I met Amber Lily at this year’s New Designers, the premier exhibition where graduating UK design students have the opportunity to showcase their creativity, ingenuity and their vision for the future of design. I was one of the judges for the Colour in Design Awards (CIDA) and Amber Lily was our award winner. As with the previous years’ winners, I invited Amber Lily to share her love of colour.
What do you think your life would be like without colour?
My life without colour would be very dull. My practice is based around colours and how they react with one another, how they contrast and complement each other. Without colour, I could not set a mood within my pieces. There would be no pops of colour that my pieces need. I also use colour to convey the sense of place that my pieces are based on, and without that, that would be meaningless.
Were you ever afraid or wary of colour? And what did you do to overcome this?
I was afraid of bright colours in my first two years of university. I always felt they looked tacky when I tried to use them, however, now I have researched colour and proportion more extensively I can say it comes down to how you use them. I had gotten stuck using neutrals, which I still adore, however there was a whole world of hot pinks, lime greens and electric blues waiting for me to discover. This was all part of my colour journey. This means I now feel confident using neutrals and bright colours. I was pushed out of my comfort zone by my tutor to begin using bright colours. At first I was nervous, but looking back, this was a pivotal point in my practice and I am grateful my tutor recognised I needed this encouragement. Researching Josef Albers and his colour charts, I now create my own which enables me to proportion my palettes, so the colours are balanced.
Do you have a favourite colour or a colour that you find yourself constantly drawn to? And why?
Green is a colour I am always drawn to. I started a lot of my practice focusing on the natural environment so green was always prominent. I think green can fit in any colour palette, from khaki, to olive, to neon or lime. I think it has so much range and can really pull a palette together. I am constantly wearing green also; I just think it will complement anything! I do really love pink too. Hot pinks within my pieces just pop so nicely and contrast well with other colours, I never think you can have enough pink.
What’s your favourite colour story?
My favourite colour story would be that I think it is quite a funny coincidence that I happen to have such a passion for colour and my name is the colour amber. It’s like it was built in from the beginning and it was my destiny. Although my favourite colour is not amber, which is a shame!
Do you have a colour that you least like? And why?
A colour I have always hated is red. I just thought it was an obnoxious, angry, and an alarming colour, and therefore do not own anything red as I’ve always avoided it. But recently, I have become drawn to it. In the project I’m currently working on I have decided to include it, and I have to say I am enjoying building my relationship with red. I think I am definitely going to stop avoiding it and including it in more of my pieces.
For anyone afraid of colour what would your number 1 piece of advice be?
Coming from someone who was once afraid of colour, I can say that you just need to use it and don’t think too much about the end point. Experiment, collage, layer, mix medias, yarn wrap, colour studies, whatever. It Isn’t that serious; you might find a combination you love. Not everything is final, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, colour is fun, and you can try and try again!
So all Amber Lily needed was a bit of encouragement and her love for colour blossomed! I just love that. And she’s so right when she says “it isn’t that serious… colour is fun”. I find it’s easier when you come from a fun, curious mindset. Really to explore and experiment.
Wishing you a colourful day,
Also on Series 4 Interior Design Masters was Joanne Hardcastle whose Colour Couch interview you can read over here.
YesColours co-founder Emma Bestley’s Colour Couch interview is over here.
You can find out more about Decorex over here.
BBC Interior Design Masters is over here.