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For the Love of Color: Ochre

My local quilt shop was having a big sale on fabric this last week, so I ended up buying a bunch of solids, including one I wasn’t expecting: Kona Ochre.


Ochre is such an unfortunate name (maybe because it kind of sounds like okra, which also has an unfortunate name?) but it’s a gorgeous range of colors (albeit including a few difficult colors). This particular solid is the color of caramel cream, and I am a new found fan. It’s lacking the slightly green undertone that makes it go into baby poo brown territory (see aforementioned difficult colors.)


I picked it up to go with some forest greens, but ochre is a really versatile color. Ochre refers to a range of yellow-brown to orange-browns, but this particular Kona is a orange hue, with medium saturation and high brightness.


I don’t have a lot in my stash that matches this, but ochre is used a lot as a supporting color. Because of it’s lower saturation, it can be used as a neutral and therefore plays the support role quite well. For instance, ochre shows up quite often in Kaffe Fasset prints to help bridge the gap between his super saturated main players.


One of my favorite uses for ochre is in this analogous color scheme. These warm fire-y tones have been pretty popular recently, and I love this slightly less saturated version of it.


This range goes from ochre to raspberry, which covers many of the warm tones on the color wheel. It starts at the light orange of ochre and moves through red-orange, red, and ends in red-violet which gives a little coolness to add a lot of depth to the color scheme.


Ochre is also beautiful with purples, violets and blues, as they are complementary colors. The more yellow the ochre, the more purple it’s complement, while the more orange ochres have blue as their complement.


Again, I paired it with slightly less saturated purples, to keep in line with the less saturated tone of the ochre. That’s not strictly necessary, but when I paired it with the more saturated purples I had in my stash, I found it made their colors almost look garish. I do however, love it with the different violets in this Collage print. (I bet it’d look great with radiant orchid, too!)


Since Kona Ochre is more orange, I found a couple desaturated blue-violets to pair it with. In retrospect, I should have just hit my navy stash but those are at the other end of my storage cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind!


And just because ochre is bordering on a neutral doesn’t mean you can’t pair it with other neutrals! For instance, ochre and grey are a gorgeous pairing. They almost look opulent together.


So there you have it, a little ochre love. Would you consider using ochre in any of your projects?


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