About Us

IN THE HEART OF NORTHUMBERLAND

Nestled in the North Tyne Valley at Tarset is the Unison Colour Headquarters. Situated in the old coach buildings of Thorneyburn Rectory, is where nearly a quarter of a million pastels are handmade each year.

Being in the heart of the Northumberland National Park means we are inspired by all that is around us – the hills, fells, forests & rivers & of course the people.

We are a small team who work tirelessly to ensure the pastels we produce remain of the highest quality to satisfy our wide & varied customer base.

 

HISTORY

Unison Colour was founded by artist John Hersey, who after many years of not finding a pastel he was happy with, he decided to make his own. After years of experimenting the Unison Colour Soft pastel that you know & love today, was created.

John Hersey was born in 1925. He was a student at the Byam Shaw School of art in London where he won a Rome scholarship and lived in Italy for several years. On returning to

John had always found inspiration in the clarity of light and subtlety of colour in Northumberland, and in 1980 he moved with Kate and their 4 children to an Old Rectory in the Northumberland National Park.

JOHN’S COLOUR VISION

The project began when John decided that the manufactured pastels available on the market broke easily, were not consistent in texture and did not mirror his colour vision. For several years he worked on methods of production, colour sequences and the texture of his pigment mixtures.

In 1987 he decided to offer the results to fellow pastallists. We took the original range of colour sets (then just 117 pastels!), and the kitchen dresser, to an art materials show in London. To our surprise there was an immediate interest. To start with the pastels were all made in the coach house, and the top spare bedroom in the house was used for packing and storage. Eventually, as sales expanded in the USA, things became easier and we were able to construct another workshop and a packing room.

 

A WORLD OF COLOUR

The project began when John decided that the manufactured pastels available on the market broke easily, were not consistent in texture and did not mirror his colour vision. For several years he worked on methods of production, colour sequences and the texture of his pigment mixtures.

In 1987, he decided to offer the results to fellow pastelists. Kate & John took the original range of colour sets (then just 117 pastels!) and the kitchen dresser to an art materials show in London. To their surprise there was an immediate interest.

To start with the pastels were all made in the coach house, and the top spare bedroom in the house was used for packing and storage. Eventually, as sales expanded in the USA, things became easier and they were able to construct another workshop and a packing room.

For John, it was a mission to create a world of colour.

THE PASTELS

Our pastels are still made to the original recipes that were created by John Hersey. Unison Colour handmade soft pastels are highly pigmented that reveal intense colour when used.

Our soft pastels offer vibrant or subtle shades of colour with a wonderful consistent & smooth texture that makes them ideal for pastel paintings of any subject. These soft pastels have an ability to create a range of effects & their softness lends itself to colour mixing while drawing & keeps the work fresh. The versatility of the pastel means they can be blended & used with different mediums such as oil, charcoal, pencil & watercolour. Used by both professional & amateur artists, Unison Colour soft pastels are renowned for being the best on the market.

Our pastels are still made to the original recipes that were created by John Hersey. Unison Colour handmade soft pastels are highly pigmented that reveal intense colour when used.

For more information about Unison Pastels

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