Finally starting the Faience Necklace

Spiral layout
Spiral layout

When, after my holiday with the Hounds, I came back to the Faience Necklace designs I’d created with my painted cutouts, I found that the version I’d liked then no longer appealed. Instead, it was the various spirals that sprang out at me, so I began to play with them a little more, tweaking and varying the design.

I must remember paper cutouts as a future designing method. It makes it much easier to play with a lot of variants in a relatively short space of time!

Various Fabrics
Various Fabrics

Then I had to decide on a fabric. No, I hadn’t ironed the silk on the right. This was very much an improvisation! From left to right – a quilting cotton I used in “Loading The Felucca“, a leftover of the silk I used for the “Head of Ankhsenpaaten“, and a silk in a shade very similar to that used for the “Colossus of Akhenaten“. In the end I decided that the sandy print on the cotton would help to evoke that sand in which they were digging, and framed up. I’ve put a calico backing in in the frame, and attached the cotton over the top.

Outlining Done
Outlining Done

Since it’s winter, I’ve been working under my craft light, and it does rather wash out colours. I’m using Japanese flat silk (not sure why, it just seemed to be what I wanted to do), and I’ve started by hand-twisting some fine thread and outlining each element in reverse chain stitch.

This does two things – it covers the design transfer lines and it allows me to think about how I’m going to tackle it. Originally I was going to work each element in satin stitch, to echo the high gloss of the faience, but now I’m beginning to think more and more of using stitch to echo the natural elements the faience depicts. Remember what I said, when I finished the Hounds, about returning to my first love, the effects of stitch and thread?


  1. Sue Jones says:

    The outlining is very neat and colourful, so you are off to a good start on this one. If you want to do a variety of different stitches, why not? It will add another layer of visual and technical interest to the piece, both for the stitcher and for the viewer (and blog reader).
    Good quality, smooth quilting cotton is a pleasure to stitch on, and twisted filament silk is a pleasure to stitch with. I like the idea of suggesting the pieces being dug out of the sand.

  2. It’s interesting to follow your work. Using paper is a smart way when creating a design – easy to redo without wasting any fabric.

  3. karen says:

    I love your little cut outs, they are a work of art on their own. Do you keep a sketchbook? a record of your projects? You always carry out the most thorough investigations and I think a sketchbook or even a folder, a record for each one would be fabulous.

  4. Carolyn Foley says:

    Paper cut outs are a great way to simulate the design and work with scale of the piece.

  5. Jen Mullen says:

    I can’t wait to see your stitching on the Faience Necklace. As usual, it is nice to see your methods of designing and decision making–and then to see the transformation of needle and thread.

  6. Kathy says:

    I’m so looking forward to seeing this progress, I am in awe of anyone using flat silk – I bought some from Janet Cronin who teaches beautiful Japanese embroidery (and who is VERY stern about technique). I thought I might use some on Mesopotamia, but as soon as it touched my sandpaper skin it turned to Gonk hair!!!
    Also, I loved your grandmama’s embroidery, such treasure … AND I’ve realised you’re on FB and Insta – just not been paying attention.

  7. Meredithe says:

    Have fun with that!