ATV - Ex 3.2 - Translation Through Yarn · ATV - Pt3 - Pj1 - Colour Palettes & Proportion · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Translation through Yarn

The gouache studies are now finished and I’ve done 3 more yarn wraps to record the colours of the old master. These I have put into the display sketchbook.

I’m not sure that this is the best way to display them, I would have loved to have them as little loose, tactile packages of texture and colour but it just proved too difficult to attach the yarns to the little pieces of card so they could be handled so they will stay where they are but, now highlighted with yellow.


The colours are wonderful and I have purposely made them slightly brighter than the original photograph which is slightly hazy because of the paper it was printed on.

The mixtures of colour: the palettes are very pleasing to me and I would enjoy working with the selections on an abstract embroidery.

In places I have overlaid the yarns and used hanks of messed up threads in blocks to represent the areas where light and shadow interfers with the eye as it tries to make sense of the colour; attempting to pinpoint a match or a name for the colour.

This has been a tricky task, especially since I didn’t have access to a better quality picture of an old master that I liked. It’s not something I would have done if I hadn’t been doing this course but it is something that I will do again.


ATV - Ex 3.2 - Translation Through Yarn · ATV - Part 3 - Colour Studies · ATV - Pt3 - Pj1 - Colour Palettes & Proportion · Textiles 1: A Textiles Vocabulary

ATV – Colour Studies – Translation through Yarn

Once I get into my workroom and start on these exercises I really enjoy them, the process of focusing on the detail and the colours in the textile piece, or as in the case of the lastest exercise the painting, it is very relaxing. It is theraputic, time slows down and your brain switches off.

This is exactly what Danny Gregory says will happen in his book Art Before Breakfast. ┬áDanny tells us that ‘Art will make us saner and happier’ and I have to agree with him. Sometimes in the moment, when you’re trying to get it just right it can be frustrating but as you sink into what you are doing you can find peace and satisfaction.

It hasn’t always been easy to be peaceful when identifying and then making specific colours; I really thought this was just me until I started to read Josef Albers Interaction of Color. Right there in his introduction, almost one of the first thing he states is ‘in order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually’.

Albers believes that our ‘seeing’ of colour is always effected by any number of factors, including: lighting, juxtaposition, culture etc. He states that ‘When seeing, we almost never see a single color unconnected and unrelated to other colors, we see what is happening between the colors. Colors present themselves in continuous flux, constantly related to changing neighbours and changing conditions’.

I found this was particularly relevant when working at selecting the yarns and quantities of yarn to represent the colours in the Leonardo Di Vinci’s Painting, sometimes, when the light was right or a thread was thin and singular it matched a colour in the painting but when it was denser of placed on a different surface it changed.

Luckily because of Albers advice I didn’t get too caught up with trying to get my selections perfect, I worked at selecting yarns that gave the right ‘feel’, the right impression of the painting.

I selected, laid out, and then wrapped the yarns in an order that encouraged the viewer’s preception and imagination to see the colours as a match to the painting. By doing this I have sought to ‘write’ the colours as words not letters, because as Alber’s writes ‘… in reading we do not read letters but words, words as a whole, as a “word picture”.


The task wasn’t made any easier by my choice of a painting with so much colour. I never go easy on myself! Whilst looking through a selection of paintings by Old Masters I found myself drawn to pictures with more modern colours but when I found myself studying the picture in more detail I was still struck by how different the old colours were.


I’ve really not been looking forward to this exercise but in the end have found it very interesting. It would be nice to progress these selections/yarns into abstract snap shot stitched pieces, little inchies of colours, colours with a meaning and a reference point. This anchoring of an idea; of a design source is something that I have been seeking for a while. Maybe now I am starting to get somewhere.

This blog is dedicated to my wonderful husband who very generously bought me a beautiful rose gold MacBook for Christmas for me to use in my studies and to write these blogs on. All of his support and encouragement is greatly appreciated. I love you Harry_uk.