myfroghashat on KINKFINITY.NET / Twitter

Previously when MasterMarc and I spoke (click here to read the article), we briefly touched on my forays into color, particularly how I was processing and developing my own custom color rope.  My literal rainbow of rope is something that for years I went without, and to be clear, natural fiber can produce beautiful bondage, as exemplified by ropers and riggers around the world.  Indeed, some of my favorite bondage scenes have been in solid, natural-color hemp, and lately natural-color hemp has actually had a resurgence in my scenes.  But ever since embarking down the path of colored rope it has changed the way I think about designing bondage, and while not for every instance, my dyed hemp offers me an option I would never want to again be without.

“Discovering” color

My rope of choice is hemp, a natural-fiber rope known for its strength, its durability, and its texture, and which beautifully hold tight knots.  It is spun from the long stem fibers of industrial hemp, and unprocessed hemp rope is a soft grey-ish beige-y shade, for lack of a better comparison.  Unlike synthetic ropes made from plastics or other polymers where the individual strands can be manufactured in any color, hemp fibers can only be grown in their natural shade, and to introduce color into hemp requires that the hemp be dyed, much like cotton or linen or silk.  Naturally, then, as a hemp user, all of my bondage early work took on the hues of the natural fiber itself.

My inspirations for venturing into the world of producing and using my own colored hemp derived from the prevalence of color in the kinky world, but the relative absence thereof in rope.  Everyone can match red with fisting, yellow with watersports, black with S&M, gray with bondage, blue with sex, and so on.  In many ways, the queer kink/fetish gestalt has been defined by its embrace of color through literally flagging one’s sexual identity.  Even more so, the queer kink/fetish world identifies itself to the world through colorful symbols such as the various LGBT+ pride flags, and various kink-specific flags such as the leather pride, rubber pride, and bear pride flags (not to mention countless others).  And yet, the rope work I was seeing was completely devoid of color, to me a clear dissonance, as the rope world seemingly held itself apart from the vivid and rich color stories of the community in which the bondage form was situated.

Then I stumbled on stunning works of art from kinksters whose work was foundational to my development as a roper, and they had colored rope.  I saw these vibrant, dynamic pictures of fantastically bound gorgeous men from ropers whose work I admired and strove to emulate.  I figured, if these amazingly talented guys could take advantage of color, why not me as well?

But there were two significant problems.  First, I already had a significant amount of bondage hemp that I had painstakingly processed and finished myself so I could afford it on a student budget, and to add to that supply by purchasing colored rope would cost money I didn’t have at the time.  Second, and more importantly, what color???  Ever since I was a small child, I could never pick a favorite color; to now be asked to elevate one color above all others through bringing it into my monochromatic kink life?  Such indecision…

So, in what was becoming classic form, I decided to learn how to do it myself.  Somewhat ironically, the first color I dyed was black (hardly an escape from the monochromatic), but then followed red, blue, orange, pink, purple, yellow, green, and my signature rainbow gradient rope.  I could not be happier with my results.  To date, I’ve dyed around half a kilometer of rope, and have plans for much more.  Currently, I’m working on renovating my color collection, which means more dyeing for me.  And you can be certain, once it’s done, I plan to show off my new colors extensively!

The allure of color

At first blush, every length of rope I use is cut, processed, conditioned, and (if colored) dyed by me, so I feel a personal connection to my bondage medium every time I pull it out for a scene.  And I certainly love to see folks’ faces awash in awe and excitement when I pull out my mountain of hemp with every color of the rainbow and say, “sub’s choice, what’ll today’s palate be?”  The novelty also never wears off for me.  Further, because I so frequently mix and match colors, there’s always some new combination giving rise to an amazing design.

But it’s more than just that.  Color is contrast, complexity, complementary.  The use of color lets me build secondary shapes into my bondage through color patterning in ways that aren’t possible with natural-color hemp alone, allows me to play with light and dark in my bondage medium, and gives me access to warm and cool tones.  Color lets me breathe new life into familiar designs.  And it never hurts that mistakes stand out more in color and are thus easier to address before it’s too late.  In short, color provides added optionality and versatility to my hemp-laden universe.  And, ultimately, color photographs vibrantly, producing hotter photos and making my subs feel even sexier.

Color also allows me to imbue certain designs with added meaning, particularly when subs ask for color stories with personal significance, or that allows them to flag their kinks just like their harnesses, pup hoods, or other gear.  One of my favorite projects to date has been the completion of my rainbow rope.  As an out-and-proud gay kinkster, it brings me immense joy to literally be able to flag my pride in my kink.  It’s a small action on my part, using colorful rope instead of the natural hemp color in engaging in gay kink, but one that stamps my work as (i) undeniably queer; (ii) undeniably present;  (iii) undeniably visible; and (iv) utterly and fabulously gorgeous!

For me, coloring hemp is a way of showing further care, while also conveniently stoking my obsession.  Some of my favorite pictures will always be in solid, natural-color hemp, and to date I continue to do scenes using only my natural-color hemp.  There will always be a place for monochromatic and/or natural-color hemp work in my arsenal.  Monochrome is and will always be beautiful, timeless, and classic.  But I’ve surpassed mere sepia and been to the Land of Oz, and my most fantastical technicolor rope fantasies have become a reality.  As I continue to learn and develop as a roper, and develop more and more awesome colorful rope projects, you’ll be seeing in technicolor too.

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