“My Life in Color” is a series dedicated to the impact of color on our lives at a time when studies show that it is disappearing from the world. We realized we needed to shine a light on these stories because so many of you said you hide your true self behind what others think you should do. This is our attempt to share stories from your hearts from diverse backgrounds and experiences. You can read more about the genesis of this series here.
Today we’ll hear from Lauren Hellerich, a former corporate employee who is currently raising her son full-time outside of Louisville, Kentucky. As a creative hobby, she likes to spend her free time personalizing her family’s new build, painting, and crafting. Lauren loves making friends with like-minded people. Find her on Instagram @lalallaurrenn.
My Life in Color: The Original
As a child, I sometimes found it difficult to communicate verbally. Instead, I spent countless afternoons with my box of Crayola crayons. I would fanatically organize the entire box (first by color, then by color), only to get rid of them right away to put them in my favorite colorways. Coloring books were a way to organize and control my little creative world, but colors were an opportunity to have no boundaries. I began to see the power of color and its ability to influence and change things around me.
My grandfather and father were both journalists, having spent their entire lives working in printing presses. My grandmother and uncle worked in the bindery of several local printers. Printed materials are cut, paginated, and bound into finished products. My mother worked in print manufacturing sales. Is the ability to see and use colors effectively a genetic trait? I don’t know, but I took the FM color test several times and got very high scores (the only other person with high scores was my dad). Printing manufacturing companies. A co-worker used to say “every storm cloud has a lining PMS 877” and I like to think it was a smart way to be specific about your job in the industry, which in some ways is a craft of its own.
My job was creative besides, but seeing design drawings and learning how to apply printing ink and paints to achieve what the designer intended to communicate still scratched a creative itch. But I never wanted to work in the printing industry. I wanted to create.
Identify as an artist
Far from the point I was in at three years old when I wanted to be a garbage man, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I’ve never been great at conceptualizing. For this reason – and perhaps because I thought it was not a worthwhile profession – I never pushed myself to practice and try to develop what did not come naturally. I always saw myself as creative, but not artistically inclined. As a result, I began to use colors to communicate myself to others. My shyness persisted and in high school I realized that color blocking in my clothing might allow me to stand out a little without attracting too much attention… like “Hey, this girl looks like she would be a friend of mine” (I have no idea if (that’s what’s been communicated), But I like to think it was.)
In the early 2000s, I found the craft movement online (Helllloooo Craftster and Etsy), which allowed me to explore colors, mediums, and applications in ways I never had before. My first craft love will always be embroidery. It’s like adult coloring with a needle. It’s boring, and it’s soothing. I have worked in many different aspects of crafts as an adult: embroidery, quilting, sewing, paper cutting, jewelry making, textile arts, wedding design/decor, nursery decor, party decorations, handmade jewelry, needle crafting, leather crafting, coloring
What I lack in artistic visualization, I make up for in knowledge/knowledge of how to use multimedia. I’ve spent most of my life avoiding defining myself as an artist, but the fact of the matter is that I think I am. I may not have found my only purpose, to be average and I may never be a well-known artist, but I am creative and there is nothing I love more than creating something from nothing. And more than half of what I communicate through my designs or home decor is communicated through a strong color palette. My color palette is fun.
Expressing myself through interior designs
Not quite sure how or which artistic medium to focus on in our first homes, I leaned heavily toward color through design. I found that the busy color and decor made the space feel livelier and more personal…and there was more personality on display. You can enter our home and meet our spirit.
3 years ago when we moved out of our homes and started a family, I really wanted to use color with intention. I want my home to reflect joy, not only for me, but for our son. I want him to grow up in a place that encourages artistic thought and creativity. Maybe one day he will express himself in these ways, but at least he will see life through a different lens. I’m not sure why I want this feeling, but I think it helps motivate me, helps me feel calmer, and helps improve my mood. Dopamine decoration? Is this a thing now? I really think it helped my mental health. The colour, the coordination and the bright feeling….makes me feel happy. Maybe it’s also a sense of pride in seeing a vision come together… seeing an unusual color palette, pattern or texture come together and how it all blends into a feeling. I’m not sure… What I’m sure of is that color affects my daily life.
I’m definitely not a writer, and I haven’t written anything in a long time since I was at university. In fact, when Brittany asked me if I wanted to write an article… I panicked. Pure fear. I don’t feel like I’ve used my ability to create and use color effectively because I’ve never pushed myself to be comfortable with what’s uncomfortable. My love of color is real, but I haven’t been tapping into my full potential creatively because it seems so… risky? So I decided, yes. Let me write this article in my own voice. Are the rules correct? Nah…and the punctuation isn’t great. But it’s something I feel passionate about. These are all just memories from my experience which has a consistent general theme of communicating through colours.
You can find Lauren:
Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your thoughts on color. I know a lot of us are in the same boat!
If you have a story you’d like to share about your relationship with color, please get in touch [email protected]