August 18, 2017 § Leave a comment
We recently graduated 23 students from our Color Design Class that I teach near Seattle on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where we live and work. We want to share some highlights and reflections from the four-day class with you.
There were attendees from all over the U.S and Canada, a lovely lady from Pakistan and eight students from Seoul accompanied by their teacher who had taken the Color Design program three years ago and wanted to share the experience with some of her students and colleagues. This was the second year that she returned with a group. It’s really wonderful to have diverse and global perspectives represented in the class.
The program is taught at our local art museum, affectionately called BIMA (aka Bainbridge Island Museum of Art), a repository of some of the best work of Northwest artists. The museum is on the main street of the island, conveniently located near restaurants, shops and within easy walking distance of the water and the ferry terminal. Its lush, colorful grounds and interiors make for the perfect setting for our class.
The attendees get to immerse themselves, not only in the color experience, but also in the beautiful scenery, gardens, island activities and most of all, the perfect natural lighting for viewing colors!
One of the highlights of the class is the group projects. Each group is given a creative challenge and they work together to come up with a product, color palette, color names and a rationale for their choices– and then they present them to the class. It’s fun and interactive — and very educational!
Another highlight is the Saturday night party I host at my home. We work hard during our four days together and this is an opportunity to celebrate and have fun together!
Below attendees are checking out my office – where the color magic happens!
As in years past, the group really gelled and we had a lot of fun together. Oftentimes, classmates keep in touch (which is especially easy these days with social media) and sometimes even end up working together in the future. Genuinely unique bonds are formed during this intensive class.
We so enjoyed the experience that we are going to repeat it for a winter program in early 2018. Stay tuned for further notice of the dates and location. Please visit www.LeatriceEiseman.com more information about the class.
If you would like to receive an email when we announce our winter class dates and location, please email email@example.com.
July 7, 2017 § 1 Comment
I have been aware of Yayoi (pronounced Ya-Yoy) Kusama’s work ever since doing research for one of my books, titled “PANTONE: the 20th Century in Color.” Her ebulliently colored work burst on the art scene in the U.S in the late 50’s and 60’s and her work has since been featured at many museums internationally including the Tate, MOMA, the Hirshhorn at the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago as well as in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, South Korea and Japan.
I was delighted to see that her work was coming to the Seattle Art Museum this summer. I attended the show with two of my associates, Melissa Bolt and Amy Anderson, and we were all fascinated by what we saw. It is not easy to describe the exhibition as it is so unique and beyond colorful!
There are six rooms that are part of the exhibition called Infinity Mirrors. There are several installations that reflect light and color in a dazzling kaleidoscopic array, while another space shows her stuffed fabric tubers. One of Yayoi’s most iconic shapes is the polka dot and there are two rooms featuring the dots.
Visitors are provided with colorful dot stickers to affix to any of the surfaces in the Obliteration Room—certainly an interactive and playful installation.
In addition to polka dots, Yayoi is fixated on pumpkins. The SAM gallery guide explains the attraction as a “frequent motif in her work, recalling fairytales and fantasies.” In her autobiography titled “Infinity Net” she explains why they were an important theme in her art., describing the first time she ever saw a pumpkin when on a trip with her grandfather to seed harvesting grounds.
“Here and there along a path between fields of zinnias, periwinkle and nasturtiums I caught glimpses of the yellow flowers and the fruit of pumpkin vines.” She further explains that when she stopped for a closer look she saw a pumpkin the size of a man’s head. She says: “I parted the row of zinnias and reached in to pluck the pumpkin from its vine. It immediately began speaking to me in a most animated manner. It was still moist with dew, indescribably appealing and tender to the touch.”
I learned through her book that believing the pumpkins spoke to her was not an unusual occurrence. If you want to learn more about this very complex, controversial and talented artist, read her autobiography. Better yet, try to immerse yourself in one of her traveling exhibitions—it’s worth the wait!
At the end of the exhibit, we enjoyed a video interview with the artist in which she seeks to explain her purpose and her art.
The exhibit runs through Sept. 10. Tickets are sold out online but a limited number of timed tickets will be available on site at the museum for same-day entry on a first-come, first-served basis.
June 27, 2017 § Leave a comment
Whether I am travelling around the world or closer to home, I am intrigued by the colorful originality in window displays, at street fairs, on store fronts and in display cases.
I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.
Some are quirky, funny, downright silly, or upscale and sophisticated.
However, they all show that creativity is endless— there is talent everywhere!!
Where do you find your inspiration?
May 17, 2017 § Leave a comment
Hello color lovers!
I joined Instagram last week and I’d love for you to follow along for a daily dose of color.
I’ll be sharing color trends imagery, inspirations from my travels, behind the scenes in the world of color, and more.
Follow along @leatriceeiseman.
Let me know if you’re on Instagram so I can follow you too.
P.S. I’d also love to see you on Facebook!
May 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
We are still sorting through our 1,271 images gathered at and around Salone del Mobile in Milan last month. It is a huge furnishings show held annually at Fiera, a complex containing more than 20 adjoining football field-size halls. In addition, the Brera design district in the heart of Milan and a host of locations around the city mount fabulous exhibits.
