It occurred to me that now would be a good time to create some diagrams to show the design ideas that I have, so that when I refer to “backgrounds” or “side panels” it is clear what I mean.
The basic fabrics are dress-weight linens, one in a sandy colour (the High Desert is not that far away from the site) and the other two are in different turquoise shades, rather like faience.
I have not decided how wide the side panels will be, or how they will be attached. In some cases the design elements will be stitched separately (as the Faience Hippopotamus was) and then applied as a patch, and in others they will be stitched straight onto the base cloth. Again, I am not sure how I will decide what happens in each case. At present the project is progressing on those bits that I have made a decision on, and the more difficult matters are being left to one side.
John Pendlebury was fascinated by the medieval period as well, and over dinner the first evening they were at the site, Mary Chubb describes how they doodle a coat of arms for the dig. When I was a teenager I was fascinated by heraldry, so that was definitely going to be part of one of the panels; the fez is for an official at the Cairo Museum who acted as the intermediary between the Egypt Exploration Society and the Museum. The violets spring from Mary’s efforts to learn Arabic. More about that when I get there!
In reading the book, one feels as though Mary is haunted by the leading characters of the past – Akhenaten and his Queen, Nefertiti. She even finds herself imagining a visit by Nefertiti to the Dig House in the days when it was merely one of the houses of Aketaten. That is why all the activity on the panels will be overlaid by a faded “head shot” of either Akenaten or Nefertiti, screenprinted onto the finest and most transparent gauze I can find. I may decide to offset these a little so that the heads are over the tawny linen and all the bright elements around the outside have only the merest veil over them.There’s going to be a finishing problem right there, because I want the gauze to hang in front of the panels and not be stretched over them.
Still, we all like a challenge, don’t we?