Loading the Felucca

Loading The Felucca

Loading The Felucca

Here is another one of the photographs from the Egypt Exploration Society that I would like to represent in some way.

The expedition felucca was loaded with all the excavated finds and taken to Cairo so that the Cairo Museum Director could choose what would be retained for their collection. The carpenter spent weeks making special boxes to carry the more delicate finds, like Hatiay’s carved door lintel, and a large section of decorated wall plaster (more things for me to embroider!). Then everything had to be loaded on to the felucca…

First Layer

First Layer

I’ve decided to concentrate on the group carrying the packing case. Partly this is because the whole photograph is a little confusing and difficult to decipher in places, and partly because they rather drew my eye, and I want to experiment with appliqué. What I hope to do is “dress” each figure, so the folds of the fabric I use creates the folds in the garment. I have no idea whether this will work, but if I don’t try I will never know!

Last time I was at the Harrogate Show I found myself in unfamiliar territory, frequenting the patchwork stands, in search of suitable fabrics for the ground and the clothes. I’ve used a piece of silk dupion from The Silk Route for the river. It’s a pale grey-green, and I think I will have to find somewhere else to use it to pull it into the overall design properly, but it has a lovely subtle sheen that looks quite watery.  I’ve attached it around the edges using strands pulled from the weft, because I have nothing else suitable. The ground is a sandy cotton, doubled because I could see the silk through the first layer, and attached using a single strand of stranded cotton from my stash.

Threads For Packing Case

Threads For Packing Case

You last saw the fabric I chose for the packing case being used as the background for the Crock of Gold Hoard. It’s a flimsy overdyed turban cotton which won’t take much stitching without reinforcement, so I’ve backed it with a layer of white cotton to give it a bit more body.

Then I had a wonderful rummage in my stash, and pulled out a selection of silk and cotton threads to play with. The tubes are Mulberry Silks threads (also last seen in the Crock of Gold Hoard), and I’ve also laid out a linen thread, two Stef Francis stranded silks, and a couple of miscellaneous threads from I-Know-Not-Where.

This should be fun!


  1. elaine says:

    Love the green silk and the silks you have pulled! Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  2. karen says:

    adore the fabric and threads pictured here, such inspiring images. The group carrying the case caught my eye immediately too.

  3. Sue Jones says:

    This will be an interesting project to watch. I like the colours. I hope you’ll keep the silhouette and gangplank of the felucca, to give your porters somewhere to head for.

  4. coral-seas says:

    I really like the fabrics and threads, the green is lovely. The group carrying the case make an interesting composition. I look forward to seeing how yu get on with draping the fabrics for their clothes, it sounds like it should work and I am confident that you will find a way.

  5. Janice says:

    I read all this thinking only one thing…. I think this entire project, when you eventually complete it, will be worthy of display in the Egyptian Society (or whatever they’re called!) for a couple of months!

  6. cathydaniel says:

    Yes it will be fun and I can hear the excitement and enthusiasm coming through your ‘voice’ in your post! It’s a great little picture, full of interest and potential. A wonderful project for a new year as it involves you trying new ways of working! Keep us posted! xCathy

  7. Penny says:

    I love all of the fabrics and threads that you’ve chosen. Perfect colors and textures. I’m so glad that you’re featuring the ‘people’ because they are the ones that made this happen. I can’t wait to see the draped clothing – in fact I can’t wait to see the whole piece – I know its going to be lovely.

  8. I love how you can look at a photo and see an embroidery project! Beautiful threads – I still hoard silk threads – although I have used a lot of my fine Japanese ones on Mrs Billings.

  9. Carolyn says:

    What size is this piece going to be? Appliqué can be difficult with when you have small pieces to manipulate. My friend Pam Holland is reproducing the Bayeau Tapestry as a quilt using appliqué and you can find lots of tips on how to get realistic effects on her blog including videos of the process.

  10. Lady Fi says:

    What an ambitious and interesting project.

  11. Jules says:

    Good idea to focus on the figures carrying the packing case, as it’s easy to interpret as an aspect of ‘the dig story’. I’m enjoying learning about the dig as well as seeing the process.