Meet an expert: The art of Colours 1024 589 Mathilde Habert

Meet an expert: The art of Colours

<>Meet the Expert
From textile to colours
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Nice to meet you Dorte. Who are you?

I am a designer and a story-teller. I am currently holing the post of Vice-Chairman at the Danish Color Board. I have a good share of professional experience behing me, including in the luxury design industry. I graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK).

I love to catch the moment with my camera and share it with others. I am curious about who we are and why we act as we do as human beings.

I live in Copenhagen, Denmark. I am a mother of two lovely girls and I believe that life is too short to fool around doing things you do not like. I see the world as a global amazing playground, colourful and inspiring.

Meet Dorte


About me

“I was educated as a tailor and a textile designer. The colours, shapes and materials have been at the centre of my attention, always.”

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Sounds amazing, tell us more!

After years of working as a textile designer, I realised that colours were an essential aspect of the creation. They can structure a collection and makes the whole difference. My vision has expanded with story telling through art photography. Being able to catch the moment where the light, the shadow, and the colours come together in a perfect harmony is so powerful. I capture these moments to make sure they remain as memory and a source of inspiration – that is what I call, “the power of colours”.

I see it as an overall headline, as if colours and light would combine and tell a story. Why not listen when it is all around us? I work hard to reach the perfect harmonies with colours. When I find the “perfect” combination, it clicks and everything makes sense. It is so satisfying. With my camera, I catch moments of colours and light combinations, which I later use to translate into colour stories. This is my mission in life.


HOW I TELL A STORY [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


What is your earliest memory on colours?

Growing up with three siblings, colours were given to my brothers and me from our parents, in order to avoid arguments.

We were associated with a specific colour, which were then tagged on our towels, toothbrush, mugs etc. My colour was red, as I was the only girl. But even then my favourite colour was blue.


MY FAVORITE SEAWEED [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]

I have a very strong second memory. When I was about 5 years old, my mother had the most beautiful dress made by a tailor. I remember very clearly looking through the material and colour books from Paris, fascinated by all the colours.

My childhood was all about colours and storytelling. My mother had a thing with weekdays and colours; such as Monday was blue, Wednesday was yellow and so forth. Just the thought that colours could be more than just a colour fascinated me, even though I did not understand it.


How have colours influenced your life?

It feels like a natural thing. Colours are everywhere; from the symphony of colours you get while cooking, the colours in my own home and what I choose to wear. Colours have the power to express a mood and influence you experience life itself.

Colours are essential in my private as well as in my professional spheres. I have been forever obsessed with the coordination and play of colours, and how they express themselves apart, and together. As long as I can remember it has always been at the centre of my focus. At school I coordinated the colours of my cloth everyday. Regardless of the colours itself, my focus was always on the story I was trying to tell through the colour combination. At 12, I decided to dress like the French flag, so I choose clothes in red, blue and white. Voila!


SKY IS THE LIMIT [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


SHADES OF RED [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


THE COLOUR PALETTE OF NATURE [Photography by Dorte Lenau Klint]


Do you think there are cultural aspects to colours?

If a colour had a voice what would it say? It all depends on the eyes of the beholder – so yes, I do believe that there is a cultural aspect to colours as well as language and attitudes.

Our history and traditions affect our choices. There is a predetermination in which will be your favourite colour and it’s meaning to you depending on where you were raised.

Living in Denmark, gave me a strong attraction to the cold colour palette, which have greatly influenced the way I décor my home and my personal taste.

However, traveling South, East and West inspires me to look at colour combination in a different way. I let the space for new palettes in my perception of the world.


On your work journey, how did you become a specialist in colours?

“Colours not only express your mood but they can amplify your message.”


I was educated as a tailor and a textile designer. The colours, shapes and materials have been at the centre of my attention, always. I consider that originality and creativity take life through craftsmanship.

My fascination for colours combination really came in the forefront after I lived in Paris in France and Bologna in Italia.

I realise how you can tell so much when mixing the right colours shades together and how hues are a reflection of the world around us. Colours not only express your mood but they can amplify your message.


Do you think it makes senses to be asked what your favourite colour is?

Yes it does. I think we have seasonal favourites, which come and go. And, deeply rooted, we have a constant favourite colour. So yes, it totally makes sense.

For me, blue is not just blue. It is a colour that gives light and casts shadows, that is why this colour is so essential to me.


What is the Danish Colour Board?

DCB is a non-profit organisation for professional colour enthusiasts – we meet twice a year to create our colour forecast two years ahead. DCB is a member of Intercolour (intercolour.nu) that was established in Paris in 1963. Sixteen countries come together and exchange about colours. Members originate from very different fields: from textile designers to anthropologists, interior decorators, trend forecasters, graphic designers and architects. Together we reach consortium and we have fun while doing it.


[William LaChance]


When it comes to colours, who are your favourite artists?

