The Perfect Match: Spotlight on Colours of Sheffield
Providing some uplifting splashes of colour during what has often felt like a grey few months in lockdown, Mary Tear is on an aesthetically pleasing mission to match up various pieces of Steel City with her selection of Pantone cards. Last month we spoke to the Colours of Sheffield founder to hear about how it all began…
Hi Mary, could you introduce yourself the Exposed readership?
I am a Sheffield University graduate who has lived here since 2012. I am originally from Beverley, East Yorkshire, but I have fallen in love with Sheffield. I live in Crookes and currently work as an anti-trafficking caseworker for a charity in Sheffield full-time, and manage the Colours of Sheffield project on the side.
Tell us a bit about how the Colours of Sheffield project started?
I started Colours of Sheffield in August 2017, when I saw designers on Instagram using Pantone colours and Photoshop to match famous places (@tom.lowe is a personal favourite). I didn’t know how to use Photoshop but I loved the idea of matching the cards, so I ordered a pack of 100 postcards and took them to the streets of Sheffield. This made me take notice of the beautiful colour around us that goes unnoticed everyday, giving me a new perspective to the city I had fallen in love with. Sheffield can often be portrayed as very grey but this project has made me completely disagree – it is full of beautiful colour. When I originally started matching my coffee cups to Pantone cards, I couldn’t have imagined where the project would take me, but I’ve been able to do some great things: a Sheffield University Instagram takeover, challenging local architecture firm Paul Testa, promoting Sheffield Theatres plays, doing a talk at independent creative company Jaywing and being asked to be involved in the promotion of the new Monki store in Sheffield.
What sort of things have you been up to during lockdown?
Recently I have expanded into making prints to showcase some of my favourite places through their colour. People seem to love having a little bit of Sheffield in their houses, especially now they are unable to visit their favourite places. In the first month of selling these, I’ve sent prints to Japan, Denmark, USA, Spain – it’s lovely to see the city has touched so many people’s hearts globally and that my print can help bring back their colourful memories.
Out of all your matches so far, do you have a favourite shot?
My new favourite match are the houses on Stannington Road, which you can see from Clough Fields in Crookes. I took that on Saturday last month and it has become my new favourite spot for daily walks and isolated meetups! However, before that shot, I loved my Park Hill match – because it’s such an iconic building and one of my first matches. Colour-wise, the pink of the vintage shop Vulgar on Division Street was absolutely spot on. That photo took me about two seconds. Normally it takes a lot longer to search for the right card, and then I have to figure out how and where to hold it as lighting can really change whether the card matches or not.
Do you tend to find the locations yourself or do you get tip-offs from followers?
I tend to choose the locations myself depending on where I’m walking that day, or where my weekend brunch plans are situated! However, sometimes I ask for inspiration from my followers, who send me great ideas, and sometimes I am approached by artists or local businesses suggesting I match them, which I try to do when I have time.
We love the Colours of Sheffield totes and prints available online. Are there any plans to add new merchan-dise at some point?
I’ve got lots of ideas for expanding my small business, I’ve actually got a new print on the way, which will be available by the end of the month – so watch this space!