Congrats to Mary Mortimer, winner of Thursday’s COLOR YOUR LIFE kit! Mary, you will receive an email from us shortly. Thank you everyone for your comments, we are sending $100 to Edible Schoolyard Project!

Welcome to COLOR YOUR LIFE – Guest Blogger week! We have invited 5 vibrant contributors to the YOLO Colorhouse blog to write about how color inspires the creative work they do and beautifies the world we live in. Today’s guest blogger: Catherine Bailey from Heath Ceramics.

Comment on Catherine’s blog for your chance to win a COLOR YOUR LIFE Kit – 1 gal of YOLO Colorhouse paint, set of YOLO Colorhouse fan decks, and a 100% organic cotton canvas YOLO tote. Your comment also counts as a $1 donation to Catherine’s non-profit of choice, Edible Schoolyard Project – a Berkeley, CA organization that teaches students how their choices about food affect their health, the environment and their communities.

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Catherine Bailey – photo credit Leslie Williamson

Catherine Bailey is the co-owner/creative director of Heath Ceramics based in Sausalito, CA. Heath Ceramics is one of the few remaining mid-century American potteries still in existence today. In 2003, Catherine, with her husband Robin Petravic, purchased Heath Ceramics with a mission to revitalize the company through a strong focus on design and handcrafted techniques for their tile and tableware lines, while staying true to the history and values of Heath Ceramics.

The Intuition of Color

Color has always been an influence in my life. I remember being in kindergarten or first grade and wanting to draw an image that was in my head. It was a bowl with apples inside, and I can still see that image clearly today. I tried to draw it with a dark marker or crayon and I remember feeling frustrated that the dark lines I drew were nothing like what I was imagining. Yes, I had drawn some shapes that represented the forms of a bowl and some apples, and I colored them in with what I thought would be the right color, but the image was disappointing to me.

Years later, I tried representing images with paint and became amazed by color, though I was not always satisfied that the image in my head was appearing on the canvas. I started to understand what color meant and what it could do. When you have a palette of paints that you can mix into any possible color, it’s all at once overwhelming and fascinating. You start to realize that the image you have in your head can come out though your hand, not as line, but as color, and that color can create emotions and feelings far beyond forms. It’s a sense that color can capture anything and everything.

Photo Credit: Jeffery Cross

As a designer, my work with color has ranged from helping Nike develop their seasonal palettes to providing color concept and specifications for companies like Microsoft, Palm and Burton. Though the work was interesting, I found it challenging to stay inspired in a context where color was seen as a forecast trend or data point, versus an intuitive sense of what felt right.

As Creative Director at Heath Ceramics, I’m now able to interact much more purely with color. Color inspires me to do something unexpected, to take notice of the moment, the feel of this time and what surrounds me, be it a beautiful textile, the color of new car or the changes in the sea.

At Heath, our focus on color is obsessive, yet intuitive. For our summer seasonal collection, for example, we started our exploration of color by creating two hues: a vibrant blue and orange. After a few formulations and seeing the colors interact, we realized that it wasn’t right. It’s hard to describe why, though something about the combination was too strong, and it felt like it relied too heavily on the past. In the end, what felt right was to find glaze colors that would seamlessly interact with and complement the saturated orange color. We obsessed with getting the “feel” of the glazes right, so that there was a softness and a natural balance to the palette. You can see in the image below (YOLO fans have a sneak peek!) how it turned out.

Photo Credit: Jeffery Cross


Though I couldn’t have understood it then, I realized that the drawing I did when I was six taught me a lot about my view on color. Today, color inspires me to capture the moment and create a beautiful, balanced impression. For the summer seasonal collection and all the work we do at Heath, color is an intuitive feeling. We feel it and do what we love.

Let me know how color inspires your daily life in the comments below — each comment counts as a $1 donation to my non-profit of choice (up to $100), Edible Schoolyard Project- a Berkeley, CA organization that teaches students how their choices about food affect their health, the environment and their communities, and enters you to win a COLOR YOUR LIFE kit!

– Catherine Bailey

For more inspiring images from Catherine Bailey, visit our COLOR YOUR LIFE Pinterest board!

COLOR YOUR LIFE Kit: 1 gal of YOLO Colorhouse paint, set of YOLO Colorhouse fan decks, and a 100% organic cotton canvas YOLO tote