Colour Conversation with Carola Van Dyke



In the second of our series of interviews on colour I caught up with my dear friend and expert designer Carola Van Dyke. Carola is known for her amazing use of colour and innovative textile taxidermy. We chat about how colour influences her work and why she's not a slave to style trends.

How does colour influence your work?

I love using colours in my work, I love it if they contrast each other, and I love it when they compliment each other, combining cool and warm colours. You can actually put a whole world of colours and textures together, you just need the confidence (and some experience, knowledge and bit of talent) to do it correctly.

What big colour trends do you see happening in colour for AW17?

I have never actually looked at colour trends, it just does not inspire me at all. I have always only worked with what is in my own head. For the next 6 months I will work with nature inspired hues, together with highlights of colours inspired by different cultures.

How do you see these colours introducing themselves in your collections?

It could be natural toned hares, stags, cockatoos (browns, greens, sand etc) etc, with a detail of coral, turquoise, emerald...

Do you see colour trends as cyclical?

Yes I think they are. I also think that colour trends don’t really change drastically each year. They stay within the same groups, but are just slightly different every time or have a newish tone added. For the last few years whites and off-whites have been very popular, but natural warm tones, pastels and metallic colours are still going strong too.

Do you have shade that appears regularly in your work? 

Olive green

Why are you drawn to that particular colour?

I don’t really know, just love that colour, works well in clothes, interiors. Maybe because is it the colour of my eyes, so in clothing I quickly fall back on that colour because it suits my eyes and my skin tone well.

Where do you find inspiration?

I take inspiration from my surroundings; having my studio in the countryside at the foot of the South Downs influences my colours, textures and subjects. My designs are carefree, and bring across my love for colour, should create a sense of adventure and fun, while comfort and quality are essential too.

My other influences are old Turkish rug patterns, Suzani’s, Kimono’s, Vermeer’s colour schemes, Eastern European interiors, other people’s junk, natural curiosities, folk art, Bohemian interiors etc. Also, as being partly Dutch, the Dutch style in design can be either a quirky/ humorous approach or more minimalist and experimental. After having lived in the UK for over 20 years, I feel I have managed to keep some of the Dutch design values into my British product. The Dutch are also well known for being rather economical and maybe re-using old materials is therefore quite appealing to me!

What made you choose NYNOW to showcase your new collection? What can visitors expect to see?

This NY show is particularly a very nice one. The other exhibitors show quality items and the buyers are always very enthusiastic. It is so lovely to hear their warm, passionate response to our products. We will bring a complete new range of cushions with us, but this year also a lot of textile taxidermy pieces, which we haven’t brought to the NY show before.

I'm so looking forward to seeing the new pieces, Carola's work is truly mesmerising. So if you're heading to NYNOW this August then do check in at her booth in the Handmade Designer Maker section (we're show neighbours so you won't miss the colours we're both bringing).

But if you're not lucky enough to be at the show you can also find out more about her colourful collection at

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