Have you ever found yourself on Instagram scrolling and then one image catches your eye? It makes you stop and want to check out who this person is? That’s what happened to me when I came across an image of a pair of legs poking out from under the bed in striped black and white tights and red shoes. It was like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz had landed! And this was my introduction to the colour lover Joanne Hardcastle – foster carer and lover of colourful and quirky interiors. Isn’t this image just the best – it just makes me smile! You are in for a colourful treat. Over to Joanne on the Colour Couch to find out more…
What is your earliest colour memory?
I was a child in the 70s, I remember being surrounded by orange and brown and really vivid floral patterns. I used to collect paint sample charts, and I can still remember the names, I love the Windsor blue and signal box red! I also used to love getting a brand-new box of 64 Crayola crayons for Christmas. I can imagine the smell now, and I loved the names of the colours were given; periwinkle, melancholy, blue green which was different to green blue, apricot. There were three metallic crayons in the collection to a gold silver and a bronze. I used to love arranging them in colour order. I can remember being given coloured pencils in junior school too, I always loved the one called golden brown, and I think about it whenever I hear the Stranglers record!
What does colour mean to you?
Colour excites me and I love to be surrounded by it. I am drawn to patterns, sparkly and glittery things. I always wear colourful clothes and my house is a riot of colour too. I notice colour all around me, in the sky, in nature (I love seeing how different colours work together). I love standing out and being noticed and I always want to be different and I suppose colour helps me with that.
Do you have a favourite colour or a colour that you find yourself constantly drawn to? And why?
Automatically I would say pink, I love pastel colours and I love bright pink too. I love red and recently I found myself being drawn towards green which the colour I’ve never really liked before. I would always choose the brightest most vibrant option if there was a choice. I am currently trying to choose a new car and the stumbling block is always the colour because I don’t want a boring one, it’s got to stand out.
Do you have a colour that you least like? And why?
I suppose it’s got to be brown. I wonder why I don’t like it, do I see it as old-fashioned because it’s the colour of my childhood? It was also the colour of my school uniform. I would never wear brown now, or decorate anywhere brown.
What do you think your life would be like without colour?
I suppose I used colour to reflect my personality, I am quite loud and outgoing, and I do like to be noticed. I find environments which are grey and beige very boring. So I suppose a life without colour would mean I would find it difficult to express myself, how would I express myself? I wonder if my personality would change: would I be louder to be noticed, or would it make me quieter? I’m not sure.
Were you ever afraid or wary of colour? And what did you do to overcome this?
When we first bought our house it was such a big house I was frightened to use colour. I knew the things that I thought would have to last me a long time so I thought neutral colours such as cream. The house just looked stark and empty. Eventually I plucked up courage to paint one room dark grey and put a bright red sofa in there. This gave me the confidence to move forward and be far more adventurous with my decor choices.
Do you have a favourite colour place that you visit (or have visited)?
I am lucky enough to live in West Yorkshire, we have an abundance of beautiful art galleries here. The first place I’m going to tell you about is the 1853 gallery in Saltaire, just thinking about it makes my stomach fizz. It’s such a beautiful space, the gallery is in the mill which is part of a world Heritage site. You walk in through some heavy industrial doors and the space attacks all your senses at once, there is loud opera music playing, there are always vases and vases of lilies with the heady aroma, but the best bit Is that art. It is full too, bursting with original David Hockney work, his use of colour inspires me. The vast scale of it! Once I was even lucky enough to meet him there.
The second place is the Yorkshire sculpture park. I love being outside, and the art in this space is incredible. Specifically the colour aspect would have to be in the underground gallery, they have some amazing installations there. My favourite one ever was called seizure, by Robert Hionrs. He poured copper sulphate solution into a bedsit which was being demolished, he filled the flat completely and left it to crystallise. You can walk inside this flat and the colour of the copper sulphate crystals is just stunning, I’m getting excited thinking about it again!
For anyone afraid of colour what would your number 1 piece of advice be?
I wonder why people are afraid of colour? Are they just trying to blend in and not stand out? I am sure there is a way most people can use colour, and the more you use it the more used to it you will get.
Which colourful person do you most admire and would love me to interview for the On the Colour Couch series?
Siobhan at @interiorcurve. She has amazing orange hair, she is a feast for the eyes!
I just love the question Joanne asks, “So I suppose a life without colour would mean I would find it difficult to express myself, how would I express myself? I wonder if my personality would change: would I be louder to be noticed, or would it make me quieter?” I know when I wore a lot of black in my corporate days, it was like I had built a wall of protection. I held a lot of my personality back. Now I wear the colours that suit my personality and I’m able to as Joanne says, express myself. Have you noticed this for yourself?
If you would like to discover more about Joanne, head over to her instagram @hardcastletowers
And if you would love some help to reignite your colour confidence, you can download the first chapter of my book – The Little Book of Colour for free.
Wishing you a colourful day,