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Rejoicing in color. February 5, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”—Winston Churchill

Silence Dogood here. I don’t know which surprised me more, discovering this wonderful quote from Winston Churchill, whom I’d always pictured in a brown wool suit, or finding it in a book called Sheepish (Catherine Friend, Da Capo Press, 2011). Sheepish is partially about wool yarn, shearing, carding, spinning, dyeing, and knitting it, after raising the sheep it’s sheared from on your own place. And the chapter that talks about color begins with Sir Winston’s startling quote. Talk about a lesson in not judging a book (or in this case, man) by its cover!

If, like me, you adore color, live for color, revel in color, winter is a hard time. I find that I need to get out regularly for color fixes. One of my favorite places for a color fix is the farmers’ market, surrounded by bin after bin of brilliantly colored produce. Even the air seems different, super-oxygenated as it is by all those fruits and vegetables. Aaaahhhh!!!!

Other favorite venues for a good color fix are yarn shops, bead shops, and quilt shops. Rock shops are excellent, too, and we’re lucky enough to have a huge one not too far from us. Yarn shops offer a distinct advantage, though, since they offer tactile overdose along with all the color. Touching exquisitely soft, silky, colorful yarn is the next-best thing to petting a super-soft, jewel-toned cat, dog, or bunny. And that softness (along with the color) remains after you’ve knitted the yarn up. Mmmmm.

I’ve been hitting the yarn shops pretty hard this winter (much to the dismay of the budget-conscious our friend Ben). But remember, you don’t have to actually buy anything, assuming you can resist. You can just soak up the colors. Or head to the farmers’ market and justify your color high by purchasing the ingredients for your family’s dinner.

The one thing I’d say is to go for your color fix to a place where everything’s pretty much the same, so you can focus on the colors. This is not the time to head to the antiques mall, department store, or bookstore. Sure, there are plenty of colors there, but there’s so much else going on that your attention is diverted by the vintage postcards or popcorn popper or latest novel from your favorite author. You won’t get a color fix, just product overload.

What if you’re snowed in and can’t even manage a trip out to get a color fix? There’s one place where color and delight always dwell, and that’s in garden catalogues. Look at all the colorful peppers and peonies and irises and beans and nasturtiums and marigolds. Imagine a garden of blooming roses or astilbes or hellebores or daylilies, a rainbow of tomatoes and potatoes and corn and squashes. Pale green, white, pink, lilac, rose, and deep purple eggplant. Zinnias in all the rainbow colors except blue. Apples in every shade from whitish-green to purple-black. Garden catalogues bring color home to you and give you a place to dream in color. I love them.

Where do you find your color fix?

              ‘Til next time,




1. Lea's Menagerie - February 5, 2012

Great post on color! I like the Winston Churchill quote. Did you know that he painted? Landscapes mostly, I think.
When I need a color fix here in the dead of Winter, I visit blogs from the Southern Hemisphere! Can’t touch, of course, but a feast for the eyes!
Best wishes!

Thanks, Lea, and no, I didn’t know Churchill painted. What a great idea about visiting warm-climate blogs! The only problem is, then I want to go there…

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