I wondered this week about why cutting mats are always green. Perhaps manufacturers initially conducted visibility studies and their results determined that nine out of ten cutting mats, for the rest of time, should be made in Oppressive Green. However, personally I'd be willing to live with the struggle to see my fabrics/cutting lines/fingers for a variety of colours to choose from. Generally, when I take my sewing tools from a drawer, I feel warmth, fondness and familiarity, but I realised recently that when I take a cutting mats out I feel slightly heavy-hearted - their dour, singular colouring oppressing my enthusiastic sewing soul. I should say re: the photo above, I've actually unwittingly chosen the one photo from my entire archives where the cutting mat goes amazingly with the fabric.
So, I took it upon myself to do some research this evening, in case you're left feeling a little damp-spirited at the sight of the standard issue cutting mats.
Annie, from the Village Haberdashery, volunteered that she has some limited edition Olfa mats in purple at her shop in London and she loaded them onto her site for us to see. You can snaffle one up here!
I found this mat at Minerva. It's still green, but it's a long way from being Oppressive Green. It's made by Clover, which is a brand that I adore. Everything they make seems to be so perfectly designed (apart from the rotary cutter which you can see in the photo at the top of this post - that's the only one of their products that I've ever disliked). This mat comes in three sizes.
Next is this double-sided mat made by Fiskars (you may be most familiar with them for their orange-handled scissors). I'm imagining this probably looks much better in real life than these images suggest, as I think I've spotted this mat in one of Laurie Wisbrun's photos looking really quite lovely. I like that this mat offers a choice of colour each time you use it. It's available from John Lewis in two sizes.
The next mat I found is a beautiful pink one. It comes in one relatively small size, approximately 12in x 8in. You can find it here for an impressive £4.99
Below is a very small circular mat (picture is my own). It's meant to rotate for easy cutting, but I don't find it much quicker, as it requires too much pressure to move it, so I just use it as a regular cutting mat. However, it's a small mat that's perfect for cutting on the move, on the sofa or, erm, in bed late at night (yes, really), because it has such a solid base that you don't need to place it on a hard surface to use it, so I'm quite delighted by it, despite not using it as intended. Find one here.
The next mat is made by Gingher. Sigh. So lovely. This is one of my favourites. Unfortunately, you'd currently need to import it through Amazon UK, and ask for it to be sent over from the States.
They're made by a Korean company called Iswas and I want the three mats at the front so much that the wantyness manifests itself almost as a physical pain. In my heart. Although ridiculously, it's partly because I like the way they look as a group, I'm not sure they'd be as thrilling in isolation. These mats are actually translucent and I'm sure there's probably a usefulness to that, but it doesn't leap out at me. If you are brave enough to risk the possible customs charges, you can find them here. Do you think it would disturb you a little to cut on a translucent mat directly over a carpet? (Do you see what I've done there? I've talked myself from wanty heartache, to leave-that-mat-in-Korea, all in the space of two sentences! I think that's my version of will power).
If you know of any other colours, a reason for the predominance of Oppressive Green or just want to squeal with delight that there actually other colours in existence, please do so in the comments. Or maybe you're thinking: No, this is ALL wrong. I am not delighted. Cutting mats should be green.
UPDATE: I just wanted to add in this beauty that Lindsey Glew mentioned in the comments. I think this may be my favourite one yet. It's Oppressive Green on one side, but beautiful sky blue on the other. It comes in four sizes and you can find it here. Thank you so much, Lindsey!