Crock of Gold Hoard – Those Wretched Shadows!

All Unpicked

All Unpicked

When you last saw the Crock of Gold Hoard (here), it included some highly unsatisfactory shadows, and my mother and myself had pounding headaches and crossed eyes from deciphering the original photograph.

It took several hours of frustrating, painstaking unpicking, aided by tweezers, but I managed, and then started on the ground while I pondered the shadows. There are some sticks or something on the ground, and I want the ground to look sandy and speckled so I’m going to use seed stitches to create the sandy, gravelly look.

Simplified Shadows

Simplified Shadows

There followed still more headscratching, sketching and puzzling (including experiments with photo-editing and watermarking on my tablet computer – that’s why there are two different copyright notices in this post!),

This example isn’t quite right – the shadow of the pot isn’t long enough, but it does demonstrate quite clearly that I’ve decided to simplify the shadows very considerably.

Shadows drawn in chalk

Shadows drawn in chalk

Since I’m removing the archaelogist and his hands, as well as the confusing shadow of the post which is out of the picture, I’ve decided I might as well simplify as many of the other shapes as I can. As I’ve said before, I’m not a needlepainter, and I’m not aiming for complete realism. Still, getting the shadows right will do much to make the design seem realistic enough.

I’m sure the detail of the shadows will change, but I’ve now drawn in an outline of those simplified shadows in chalk. I’ve even remembered that the pot has shoulders and a raised rim.


  1. Lady Fi says:

    Good luck – I’m sure you’ll get where you want to be!

  2. Susan says:

    ahhh….shadows are tricky. i can see you’re on the right track. This piece is going to be fabulous…I just love that crock!

  3. karen says:

    I am sure you will succeed here…your determination and perseverance is not in any doubt. More importantly this is a beautiful piece of work that will be enhanced further by your skill. You will get it right I know it.

  4. Penny says:

    I’m quite proud of you– I would never have remembered (or thought) to account for the lip of the crock. Its going to be wonderful when you’re finished and well worth the thought and work you (and your Mom) have put into it.

  5. Carol says:

    It’s getting there–I can see how those shapes work better. The bottom right photo has shadows inside the rim that indicate the lighting direction you used for that picture would generate shadows similar to the chalk outlines you’ve drawn if the pots were real (although they look real enough!).

  6. Carolyn says:

    Shadows are always problematical. When I was teaching technical drawing (Graphics) this was one of the hardest things for students to achieve when they were rendering a drawing. Because you have so many light sources in this photograph you may find that taking your main elements away from the photo and then applying your own light source will give a better result. It will not look exactly like your photo, but it might be easier to stitch. Keep at it, you will find a good result I’m sure.

  7. Anita says:

    Shadows are always a problem.It was interesting to read your perspective.I’d like to share something which I’d learnt in my art class. To figure out the direction and size of a shadow place a similar shaped object making sure the direction of the light source where you want it to be and observe the angle of the shadow and then draw it. I think you’ve mentioned about some chip work filling,right? In that case you’ve to consider the reflection of the gold too while working on the shadow. If you don’t want to do needle painting then you can always use different number of strands to create depth just like we do in black work. Anyways that’s my idea and am sure you must have come up with a good one by now.Looking forward to see more of this wonderful project.

  8. You are an inspiration! I cannot believe the lengths you are going to on this to get it right – well, actually, having seen your past work, I can! Am sure it will be stunning in the end. The nightcap is looking wonderful too – lovely rich colours. xCathy

  9. I’m catching up on a few posts – great progress, and I’m not surprised that shadows are hard, especially as you’re changing somewhat from the original image structure. I really love what you’ve done with the rim of the big pot, and I’m confident you’ll find a solution you’re happy with for the shadow.

  10. As always I am impressed by your attention to the smallest detail!! Your work is stunning – I am so looking forward to seeing the proggress on this piece.

  11. Susan says:

    You’re so lucky to have your mother there to get a headache with…