Finding Colour Confidence with Saija Elina

Finding Colour Confidence with Saija Elina

Hello again!  We’re currently circling the land of Colour Confidence, which means we’re almost there, and preparing for landing!  This week, I really want us to appreciate colour in all its magnificence.  Which will be easy, because today’s interviewee is amazing at {all the colours}!

I have long been an admirer of Saija Elina’s beautiful creations and her Instagram feed is living proof that {ALL} the colours are beautiful.  Saija doesn’t limit her palette choices to a variation of a handful of colours, which confirms to me that she is {most} definitely fluent in the language of colour.  Her creations move across the colour wheel with the flexibility and ease of a professional gymnast, cartwheeling from pink to yellow, and then unexpectedly backflipping to greens, purples, and everything in between!  And I am convinced it is for this reason that she is a highly sought after pattern tester in the quilting world!

Finding Colour Confidence with Saija Elina
The lovely Saija!

I’m excited to share this interview with you because Saija enforces the importance of trusting your colour instincts, because if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this series, it’s that.  Trust {your} gut.  Do what {you} love.  And, above all, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.  Speak {your own} colour language!

Interview with Saija Elina

How long have you been quilting?

Sewing as a hobby has been important for me since I was a kid.  Nearly all of the women in my family have sewn.  My interest in quilting started after I had my first two children.  I wanted to make them handmade blankets.  I went to a beginners class where they taught me how to use a ruler and a rotary cutter.  We also made different kinds of blocks.  It was a new and interesting world to me and since then I’ve been hooked.  My first quilt was a log cabin quilt and that simple pattern is still my favorite.  I have now been quilting over twenty years.

What does quilting mean to you?

Quilting is a big part of my life especially now that all of my three children have moved away.  I have plenty of time for myself.  Playing with colors is my way to be creative, it’s kind of like painting with fabrics.  Sewing helps me to relax and get my mind out of things.

Tell us a bit about your fabric stash. What makes you choose a fabric?

I don’t know if my fabric stash is big or small compared to other quilters.  I try to keep all colors and as many shades as possible.  With the fabric, the most important thing is color and after that the design.  Even though I live in the capital of Finland we don’t have any quilt shops.  Usually I order my fabrics online or buy them when I’m traveling.  It’s hard to say my favorite designers because there’s so many of them, but I like quite a simple style.  At the moment I’m quite excited about solid fabrics and have quite a big pile of them in my stash.

Have you done any study related to color or is it just natural talent?

I haven’t done any study related to color, but for sure, it would be useful to know the basics.  I don’t think about how the colors are supposed to be.  If I like them, that’s enough.

Do you have a favorite color?

I use turquoise a lot.  Maybe it’s my favorite color.  I don’t know why but somehow I choose it often.  White, blue and black are also nice.  When I look at my Instagram feed there is no brown at the moment.  Even though I like it, it’s hard to use.

Your home has a very neutral palette of whites and greys, and you introduce colour to the palette through soft furnishings like cushions, quilts, wall hangings. Why is that?

We moved about a year ago to this apartment.  Almost all big things like walls, couches and chairs are white or grey.  I’m pretty sure some people think my home is pale but I want it to be this way.  It’s so easy to change style using different colored textiles, decorative objects and flowers.  Also colorful quilts fit well in my home.  I’m not a very brave decorator and that’s why I usually choose something timeless.

Can you tell us about your creative process when choosing a color palette for a project?  

This is very difficult question because I don’t have any special method for the creative process.  I just choose colors which look good together.  When I start a new project I choose all the fabrics at once.  If the colors look good on the table they look good on the finished quilt.  Of course sometimes changes are necessary later.  Usually I make color decisions quite fast but sometimes it takes many days to decide.  If you have trouble picking fabrics it’s easier to use fabrics from the same collection because they are the same style. Although I like to make more personal quilts by mixing different designers.

Sometimes I have an inspiration for specific colors.  Then I search for a suitable pattern for them.  When the quilt is is going to be a gift I try to pick colors that the receiver likes.

My mood in the moment effects my color choices a lot.  Sometimes I want to make something really romantic, sometimes something very strong and modern.  Usually I don’t make two quilts of the same colors in a row because it’s boring.

All my fabrics are arranged by color in a glass cabinet.  Seeing them all at once makes it easier to choose what I like.

Inspiration can be found everywhere.  When I see a nice color combination, for example in nature or an art exhibition, I take a picture of it.  Then later I can use it in my quilting.

Do you have any thoughts for creatives who want to develop their sense and understanding of colour?

I think the best way to learn is by mixing and matching different color combinations. You always learn from your mistakes, at least I do.

Thank you Saija!  I think that’s a perfect place to finish up.  

Finding Colour Confidence with Wife-made

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