Starting On The Crock of Gold Hoard

Photo (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society)  And Sketch

Photo (courtesy of the Egypt Exploration Society) And Sketch

I’ve already written about the historical background for the Crock of Gold hoard, and described two possible planned “patches” based on the idea. Now, what with completing the Map of Amarna, I have energy and enthusiasm to start on a first representation of the discovery of the hoard.

I began with one of the photos that the Egypt Exploration Society was kind enough to let me copy for my reference material. The sketch that I worked from it has eliminated such details as the archaeologist’s hands, the confusing shadows cast by items and people outside the frame, and even the splinters of wood that the pot is sitting on. I can add such details to my stitching as I go along, but for transfer to the fabric I want something that is as simple as possible.

Sketch Transferred

Sketch Transferred

Since this panel is going to include gold and silver chipwork to represent the ingots in the hoard, I’ve used calico to back the flimsy sandy overdyed turban cotton that I’m using for the main background fabric. I transferred the design using the prick-and-pounce method, and then gave the lines a little more staying-power with a quilter’s pencil.

Starting the Spiral Trellis Stitch

Starting the Spiral Trellis Stitch

I’ve decided to work this version of the discovery at the same size as it appears on the photograph. I may decide that this is too large and I need to work a smaller version – since I had that fright in looking at the borders, I’m acutely aware that some of the pieces I work will be classed as “explorations” or simply mounted separately.

I’m working the pot in spiral trellis stitch, using a fairly heavy silk thread, a Silk Twist of medium thickness from Mulberry Silks. There are several close shades in the pack I have (it’s called “Old Cotswold”) and I shall be swapping between them. Maybe not entirely randomly, but close. I’m aware that this risks looking more like a woven basket than a terracotta pot, but the other obvious choice, I think, would be long and short stitch curving over the pot, and that risks looking too polished. As I am stitching I will be able to think about other possibilities, and if this ends up as an “extra”, I will be able to tackle the smaller version with a much better understanding of the shapes and design elements involved.

It’s precisely this sort of challenge that brings embroidery to life for me. I love picking stitches for what they might remind me  of and how they might illustrate the elements I have in mind. Perhaps it won’t surprise you that my favourite painters are Impressionists rather than exponents of photo-realism!


  1. coral-seas says:

    You are very skilled at selecting just the right stitch for the texture or to illustrate an element.

    I find new projects very exciting, even other peoples and I love watching the choices you make and how the project develops.

  2. Lady Fi says:

    Good luck with this challenge.

  3. Penny says:

    Its always inspiring to read your plans and watch each stitch as its laid down ever so carefully by you. This is going to be a real treat – turning a picture of a treasure into a stitchery treasure!

  4. karen says:

    you have such a vast knowledge of individual stitches that I am certain you will find the right one. I hope you enjoyed the Lake District despite the rain. It was quite nice when we went but then again we were only there for an hour!

  5. Jan says:

    I love seeing you add to this project! This will be a challenge, but one that you will meet using your many stitching talents. I too love the Impressionists.

  6. I always learn so much from your posts. And as for bubbly, yes, any (reasonable) excuse will do!

  7. Carolyn says:

    I like the stitches you have choosen and look forward to seeing this piece progress.

  8. Such a fun idea 🙂 I love watching you work through these ideas & designs.

  9. Anita says:

    Interesting project ! Looking forward to see the progress…