Starting On The Crock of Gold Hoard
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.
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.
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!