There is a lot of walking and schlepping around involved, so naturally, the first and most important consideration for attendance at the show is the selection of shoes we will wear! We have learned to opt for comfort because of the 15,000 steps as recorded on my assistant Melissa’s Fit Bit.
It can be slow going navigating through the thousands of people attending the show from all over the world.
We are always looking for evidence of Pantone’s Color of the Year, and this year’s color, Greenery, was in evidence—many show participants got the memo, not only in product, but also in design of exhibit spaces.
We saw many variations on the shade that captured the essence of the color family.
We begin our walking and photographing in the Satellite, the area where new designers show what prove to be very innovative usages of technology, materials, and, of course, color. There is a fresh sense of fun and adventure coming from students and budding entrepreneurs. Here are some favorites that caught our eye.
After the Satellite, we walk through each hall taking photos that we feel show interesting and intriguing products and settings. We are especially en pointe for new presentations of color and color combinations. Here is a taste of what we saw.
It’s always a thrill to return to Milan for this fabulous show.
Ciao for now!
April 2, 2017 § Leave a comment
The International Home and Housewares show is one of our favorite destinations every March. This show is not just about potato peelers, that is for sure. There are some fabulous new products presented every year, from kitchen appliances (including glamorous espresso makers), to tabletop, (both elegant and casual), to wellness products, and hundreds of other items.
It is held at McCormick Place in Chicago, one of my favorite venues for its beautifully staged ballroom decorated with plants or floral arrangements and special lighting to reflect the Pantone color of the year. This year it was decorated with plants, most appropriate to “Greenery.” There were many of my color friends in the audience, some of whom have not missed a show since I first started to speak there 19 years ago!
Bridget Frizee of Kehoe Design in Chicago, Lee Eiseman, Melissa Bolt
Melissa Bolt, my associate, went with me. I am forever grateful for the design and imagery she puts together, including the arrangement of the colors that show the origin and direction of the eight color palettes for home that I presented for 2018. Large boards showing the forecasted palettes are also mounted in the Lakeside area of McCormick, each one complete with coordinating products in display cases.
We enjoy looking at some of the displays for new products that are also mounted at the show. This year one of the winners was Nicole Norris, a college student who designed a new ironing board. We certainly do see that as a winning idea!
On the first day for my keynote, I was introduced by Perry Reynolds, Vice President of Marketing and Trade Development, my good buddy, who is retiring and his cheery personality will be sorely missed. On the second day, I was introduced by Vicky Matranga, another delightful friend, who is Design Programs Coordinator for IHA where she manages the Student Design Competition and the Housewares Design Awards, coordinates displays, and organizes the DesignTheater and design-related events for the annual show. Vicky is also a collector of housewares items with an attic full of the products that grandma would have thought very high tech in her day (such as waffle irons and steam irons and Waring Blendors (yes, it is spelled with an “o”— a bit of a branding technique in those days.)
Many of you asked where my necklace came from. I recently discovered a local (Seattle) jewelry artist named Melanie Brauner for Verso www.versojewelry.com. What a talent!
February 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
This is the third and final installment on my trip to Asia. The first two stops were in Seoul and then to Shanghai, and the following images were taken on my last stop in Tokyo.
When my presentation was finished in Tokyo, my friend and colleague, Maryann Wong from Hong Kong, and I made our way over a bridge to the Shinjuku area to visit Takashimaya, as it had always been one of my favorite stores when they had branches in Los Angeles and New York.
Interestingly, the area around the square in Tokyo was called Times Square—a very different Times Square than the New York location!
Pictures of flower arrangements on display in front of a department store.
The colors and designs of various flower displays caught my eye immediately as they were so artfully done.
When we went into the store, we saw some equally colorful displays. I am always drawn to the housewares department. (As you may know, I speak at the International Housewares Show every year.) These tea cozies caught my eye–they certainly could fit into a palette inspired by Pantone’s color of the year—Greenery!
What truly interested me was the fabric department. It reminded me of the time when there were fabric departments in our stores. Japanese women still enjoy sewing, and these images of traditional kimonos were part of the inspirational display. All of the fabrics were available for sale.
Displays also showed the usage of fabric on handbags and zoris, the traditional sandal. Color coordination is very important in Japanese design.
The furniture department displayed a chair that I could have happily purchased, but the shipping costs are a bit high (and it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase!) Interestingly, the fabric on this chair is right on-trend, not only in its fabulous color story and combination, but in the use of the triangles in the patterning, as well.
The final evening in Tokyo, our hosts took us to yet another fantastic restaurant, one that specializes in blowfish, so that every part of the meal, including appetizer, salad, soup, and main course (although not dessert), featured some sort of blowfish prepared in a different way.
As you might know, blowfish is a delicacy, but certain parts of the fish can be toxic, so they must be handled with care. Obviously, the restaurants are very cautious and they employ specially trained people who know what part to eat (or not). They certainly don’t want to lose their clientele!
As weird as it might sound to eat one specific food prepared in different ways—it was absolutely fabulous. All the prep was done at the table, fascinating to watch and then finally, to eat. It was a fitting end to a truly memorable trip.
