Japanese embroidery the coloured silks are selected so that no single colour stands out from the other colours in the composition.  Great use is made of cords; these are woven from tiny hanging knots that are almost invisible to the eye.   Embroiderers begin by learning to make the different coloured cords, each of which incorporates several differently coloured silks.  These multifarious cords will bind many things in the embroidered composition, from Japanese robes to drums.

Leaves are embroidered using various shades of green which creates an appearance of being three dimensional.  As the viewer shifts position the light catches the surface of the silken threads and each colour changes tone with the light.

White threads:






Careful choices are made.  An embroiderer told me that the colours must coalesce.  If this is coalescence, what is nuance?  Nuance, I think, is quite subtle.   It is not like disjuncture –  which is when things don’t fit together; separated and being uneven.  Nuance is just a slightly different beat, a slightly different resonance.  There is no breaking up; things can still exist side by side or remain integrated.  There can be simultaneity and coherence.


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