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Colourliving with Tina Bernstein

Recently, I had the pleasure of publishing Tina Bernstein’s Five Things on my Five Things Project site; a few emails later and I was intrigued by Tina’s blog and website. Both Mapology and Colourliving, are businesses created by Tina, an enthusiastic and driven business person. Tina’s biography explains her desires and ambitions for her two businesses, ‘(i’m) passionate about everything to do with the home (how the home can literally enhance our well-being), a strong desire for authenticity, a love for great customer service and value for money have led me to set up colourliving.’

The Colourliving blog really caught my eye, with Tina interviewing and writing great articles about everything from furniture and sketching to her own projects and business ideas. The multidisciplinary nature of her work is commendable and curiosity led me to delve a little deeper in order to find out just what made this passionate business woman tick.

What is your background and where did you learn your craft?
I was born in Germany, came to the UK at the age of 15 to go to a boarding school just outside Oxford (sadly no longer there). I’ve just celebrated 35 happy years in the uk.
My parents were desperate for me to read languages in Oxford or Cambridge. Luckily I had this really visionary arts teacher who believed I showed real talent and suggested I might try art college. In 1987 I graduated with a BA Honours degree in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins.


Paralympics Opening Night 29th August 2012, London


You have several interesting projects on the go. Firstly, Mapology; what inspired this project. Could you tell us a little bit about it?
I spent 15 years in Psychotherapy. I remember thinking that all learning material was always exclusively in black and white, boringly laid out and very visually non-stimulating. I love print, I love maps and so the format for mapologyguides.com was born. I’m hugely passionate about design, learning, self-improvement and wellbeing. These days people are more interested in bite-sized learning. Times have changed and our attention span is diminishing by the minute (at least that’s how it feels). We think bite-size and visual learning resonates today. The aim is to encourage people to explore questions of every day life in a fun, humorous and educational way.

What’s Bugging You? map

We are working with an illustrator and writer on each map to give it the best visual and written content. The maps are fairly inexpensive, easy to carry around and you can file and store them at home for easy access. We are supplying shops and people can buy them from our online store.

Your Colourliving blog appears to be a very popular. What is the aim of Colourliving and when did you begin this business?
Thank you. I realised in 2011 that I wanted to be more visible. Up until then I did not have an online presence at all. I conducted my business of Home Finding and Design and Consultancy work purely from word of mouth. I started being curious about blogging and wanted another creative outlet. In January 2012 I started my blog colourliving.co.uk/blog and fell in love with taking photographs and storytelling.

My blog goes hand in hand with my business but this year I’m looking to update my website to incorporate all the different projects I’m working on. These days it’s far more acceptable to have multiple passions and different strands of income. I’ve been doing this since the 90’s after reading the book Portfolio People back then, I hated going to dinner parties and being asked: so what do you do? I was always looked upon like a freak who hasn’t got a proper job. Today, I’m proud of my various projects.

We live in a ‘World drowning in objects’. Are tangible objects and ‘things’ still important to you? Can you give us some examples of things you like to buy or collect?
It’s a good question. I noticed in my early 40’s how shopping and buying things lost tremendous appeal for me. When I turned 40 I actually had a ‘Birthday List’ and so I received 100% of what I wanted. A lot of it was for the new flat I had just moved into. I haven’t shopped much for it since. I suppose I’ve become super discerning and something has to really grab my attention for me to want to purchase it.

Recently, as I turned 50 a few months ago, I treated myself to an iconic Eames Soft Pad office chair. This is a one-off purchase that will last a lifetime. I do buy a lot of art materials but then I use them for my art and of course then there are books and maps and stationery. This subject, by the way, was the inspiration for the Mapology Be Present Perfect map. Statistics tell us that over 60% of people got unwanted gifts for Christmas. Shocking really. Something needs to change. The world is drowning in objects but it’s also wasting tons of money that could be put to better use.

What is your favourite record cover?
Ha. It has to be Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the Moon. First off, I cannot quite separate cover from the music and this reminds me a lot of my childhood. My brother had a record player (I didn’t for some reason) and I used to listen to this over and over again. I still regularly listen to it today, but digitally.

Any new projects on the horizon?
Always, BUT I have a lot on my plate this year and time is scarce. Priority is Colourliving and Mapology Guides. So why did I challenge myself to daily sketching? Hmmm. I bet my old therapist would be able to shed light on this.

Many thanks to Tina for taking the time to answer my questions, wish her all the best with her projects for the future.
You can find out loads more about Tina, Colourliving and Mapology on the Colourliving website.