The Fragment of Tile That Started It All

Drafting the Lotus Flowers

Drafting the Lotus Flowers

Coloured Draft 1

Coloured Draft 1

At the beginning of her book “Nefertiti Lived Here“, which is the inspiration for my “Dreams of Amarna” project, Mary Chubb describes a fragment of glazed tile she found at the bottom of a case full of excavation plans one wet and miserable February morning. That fragment, a genuine artifact from the excavations being undertaken far away in Egypt by her employer, the Egypt Exploration Society, ignited in her a hunger to go to Egypt and see for herself. Her description is so lyrical and vivid, I can’t possibly fail to include a representation in my panels:

The background was an incredible, adorable, hedgesparrow blue, the glazing just high enough to give it the same shell-like glowing quality. Against this grew three lotus flowers; the slender curling stems just firm enough to hold up the swaying heads of the flowers, faintly lilac-tipped within their dream-green, fanshaped sepals.

First Definite Draft

First Definite Draft

Coloured Draft 2

Coloured Draft 2

Unfortunately, she doesn’t include a photo, or a drawing, or even an accession number for the find so I can track it down for myself, so I’ve had to devise my own!

I’ve been looking through my reference books and photos to find out how the lotus flower was depicted in ancient Egypt, and I’ve found that there seem to be two versions, one with individual petals, and one a little simpler and more stylised. I suspect that the more complex version is more likely to be Amarna-period,  so it’s a pity that my second coloured draft worked out better!

When I’ve settled on my design for the lotus flowers – and remember that these are only my first thoughts – I will need to work out how I can represent the broken edges of the  tile, and even what shape to make the fragment. I may yet find myself finding a surplus tile and breaking it to see what happens.

Or would that be taking research too far?


  1. Lady Fi says:

    Those coloured drafts are beautiful!

  2. Penny says:

    How can you ever take research too far? These drafts are wonderful – I like them both.

  3. karen says:

    I say break the tile…go for it. These studies are beautiful!

  4. Carolyn says:

    No that is not taking it too far. The more experimentation and research the more confident the stitching AND a better result. Love it.

  5. Terrie says:

    Your pursue of studies and research push you up to more creativities. Love to see your works, very inspiring.

  6. no such thing as too far. The colours are really dreamy!

  7. Gorgeous! Personally I love the many-petaled version, but I’m sure whichever you go for will look fabulous 🙂

  8. Susan says:

    Break the tile, of course!!! And I love the colors too…this is really coming to life RAchel. I just might have to read the book that has inspired it all so that I can really immerse myself in your artistic process. Wonder-ous!

  9. Your passion for this project comes shining through your post – and no, you cannot take research too far! I could do a whole post on the lengths I have been to (I shall think about that whilst I am on holiday!). Look forward to seeing the progress on this one. xCathy