Unloved! Patchwork and the color brown

Unloved! Patchwork and the color brown

If, like me, you take part in patchwork swaps with a lot of fun and joy (campaigns in which a group of quilters get together virtually and pretty little things sewn like mini quilts, bags, pincushions, etc. are exchanged with each other), then you get busy much with the fabric and color wishes of his exchange partner. This is very enriching because you leave your own creative microcosm and try to open yourself to other perspectives and color preferences. You share your own wishes with your swap partner and the community by e.g. B. posting photos of your own color preferences on Instagram. Lo and behold: brown is the most frequently mentioned exclusion criterion! Blue, red, pink, gray, white, green – all colors have more or less fans. Only brown stands out because this color is the only one named as an exclusion criterion. Every statistic is confirmed here – brown is the most unpopular color in patchwork.

Actually surprising, because brown is one of the most natural colors of all and occurs frequently in nature – terms like wood, nuts, spices, chocolate, coffee, autumn and earth immediately come to mind!

In fact, according to Statista, brown is quite low on the list of favorite colors – and this seems to have an effect on the colors of patchwork fabrics.

Unloved! Patchwork and the color brown
Source: Statistics

Psychological and symbolic effects of the color brown

A book classic of color psychology is certainly Eva Heller’s book “How Colors Work”, published by Rowohlt-Verlag in 1989. The chapter on the color brown is entitled “The unsympathetic color” and begins with the sentence: “Of all colors, brown is rejected the most.” In its psychological effect, brown is equated with terms such as “unsympathetic”, “unerotic”, “Laziness”, “gluttony”, “bourgeois”, “old-fashioned” and “conservative”.

If I were to pick a month that Braun would be the best fit for, it would be – sure! – November. I live in the country and in November the fields are plowed, the earth is brown. At the latest then I feel like I’m going into winter. I know from my circle of friends that November does not have a positive image. In November everything is somehow – brown!

Is brown also perceived positively?

Definitely yes! Brown creates a feeling of security and comfort and is therefore often used in living areas. Materials such as wood and leather are warm and natural and are therefore perceived positively. Brown has been shown to have a calming effect and relieves tension.

Brown is also welcome in the food sector, as it is associated with strong aromas. And rightly so: coffee, chocolate, cocoa, bread, whisky, nuts – all these foods are brown and very aromatic!

Unloved! Patchwork and the color brown
Color palette by Sofia Groebke

With this color palette, designer Sofia Groebke shows us how beautiful shades of brown can be. As a designer, Sofia is naturally concerned with color and loves to put together beautiful color palettes. I am very happy that I found the brown palette shown above, as it shows that shades of brown can be harmoniously combined.

The color brown in the patchwork

Traditionally, Amish quilts were made from near-solid fabrics and often discarded clothing—and since brown was, as now, one of the most popular colors in clothing, that color was often used in quilts. A little leap into the 1970s: brown was one of the trend colors in the living area and so also in patchwork. In old manuals of this time you can see that very clearly. Maybe it’s not because of the color as such, but rather because of the hue. At the moment, nude tones are absolutely trendy, which are formally a light brown. Nude tones have great nuances and can be wonderfully processed in shades. So-called solids – plain-colored patchwork fabrics such as B. Moda Bella Solids , Kona Cotton or Pure Solids have beautiful colors in their palettes. We quilters in particular love playing with colors and patchwork patterns can also be processed in a modern way with brown, e.g. B. Adds blue tones.

Complementary color to brown

There isn’t! Brown is a mixture of all colors, which is why there can be no complementary color – that is, a color that is opposite to another on the color wheel. However, since brown is perceived more as a warm shade, cold colors such as blue and turquoise tones go particularly well with brown.

Maybe in 2021 I will approach this topic creatively and process brown!