The Faience Necklace

Necklace Photo (Copyright The Egypt Exploration Society)

Faience Necklace
(Copyright The Egypt Exploration Society)

After Mary Chubb had her moment of epiphany with the tile fragment I reinvented for The Fragment of Tile That Started It All in that Bloomsbury basement, she returned to the office, and her first task was to re-type a recently-arrived Director’s report, since it arrived in no state for publication (“Typed on camelback in a sandstorm“, as she described it).

The first item described in that (shockingly mis-typed) report is a necklace of faience, made using rows and rows of faience shapes in different colours, shaped to depict fruits, leaves, and flowers.

Watercolours of the Faience shapes

Watercolours of the Faience shapes

Naturally, I want to embroider a piece that will recall that necklace. Equally, as you can see in the photograph, if I were to attempt to embroider the whole thing, it would either have to be huge, or it will risk being tiny, cramped, and not doing justice to the enchantment she describes.

More Watercolours of the Faience shapes

More Watercolours of the Faience shapes

So I have decided that I am going to create a design that shows only a segment of the necklace. So far that has been hard to do.

I have tried several draftings and redraftings, and these watercolour fragments are the beginnings of the fourth (or is it the fifth?) attempt to devise something reasonable. I am trying to learn the shapes of the various elements – lotus petals, bunches of grapes, cornflowers, dates, palm leaves.

What happens next is for another time. I may well be back once more to primary school, cutting out and sticking down pieces of paper.

I’m so keen to  use all my shiniest threads to depict the faience that I’m becoming very short-tempered with myself…!


  1. Glenis says:

    Back off. 🙂
    Seriously, getting cross won’t help. Tell yourself you can get to use all your shiny threads in 2016. That gives you 3 weeks (give or take a celebration or 2) to work on the design without pressure and get it right. If you finish early, that’s a bonus, but don’t tell yourself that’s an option. Aim for 2016…

  2. Lady Fi says:

    I like the colours and the shapes… Hope all goes well.

  3. jenclair says:

    It will come together in good time. I do understand the feeling of impatience, the desire to begin the fun part, though!

  4. Sue Jones says:

    I can see you’ll have trouble with scale if you do the whole necklace in detail, and the individual beads are interesting shapes in themselves. But that fan-shaped curve is so very nice. Maybe it wants to be two projects?

  5. Yes, preparation is everything – but what a pain it is at times! x

  6. Penny says:

    Preparation and patience – the two guidelines for any project. For me the patience is the most difficult part. I know what I want to do and I want to do it NOW — but often don’t have the vaguest idea of what form it will take.

  7. Looking challenging…. 😉

  8. Carolyn says:

    Oh dear, this is going to be one of the challenges. You might just have to start stitching and let the needle decide the shape and form.

  9. karen says:

    love these watercolour ”workings” Rachel…they would be lovely in a book….

  10. Susan says:

    That’s going to be an interesting recreation. I don’t know that I have the patience but the drawings themselves are beautiful, if you never did the needlework.

  11. I can see how creating your own interpretation of the necklace would be challenging. I look forward to seeing what you eventually come up with.

    And thanks so much for linking up the Glittering Gentleman’s nightcap. It is a work of art. And I loved the story of your doll. I’ve got a couple like that, that need clothes. One still has her hair but the other is kind of frightening from my very young attempts at being a hairdresser!

  12. Louise says:

    This sounds like an absolutely fascinating project! The image of the faience necklace really grabs me, for reasons I can’t put my finger on but I’m sure you understand. I look forward to seeing how it turns out!