Louise Olsen on Colour

Published:  September 10, 2012
Heath Killen
Louise Olsen on Colour

“He who wishes to become a master of color must see, feel, and experience each individual color in its endless combinations with all other colors.” — Johannes Itten (The Art of Colour)

Colour is a vital ingredient in design, and there are few designers in Australia with a more unique and masterful command of colour than Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy at Dinosaur Designs.

The designers have recently launched Sorbet, a luscious new collection featuring a palette of “pastel hues of pink, blush, lilac, green, blue and biscuit with unexpected gold and terracotta tones”

Today Louise Olsen will share some of her thoughts on colour, the development of the Sorbet palette, and how she finds and catalogues different hues. Tomorrow Stephen Ormandy will share some further thoughts on the subject in relation to his paintings.

Louise Olsen

Where did your love of colour begin, and how has your use of colour has developed?
I’ve always been drawn to colours and the relationships between them, it’s been a passion of mine since childhood. Growing up in a household with both my parents being artists meant I was always surrounded by colour, it’s a constant adventure for me.

Sorbet Resin Bowls & Vases

Sorbet Resin Ball Bowls

Where do you find inspiration for colour, and how do you collect and catalogue ideas for palettes?
I find inspiration in so many different forms, through travel, nature & art. I have a large pin-board in my office where I keep inspiration for upcoming collections, I find it allows me to play with the relationships between colour and form. I also like Pinterest for storing digital inspirations, I can spend hours looking through all the different images and colours.

Sorbet is an extremely sensory collection. The colours are soft, but the effect they have is powerful – you can almost taste them. I’d love to know if that’s the kind of reaction you were hoping for, and what initially inspired you to design this range?
It was the reaction we were hoping for, it’s wonderful to see what happens to the vibrant colours of fruit like watermelon, raspberry, apple and mint when you make sorbet. The pure pigment is transformed and softened by the churning and freezing. This process was a key inspiration for the color palette.

There’s a gentleness to the palette which creates harmony with the shapes and forms of the pieces. We played with colour and created unexpected combinations that we are really excited by.

Sorbet Resin Servers

Sorbet Resin Bangles

What was the process for creating the Sorbet palette? Where did you find these colours, and how are they mixed and made for production?
We were originally inspired by the subtle still life paintings of Italian painter Giorgio Morandi and the wonderful tonality of his palette which he uses to depict simple everyday objects in a humble and remarkable way. We were fascinated by the hints of unexpected colour – the pale coral tones that lift the other tones. It’s always a challenge to achieve the colour we want when making pieces by hand -it’s like pouring paint – we know we’re going to get something very close to what weenvisioned but there’s always a human element to the finished piece. It’s encapsulated in the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi where there’s perfection in imperfection.

What are some of the places you’ve visited, or works you’ve seen, that have had a profound impact on your feelings for and understanding of colour.
Bali, New York and Paris have all inspired my relationship with colour, and artists like Morandi, Ellsworth Kelly, Matisse, Rothko, Morris Louis and Anish Kapoor have all had an effect on how I see, and work with colour.

Sorbet Resin Gelato Spoons

Dinosaur Designs – Sorbet Collection

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  1. Pingback: Stephen Ormandy on Colour | desktop

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