brown-kit-spilledIf I am asked what my favorite color is, I used to answer “green”…now I would probably answer “pink”.  But, never has it occurred to me to answer “brown” nor has brown even come in as second, third or fourth place.  In fact, I have never known anyone to say their favorite color is brown.  Surely those folks exist, but I am not aware of them — although certainly someone reading this will claim brown as theirs.

While brown has never made it in my inner circle of preferred colors, I wonder, what would my life be without it?  As I was preparing to write this post, I thought about the significance of brown in my life during the last 50 years. 

browniepin.1LBrown plus me has equaled the following:  (1) my original hair color; and (2) I was a Brownie when I was 7.  Of  course, my original mousy brown hair color shall never be seen again and all remnants of my Brownie days are now gone. 

I’m not saying I’m a hater on brown, I’m just saying, I’ve taken brown for granted.  In fact, thanks to the wonderful research done by our teammate Anastasia in preparation for this post, it seems my relationship with brown is the exact relationship it should be.  Brown is associated with reliability, comfort, and stability.  Brown is the boy that your parents like — he’s clean cut and responsible — and you find him boring. 

interesting-surfaces-in-kiso-stone-wood-earth-3-nagiso-machiOK, brown doesn’t have the sparkly prettiness of pink, the purity of white or the fire of red, but..it’s time I gave brown some respect as brown is the color of earth, wood and stone.

Brown was one of the very first pigments primitive man had access to in the form of umber, a dark brown clay that contains iron and manganese oxide.  Umber is a natural earth color with many natural (raw umber, raw sienna) and man made (burnt umber, burnt sienna) variations. 

brown color wheelBrown is a natural, neutral color that is typically associated with the seasons of fall and winter.  Shades of brown when combined with green create a palette often used to convey concepts of being earth-friendly or natural.  Colors that pair well with brown are teal, aqua, muted yellows and tans.  Dark brown can be used in place of black to bring warmth.  Brown is frequently called a non-color because of its neutral tendencies and general appeal in design.

BarrenIn the Western cultures of North America and Europe, while brown is associated with the earth, it can also be associated with barrenness.  In Chinese astrology, brown represents the earth but the most common Eastern/Asian association with the color is that of mourning.  Most interesting to me is that the meanings associated with brown may be among the most universal when compared to the differences in how colors are viewed across the world’s cultures.

Meanwhile, for me today, the color brown really means one very important thing:  it is the color of chocolate…and thus, is also associated with love.  And, what do I love as much as chocolate?  FIBER!!!!  We fiber folks certainly have plenty to work with in terms of beautiful, natural brown animal fibers.  We’ve got some lovely examples on our gallery page of spectacular yarns featuring brown — here are a few of them:

Cathy Brooks, Module 1
Cathy Brooks, Module 1

 

jolen-mosley-module-1
Jolene Mosley, Module 1
Leslie Alexander, Module 1
Leslie Alexander, Module 1
Kathy Withers, Module 1
Kathy Withers, Module 1

For those of you who are currently enrolled in The Journey to the Golden Fleece course, we’re going to open a Secret Color Garden Pinterest Board for you this week with some amazing brown-inspired eye candy!  For those of you not yet part of the gang, never fear!!  We are opening enrollment very soon…just hang in there a little bit longer…All my fibery best, Arlene

9 thoughts on “Featured Color: Brown

  • January 24, 2014 at 11:22 pm
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    I’ve always like brown, but for me, its safety can be dangerous. For years, a large portion of my wardrobe was brown and I often dressed in monochrome shades of brown and tan. It was a way to blend in and go unnoticed as I struggled with self-esteem and body image issues. Unlike black, it makes no statement. A few years ago I purged most of the brown, brightened my hair color, and have made a conscious effort to wear color, and even black. I still gravitate towards brown… but giving myself permission to be less ‘safe’ in the color choices I made for myself has been a very postive change.

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  • January 25, 2014 at 12:07 am
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    As we are dependent on brown fiber, I really loved this article. Thank you so much for a really nice look at one usually over-looked color.

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  • January 25, 2014 at 12:36 am
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    When I bought my first animals, my intention was to get one of every color and only use natural colors. That obviously did not last. One of my favorite fleeces is from a “red” kid angora goat that is a gorgeous shade of chocolate brown. Most of my goats are tans and taupes, so this one really stood out. My module two yarn will also focus on brown since I am planning a feathered yarn and the feathers feature a gorgeous shade of brown.

    Enjoyed seeing the petroglyphs. Saw lots of those in the southwest. Brown is a very earthy color and I love its variations in my garden soil as well.

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  • January 25, 2014 at 1:38 am
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    I’ve been growing more and more fond of ‘browns’ in the last few years. Now, some of my favorite yarns and fibers are brown/taupe/tan/copper/gold . . . lots of choices. Here’s one I particularly love from Pluckyfluff: /var/folders/ry/ryV0QKZH2RewWU+kNOdiPU+++TU/-Tmp-/ppqvIK/Safari.png

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  • January 25, 2014 at 1:39 am
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    I’ve been growing more and more fond of ‘browns’ in the last few years. Now, some of my favorite yarns and fibers are brown/taupe/tan/copper/gold . . . lots of choices.

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  • January 27, 2014 at 6:51 am
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    My most favourite combinations are brown/taupe and blues/teals/ turquoise, etc and browns with pinks.

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  • January 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm
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    Browns are my comfort colors.All fall colors work for me. Oranges always sneak into the mix- burnt or bright..doesn’t matter.

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  • January 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm
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    I love this thinking about colors–I guess I too have taken brown for granted. Although I don’t wear brown it is a color that I love in nature. When I’m walking my dogs I notice there are many lovely shades of brown in bark, rocks, soil, leaves–nature seems to love browns and the subtle ways the shades mix with greens, grays and blues is beautiful. When I taught a fiber arts class at a local nonprofit I brought lots of color for them to work with and I used to get frustrated when they would ask, “Do you have any brown?” I thought it was boring, safe and unadventurous, I wanted them to break out and use color. I think I underestimated brown and it’s natural ability to enhance other colors as well as a lovely, rich color all on its own. Of course, as Arlene points out, there is nothing quite as lovely as chocolate!!

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