The Amarna Family Group – finishing the design

We left the design in a sort of semi-developed stage, and the next stage was to work out which border I was going to use…

Trying Borders
Trying Borders

So, the one on the right – no, the borders are too wide, and given the size I’m going to do it, they’ll take away too much of the design area from the family group. I do like that arrowhead design, though. I wonder where else I could put it?

Amarna Family
Amarna Family

I started playing around with the widths of the borders a bit more (computers are very useful for scaling fiddly things like this – more new tricks learned!), and ended up with something I think will work. You can see that there are some details I’ve not quite settled yet, and indeed, I think I’ve decided to reverse the colours in the vertical borders. The blocky colours come from having used the computer to produce a line drawing, and then coloured it in by computer as well.

Fabric with design in place
Fabric with design in place

The design is now transferred onto the calico, and coloured in with inktense blocks. Rather sloppily, I know, but none of this will be visible, and I will be tweaking the design as I go, in any case. This is just to give me a a better chance to keep track of which colour I’m intending to use where – that small section with Nefertiti and the two little girls on her lap was dismally confusing before I painted it!

I have begun to stitch, and just as I promised (threatened?), I’ve been recording my progress, and uploaded the first video to: It’s about twenty minutes long, spliced together from several files, because my camera kept switching off. I did say it would be a learning experience!

I hope it will be interesting, and maybe entertaining, for you all!


  1. Sue Jones says:

    Oh, yes, the coloured calico design works beautifully. Your fiddling around with borders has paid off. It looks like a tricky design for or nué because there is so much detail, but I know how you like a challenge!

  2. Mam says:

    I love those borders! Could we crotchet them into a shawl, embroider them on something – pillow case, tablecloth, birdcage cover. No, i’m not looking for work. The designs are just too good to waste.

  3. kathy says:

    How lovely to see you stitching and hear you talk about what you are doing, also to see how much detail you apply to the calico before you even begin – obvious when you think about it but I’ve never tried the technique. I knew a bit about or nue, having seen examples when Anthea Godfrey talked to our branch about her mother’s work, but I am intrigued even more now. What does strike me is that whilst you are mostly covering the gold, I assume there are still glints and glimmers to be seen, which give the embroidery a richer feel. Otherwise it seems a very expensive use of thread (I’m thinking here of when it was used in medieval embroidery).
    Must get my unfinished Becky Hogg goldwork project out and see if I can finish!!

  4. Lovely to watch you stitch and talk about the piece, Rachel!

  5. Oh, you have such a pleasant voice! It was lovely to see and hear you at work.
    I think the design, as it is very detailed, will need a lot of your attention, so don’t let the
    camera distract you.

  6. Lady Fi says:

    It’s looking amazing!!

  7. Meredithe says:

    Liking that border. Well done on the video.

  8. Jenny Mullen says:

    How interesting to hear you discuss the source of your work and your decisions!

  9. Carolyn says:

    Oh your video is so good. I’m jealous.