Coursework Part Three: Exercise 3.2 Translation Through Yarn

The image I chose for this Exercise is by the Limbourg Brothers, and is called “The Fall and The Expulsion From Paradise”. I found a useful website that listed lots of Old Master artists that enabled me to explore their work and choose something that appealed to me. The colour palette of the painting, rather than the somewhat misogynistic (even the snake is female in this depiction of the Bible story!) subject matter attracted me.

My first thought was to trawl through what I already had in my yarn, ribbon and thread collections to see possible matches for the project, then buy the missing colours from wherever I could find them.

My approach to the task was to initially concentrate on one colour at a time, for example, all the green threads, yarns, and ribbons, then I slowly pared them down by comparing each item to the image. If there was a perfect match, I set that item aside to use. In some cases, such as with the blue area, nothing was a perfect match, so I tried different combinations of the closest matches to achieve the best outcome.

Some scans of my sketchbook notes:-

When I was happy with my selections, I tried a trial run for the first yarn wrap. I worked with loose, single and combined colours until I was happy with the colour match and proportion, before attaching the final choices to the card.


I decided to read across the image, from left to right, simplifying somewhat, but trying to retain the colour relationships in the original, and including some repeated lines of colour, such as for the architectural elements. I decided to cut out much of the cream/beige surround proportion-wise.

The blue was the hardest colour to match, and I tried numerous yarns and threads singly and in combination before finally settling on a mixture of two threads and a yarn for the purple-blue of God’s robe. I was most pleased with the gold braid that I had purchased for the project, as it had the ornate look of the gold architecture in the picture. I also liked the fuzzy yarn that resembled the trees.

Yarn Wrap #1: Detailed Analysis or ‘Everything’ Wrap

I made a record with as much information as I could muster on the different threads used, but, as many were from my own stash, or were bought second-hand, details are limited to a description, source and sample, (as cost, brand and thickness are unknown).

Next, I attempted a simplified palette, with less mixing of fibres, and pulling out just the main perceived colours in the image.

Yarn Wrap #2: Simplified Palette

I used some translucent, sparkly ribbons to represent Adam and Eve’s pale skins, and thicker gold braid in this piece. The red and blue were simplified to a single colour, rather than a mixture as in the previous wrap. Since I only had one original version of the photographic print of the painting (used with Wrap #1, above), I made home printed copies taken from the seller’s website, but, as can be seen, they were far more saturated in colour, so don’t match this and the following wraps as well as the original (from which I worked throughout when selecting palettes). The gold of the architecture now appears as an orangey colour, for example.

I picked a couple of small sample areas for my next two wraps: the first comparing the God and Devil characters in the painting. I separated them with an area of background greenery, made using some soft, velvet ribbon, optically mixed with some plant-dyed embroidery thread. The Devil area was a mixture of grosgrain ribbon and shiny rayon embroidery thread (this combination was the best part of the wrap, in my opinion); God had grosgrain ribbon with yarn, and a bit of white for his beard and gold for his halo.

Yarn Wrap #3: God versus The Devil

A tiny area of the picture, which had assorted shades of brown with a touch of blue caught my attention. The rocks or possibly sand dunes in the picture had variegated grey-browns and warm browns. I managed to find some yarn and threads that had similar colour schemes. I probably should have included more blue to match the proportions in the original.

Yarn Wrap #4: Shades of Brown

For a final challenge, I decided to try to make some fibres, and use ‘found’ materials in the last wrap. A red tape from our tool box, an elastic band, painted and unpainted junk mail paper, strips of twisted and untwisted fabrics all ended up in this piece.

Yarn Wrap #5: Found and Made Media


Well, I took rather a long time over this exercise: gathering suitable material, trialling colours and finally making the wraps, was a pain-staking business.

Some of the colours (usually those from my own collection or bought second-hand) were entirely used up in the exercise, and might be hard to source again, so I will have to look for similar alternatives if they are needed in a future part of the coursework.

The wraps #1 and #5 were the most enjoyable to make: the first because I felt it most closely matched the original painting, and the last because it involved some improvisation and unusual materials.

Edited 16/01/17 and 17/01/17

My tutor, Cari, in my feedback for this coursework, asked me to think about the potential of the yarn wraps as useable colour palettes, so I am now adding those ideas…

Yarn Wrap #1

The palette of this wrap was rich and soft with triadic primary colours muted a little by the inclusion of creams, browns and soft pinks. The palette has a broad hue range with light to mid saturation and values. This was a pleasing palette that reminds me of the Paul Smith clothing designs that I had seen in my research for this part of the course, so I imagine that it could be translated in that way into knitwear, shirts etc. I can also imagine curtain and furnishing fabrics with the varied textures translated into the textiles.


Yarn Wrap #1, tiled

Yarn Wrap #2

I agreed with Cari’s assessment of #2, that it varied too much in terms of the textural range, and it was my least favourite of the five wraps. However, the blue, red and gold of the palette had a military feel. I could imagine them translated into a rather grand velvet textile, with a white translucent ground, such as organza, a secondary pattern of turquoise, cream and green from the palette, with raised, tufted areas of red and blue with gold highlights. Perhaps a textile for furnishing the four poster bed of a Royal palace: slightly vulgar and OTT.

Yarn Wrap #3

As my tutor noted, this wrap was somewhat lacking in variety in the texture department, but I did like the colour palette, particularly the soft velvet sash in a faded teal next to the burnt orange. I could imagine this palette as having potential in accessories such as scarves or evening bags, neck ties and textile jewellery. The textures could include velvet, contrasting with areas of silk and raised stitch, to give a luxurious feel.

Yarn Wrap #4

This wrap contained a preponderance of golden hues and browns with small highlights of blue and red. I think it would make a good palette for a woven textile with a checked pattern, such as a silk tartan to be made into an evening gown or fine wool scarf.


Digital Checked Fabric Design

I created this design in PaintShop Pro software, picking five colours from an image of Yarn Wrap #4. Not very subtle, but perhaps suitable in a smaller scale for shirts. It is interesting to note how the overlapping muted pink appears quite different in hue on the grey and yellow (greyer and duller on the yellow): a clear example of colour interaction!

Yarn Wrap #5

The colour palette of this wrap appears soft and gentle with pale hues of toffee, pink, green and teal, but has a touch of ‘poison’ with the complementary hues of red and blue to enliven it. I think that these colours have the potential to work well in a patchwork quilt or as a palette for wall covering or furnishing fabrics with a soft, matt appearance.



One thought on “Coursework Part Three: Exercise 3.2 Translation Through Yarn”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s