The old colour palette from wallpaper from the 50s has always fascinated me. The hues are deep and remind me of how craftsmanship was all about handmade original creations.

Besides this, I am a huge fan of William Turner for his blending of colours, Carsten Frank for the energy of his blurred tones, and William LaChance for his colour blocking and the naivety, which stems from it.

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“My mission in life: capture this perfect moment when colours and light fusion together”.



Her Bio


Side Project

How to: a Commission for Musée Rodin 1024 362 Mathilde Habert
Interview Interview Originale Emily Isabella Rodin

How to: a Commission for Musée Rodin

<>Behind the scenes
from the artist's perspective

Nice to meet you Emily. Who are you?

I’m an artist living in the countryside, north of New York City.

I’m in the process of building a three story studio with my husband, Paul Isabella, on our 15 acres. We like to collaborate on projects, small ones like building wooden miniatures to big ones like building our studio!

In my freetime, I like to play the ukulele (although, I’m not very good), cook with friends and hunt for treasures at flea markets. No I don’t speak French but I’m always trying to learn a little bit here and there. One of my best friends lives outside of Paris so I travel to France about once a year and the more I visit, the better my French becomes.

Meet Emily

About me

“I studied textile design and currently design and illustrate for a number of different applications like books, fabric, wallpaper, clothing, packaging, rugs, upholstery, toys and paper goods.”

My ideal world

“A world without fear.”

Impression Originale emilyi sabella beginning pattern
Impression Originale emily isabella painting
Impression Originale emily isabella studio wall
Impression Originale emily isabella sketchbook

Present us your typical day. Tell us what makes for you a day out of the ordinary.

I usually get up, make coffee and a simple breakfast and I work all day.

My work is very enjoyable so this isn’t a bad thing for me. In the evenings, I go for a jog, cook dinner, play music and read or maybe watch a movie. The last movie I watched was Blow Up directed by Michelangelo Antonioni – so good. I have ideas for some illustrations based on stills from the film.

Sometimes I leave the house to visit friends, or go to a ballet class – those are the days that are out of the ordinary. I have a hard time leaving my work sometimes.


We live at the base of the Catskill Mountains. My window looks out into the forest. There are trees outside my house that little birds really love. Hundreds of them nest in the trees right there and it sounds like something out of a fairytale.

It smells good here!

Right now I’m burning cedar incense so it smells like I’m in a little indoor forest.


Impression Originale commissioned you to work on a project with the Musée Rodin in Paris.

How did you go about this commission?

For me, a soft pencil captures the best of my ideas. Once I am ready to solidify the ideas, I typically use gouache. The Musée Rodin wanted the sculptures to be accurately represented but still very stylized. I think layering linework over graphic shapes helped bring that request to life.

I haven’t visited the museum. Last time I was in Paris is was next on our list but we didn’t make it there so on my next trip it will definitely be at the top. I love the softness of Camille Claudel’s work. Although she was often compared to Rodin, she had her own voice. She did have a sad story – I’m sure it was hard to receive recognition as a female artist back then.

Gift Pocket Musée Rodin Commission Impression Originale

SURPRISE GIFT BAG [Original Design Emily Isabella for Impression Originale], distributed by Musée Rodin in Paris.


You are American.

Can you tell us what France represents to you – artistically speaking?

In a way, I feel most at home in France.

I spent a semester abroad in Provence when I was 21 and those days are some of my most cherished. I think I really found my artistic voice in France and things clicked for me there. My favorite art lives in the Museé d’Orsay. Vuillard is my favorite artist and Toulouse Lautrec is a close second. There is a room on the first floor that houses two of my favorite pieces by these artists and I wish I could live there.


How would you like to be called (referred to) as a professional?

“I just make things because I have a compulsive need to create.”


I guess the easy way to describe my profession is “artist”. I am always exploring new mediums and applications for my work. I consider myself a designer but also an illustrator. Somedays I do more textile design than illustration and other days it’s the opposite. But mainly, I just make things because I have a compulsive need to create.


Tell us about other special commissions

I recently designed a tea set for kids! I loved that sort of thing when I was little so it was exciting to think about how my childhood self would have been so excited.

A Stranger's Coat

A stranger asked me to paint her coat. It was such a pretty coat, I was happy to do it!


Trinket Boxes

I designed these trinket boxes for Anthropologie.

Oh Jane

I saw Jane Birkin sing at Carnegie Hall. It was a very special night so I made sure to bring my sketchbook.


Kate Spade!

This artwork was done for Kate Spade.

Everyone Loves New York

This illustration of the Met in NYC was done for a book called Everyone Loves New York.


If colours and brushes were emotions, which one(s) would you be?

Content blushy rose, snappy vermillion, and a fresh smalt blue – I’m a smaller brush – squirrel hair size 2.

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It’s a secret: Emily likes to eat gummy bears in the winter – but only few each day.



Her Bio



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