April 20, 2021

A Colorful Life: The Colors that Inspire My Life & Creativity

By Camilla Emond
A Colorful Life: The Colors that Inspire My Life & Creativity
I found I could say things with colors and shapes I couldn't say any other way - Georgia O'Keeffe

Early Beginnings

Ever since I could dress myself, make a home for my family, design and create, colors have become a definitive part of my life and it continues to be so. In interior design school, the mediums of colors & space was one of my favorite subjects in how it can completely change one’s surroundings. I'm known to paint a room 5 different times until I get “right.”

forest flowers

Inspired by My Heritage

As a little girl growing up in Scandinavia, my grandmothers taught me about colors from an early beginning. I remember my Norwegian grandmother, Vesla, with her Fair Isle sweaters, bold and bright, my Swedish grandmother, Ninna’s, bohus knit patterns subdued and awe-inspiring ombre designs. Two different Scandinavian styles that weathered the cold, wintery days. Warm colors are some of my favorites because the warmth my grandmothers made me feel with their knits.

Houses in Bergen, Norway are painted in warm orange, reds, blues and greens while typical houses in Sweden are “Falu red” or mustard yellow with white trim. Color in Scandinavia Is a very important part of their design, the design can be simple but the color makes it come alive...just take Marimekko for example.

table runner knit

Some of My Favorites

To name all of my favorite colors would be an impossible task, however, here are just a few that I use frequently: orange, mustard yellow, fuchsia, cranberry red, turquoise, indigo, lime green, emerald green, lavender and pink. 

Colorful threads

My mom used to say that red and pink don’t go together - color is subjective like art, red and pink are actually one of my favorite pairings. I find color so personal; it either uplifts my mood, makes me crazy, invigorates energy, or calms me… 

Color is to the eye what music is to the ear - Louis Comfort Tiffany

The environment offers a gracious plenty of color inspiration - just look to nature and you'll find the most exquisite colorscapes. Sometimes, the deeper you look, the greater appreciation you will have for colors, tones and nature’s textures. For example, when I explore Utah’s red rocks, the orange and red hues against the blue sky invigorate and inspire ways to contrast colors in a beautiful and natural way.

mossy rock with ice

The Changing Seasons

I am very fortunate to live in Montana where we have four definitive seasons to delight in (you could even argue that there are six with the shoulder seasons between autumn and springtime). However, we Montanans also have our fair share of grey and dreary days...that's when I turn to Jaipur- known as the “pink city” in India. Jaipur’s vibrant, bustling city ignites in color that is so very unique which transports me... daring me to be “color brave” and bold. Maybe travel to Peru - their colorful dyed yarns and woven textiles give me that kick-in-the-pants, which suggests to me that I should try something unexpected. Or Japan, with their cherry blossoms, invisible esthetic gardens, and kimonos for a little mindful inspiration. The colors of the world are so joyful and boundless. I continually seek to explore new places around the world for color inspiration - it is endless and bountiful.

glacial lake in montana

Summer days - hiking in the mountains of Montana, blue sky, green mountains and meadows, fuchsia of fireweed, turquoise glacial lakes... bright and happy. 

Fall days-  foraging with my grandfather in the deep green forest in Sweden, picking orange chanterelle - steering clear of the vibrant red and white toadstool mushrooms, while walking on soft emerald green moss. Picking, red Lingonberries, blueberries and occasionally yellow amber cloudberries - familiar and cozy.

yellow moss on rock

Today

In my block printing I sometimes lay out a colorscape of warm and cold tones i.e blues and browns, but I also like the element of surprise and use whatever colors I feel that day and see what comes of that. Sometimes ugly….sometimes brilliant, yet it is the process of discovering and trying that I get enjoyment from. It is a continual process, and eventually, I discover the right recipe for that specific design.

Colorful block prints

During the holidays it's time to celebrate the richness of life, the traditions and memories that make it all so special. We are fond of red and green in Scandinavia gathered from our berries and bows- it's simple, but it speaks Christmas. My "juletid" prints reflect that season by emphasizing these colors in my work. The Valentines prints are mostly the traditional heart theme symbolizing love… and yes, pink and red hues- a nod to my mother and memory of her.

fjord west fabrics

Color makes life beautiful - Camilla, Fjord West Studio

Fjord West Studio logo

 

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