Playing with words, Judith Toms translated some industrial pallets into an artist's palette
I’m taking a huge liberty here in showcasing an impromptu work of art by one of our regular letter-writers to the South Wales Echo, Judith Toms of Aberdare.
I edit the Viewpoints page and every day I have the problem of finding a main picture to illustrate the double-page spread. Often it is a nostalgia picture submitted by a reader or found in our own archives. Sometimes I use a recent picture to illustrate a letter about a controversy.
But on days when I am running short of pictures, Judith always keeps me going by sending something that has struck her as interesting and from which she has created an artwork. This pair of pictures (above and below) particularly amused me. They went into our Viewpoints page on Monday, March 8.
Spotting some old wooden transport pallets with unusually attractive colouring, Judith photographed them and then went one step further and made a work of art out of it, on the theme of translating a pallet into a painter’s palette, a play on words.
Which brings me to palette, pallet and palate. Here are the definitions (and etymology) from Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary, 1972 edition, which gives them a certain quaint quality 40 years later…
PALETTE: a little board with a thumb-hole on which a painter mixes his colours : the assortment or range of colours used by a particular artist or for any particular picture : a plate against which one leans in working a drill : a small plate covering a joint in armour, especially at the armpit (French, from the Italian palette, from pala, Italian and Latin for a spade)
PALLET (1): a palette : a flat wooden tool with a handle, as that used for shaping pottery : a flat brush for spreading gold-leaf : a tool for lettering book-bindings : in a timepiece, surface or part on which teeth of escape wheel act to give impulse to the pendulum or balance : a disk of a chain-pump : a valve of an organ wind-chest, regulated from the keyboard : a board for carrying newly-moulded bricks : a piece of wood built into a wall for the nailing on of joiner-work : a platform or tray for lifting or stacking goods, used with the fork-lift truck, and having a double base into which the fork can be thrust (same etymology as palette)
PALLET (2): a mattress, or couch, properly a mattress of straw : a small or mean bed (French dialect word paillet, diminutive of French word paille, meaning straw, from Latin palea, meaning chaff)
PALATE: the roof of the mouth, consisting of the hard palate in front and soft palate behind : the prominent part of the lower lip that closes the tube of a personate corolla (botany) : sense of taste: relish: mental liking : ability to appreciate the finer qualities of wine, etc (from Latin palatum)
Judith Toms' original photograph of abandoned pallets outside one of the industrial units at Hirwaun, near Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales
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