My love for colour and its celebration in The Julia Brendel Textile Collection, came from my own heritage. It is a truth that we feel more comfortable with a pallet drawn from our own environment; the landscape, cultural places we grew up with and the like. Colour tastes can be such an individual thing, there should not be one rule for all.
Pink,Yellow and red colour combination
Although I was brought up in a communist country literally laminated with grey concrete, my family home was quite different. My Mum once said to me “There is no such thing as a wrong colour, there is only a colour in the wrong place”. And she celebrated it big time!
When I was about 22 years of age, my Mother decided to paint our entire house in a deep mustardy shade. This was a time when almost every interior in Poland was painted white! When I walked in and saw the decorator (Mr. Krzysiu, as we called him) on a ladder, I asked him if he was putting some anti-fungal treatment on the walls, as I could not believe my Mother- the rebel- would choose such a colour to live in. She had! She also had her antique sofa and armchairs upholstered in a beautiful pink Spanish fabric, which she bought for more than she earned.
Hot Pink and Yellow Gold colour combination featuring India Peela/Gold (curtains) and Hungarica Fuchsia/Red (chair upholstery)
The contrast was striking! And beautiful! Our visitors, family and friends were shocked coming to the house. Some absolutely loved it and quickly painted their own walls some strong colours, others…did not.
Not to labour the point, but a few years later, everyone’s homes were filled with coloured walls!
My mum was a strong influence but not the only one. Even during communist times, where a mix of grey and more grey ruled, I was in awe of colourful folk costumes, different in each region of my home country often represented at church processions and during official events. Skilfully embroidered colourful textiles made into clothes were a feast for my young eyes.
Photography By Wiola Wiaderek
Lowicz / Poland - June 15 2017: Procession during celebration of Corpus Christi holiday, people dressed in traditional Polish folk colorful costumes.
After working for years in the art and design industry, I have learnt that colour popularity changes with time and current fashion inspirations. What is a no-go today will be a yes, sooner or later, so it is only about what you want in your house and not about what is on the front pages of glossy magazines.
We all have our personal favourites, colours we feel good with and some, that are out of our comfort zone. What should really matter when planning our colour scheme is that we feel good in whatever we have planned. Visiting other places, friends’ homes, famous interiors, hotels or even restaurants is a really good starting point to see how far we can stretch ourselves. I strongly believe that it is vital to risk it a little bit from time to time in life and so it is, in designing our spaces… to surprise ourselves, to experience something new and exciting. It is like ordering a new flavour of ice cream instead of the usual one.
The collections of Julia Brendel textiles were inspired firstly by my Mum’s wisdom and her bravery to experiment.
Coming to cosmopolitan London, where streets were painted with a colourful patchwork of the World’s cultural heritage, inspired and fulfilled my hunger for something different and became a new colourful journey.
Further to that, my own travels gave me first hand experience of crazy and unexpected colour combinations that I have never experienced before. They broke all the very few rules I had and set my imagination free.
What also fascinates me is the meaning and symbolism that we associate with colours and how this meaning changes depending on were we are from. It is the truth that in some cultures and places on the globe, people are braver with colour usage than in others. It is often the landscape and nature but also the type of light that makes us used to certain pallets. In Africa there are even less words in the dictionary describing blues and greens and more vocabulary for different shades of reds, oranges and yellows, coming from the landscape.
The light plays a big role in how we see the colours. I remember my husband bringing some amazing dishes from Tunisia, only to find out that at home in England, the whole charm was gone. He said he thought they were more beautiful there… Our blue-grey British mist gives that filter to everything we see so we do often feel more comfortable in the muted, greyish, neutral colours than people from hotter countries. But that doesn’t predict what we should be using in our interiors. Colour can have a therapeutic role and lift our moods regardless what type of grey weather we might be seeing outside the window.
The meaning and the psychology of colour changes across the globe. What is viewed as a happy colour in one country, may be a symbol of death and mourning in another. Our associations with colours may be also based on our personal experience. Therefore, in my view, it is not easy to please all or to design a space that everyone will love. I think the best way is our own way!
The India fabric collection was designed in whole around colour and its meaning.
In India, colours play an important decorative and also symbolical role in everyday life.
Yellow epitomises sanctity, representing knowledge and acumen.
Pink is the colour of the beautiful city of Jaipur and stands for its hospitality.
Blue is the colour of rivers, seas and the sky. It is also associated with Krishna and other Indian Gods.
Green equates to the harvest or a new beginning and it is a manifestation of God. It also symbolises peace and happiness.
As Matisse once said: "Creativity takes courage". Let’s be brave with colour!
Practical tips when introducing a new colour you want but are afraid of:
1. When introducing a new strong colour a good idea is to try just a little bit before repainting the whole room. It can be an expensive mistake. Trying a colour on a long strip of paper and hanging it on a wall is an old but excellent trick. Introducing textiles in stages is another one. Buying some new sofa cushions, a throw for a bedroom or a new tablecloth for the dining room or a kitchen, can be a brilliant way to test the new colour. Gradually more of the colour can be added used in blinds, curtains or re-upholstered furniture.
2. Introducing strong contrasts and colours which “don’t go together” can be quite scary. But who said they don’t?! I used to be told that pink and red together are a no, no! If that was the truth, most Asian countries would have really bad taste… Saris, kimonos and painted silks all wrong? Bring your holiday colours home!
3. Also get your inspiration from Nature. She is the best artist and a designer to look up to. I always like to see what works in the garden in Flora’s World. It is important to have fun, to experiment and not to feel intimidated by a current trend.
4. Fabrics are a great way of introducing a new colour. It can be new curtains or a bold upholstered sofa in the middle of the room. It can be an expensive mistake if you don't like it, so order some fabric samples before you make your final decision!
5. Try different colour schemes for different rooms. If you can’t bring yourself to risk an orange lounge, the loo is, in my opinion, the safest place to have some real fun. Nobody will complain too much if it goes slightly crazy there.
6. Finally why not dress up in a pink skirt and an orange top. If you like it, do the same to your room. I feel a strong connection between the fashion and interiors industry. Often new trends appear parallel in both, not just in colours but also in motifs. Trying a new shade of scarf with our usual clothes, bright sandals or a top can be an inexpensive but a reliable indicator of our likes and dislikes.