January 12, 2017 § Leave a comment
This is the second installment in reporting on my recent trip to Asia. The first stop was in Seoul, South Korea, and from there I went to Shanghai, China. It was my second visit to this vast city of more than 14 million people. The view from my 25th floor hotel room revealed many tall buildings,
but interestingly on this visit I noticed that “pocket parks” were popping up—a good thing for adding some oxygen to an environment where the smog reminded me of my early days in Los Angeles (now largely contained.)
Everyone told me that, with my interest in design, the Peace Hotel was a worthy place to visit, and it really was. It is filled with art deco references from the 20s–on the ceilings,
in the bas-reliefs on the walls,
and in every place the eye landed. There was a reminder of the time period when ladies always dressed glamorously, often changing three times in one day!
The hotel remains a perfect place for shooting films of that period and the lobby contains some of the original posters, including for Empire of the Sun and Shanghai Triad.
It was also a nightspot for dancing, dinner, and an evening of jazz.
As I looked around, I did recognize some of the architectural features I have seen of those period films. There was a more recent picture taken on the hotel stairway for Elle Magazine of a very svelte Amanda Seyfried in a gorgeous red gown, very appropriate to the setting.
I did have the opportunity to go to a street market that was filled with tiny boutique-like shops. It is always great fun to shop for treasures in these far-way places. But I have to say what I enjoyed most was seeing the displays of clothes for kids as they were fashionable, grown-up, and colorful. Special occasion clothing for kids is very important in Asia.
I did another trend presentation in Shanghai and it was another enjoyable experience. It is always fun for me to meet so many “creatives” from other parts of the world and representing a vast variety of color-related industries. The press is always well-represented, and in this audience, among many other press people, there was a team from the Chinese edition of Elle Décor. They were an enthusiastic group and very interested in the use of color.
Food is an ongoing feast in Asia and for me, a “pescatarian,” always something to look forward to as there are lots of delectable and healthy choices. More about that in my next installment….
December 26, 2016 § 1 Comment
After the release of the Pantone Color the Year (Greenery 15-0343, should you not know), I went to Asia to make the announcement in that part of the world. It was a terrific trip and, as always, people there are excited to learn about the new color as well as upcoming trends. The presentation that I do embraces international color and design trends, some of which come from Asia.
The first stop was Seoul, Korea, where I had a lovely arrangement of flowers awaiting me in my room. The floral arrangements are always so special and every year that I speak in Seoul (this is my sixth trip) the newest arrangement is more dramatic and unusual than the one that preceded it.
This year the flowers were arranged in a gift box. The box itself was decorated with a simple spray and a colorful ribbon and when the lid is opened, the arrangement appears. Beautiful and brilliant!!
I visited the offices of the Noroo Pantone Color Institute, where I participated in a videotaping.
I was then taken to a lovely lunch, on to a rehearsal, and, that evening, went to a very western-themed restaurant that played the golden oldies in the background featuring Sinatra and Nat King Cole!
On the day of the color event, I did some interviews with the press and then was whisked away to a building designed by Zaha Hadid, the renowned architect who sadly passed away earlier this year. As with all of her work, it is quite a dramatic and futuristic structure.
Staff from both Noroo, the company based in South Korea that specializes in paints and finishes, as well as some my colleagues from Pantone, took some pictures with me prior to the seminar.
Here are a few of the images in the talk that demonstrate a portion of the upcoming trends in color and design. My favorite is the rug that starts out as a wall hanging and then drips down to the floor!
Immediately after the presentation, there was a Q&A period with a few of the other presenters. As always, the questions were thoughtful, especially about the rationale for the Color of the Year.
That evening we had the usual after-event feast featuring delicious Korean dishes, and then the next day we departed for Shanghai. As you can guess, there is no shortage of fabulous food, and I’ll show you some of the food preparation in the next blog post.
December 4, 2016 § Leave a comment
Ever since attending his first museum collection in New York, I have always been a big fan of Yves St. Laurent. I have found his work to be incredibly imaginative, skillfully designed and colorful. When my associate, Melissa Bolt, told me that a collection of his work was being shown at the Seattle Art Museum, we decided it was a “must-see” and it was!
The newsletter published by SAM, as the museum is affectionately called, said that the St. Laurent collection “filled the gallery with elegance.” The collection is called: The Perfection of Style and described as following “the revolutionary concepts of this fashion icon whose designs shifted perceptions of gender and class.”
On display were his paper dolls modeling his early fashion designs. These morphed into his sketches shown with original fabric samples of the110 garments, featured along with accessories, each of them so contemporary looking (and in such good condition) that they could be worn on the fashion runways today.
After we saw the collection, I was inspired to look for a book called simply “Yves St. Laurent” that I had purchased at the Met in NY and found it in my collection. Some of the clothing that was in the book was featured in the show, so we had the chance to revisit them.
Diana Vreeland, the flamboyant lover of red who was the special consultant to the Costume Institute at the Met, wrote an introduction to the book, stating that St. Laurent was “followed across the oceans of the world by women who look young, live young and are young, no matter what their age. That works for me!!
The collection will be at SAM until January 17. 2017.