The Amarna Family Group – getting started

Making a Start
Making a Start

I’ve decided to work spiral Or Nué, as I did for Christus Natus Est, rather than the straight version I used for the Hittite Amulet. It creates more of a sense of movement, and that is very much in keeping with Amarna period art.

That, however, meant that I had to work out where to start the spiral, and as I mentioned on the first video, I had several options. The first was simply to start in the middle of the piece, but I felt that would either look very static, or, almost worse, create a rather 70s psychedelic vibe, not at all appropriate! The next three options could all be taken as emphasizing interpretations of the story of Akhenaten and Amarna. One of these was to centre the spiral in the centre of the Aten – but to be honest, for all Atenism is seen as one of the very earliest adventures in monotheism, that didn’t seem to me to reflect the stories that filter through Mary Chubb’s book.

Progress in Week 2
Progress in Week 2

So then I had a choice between centring the spiral on Akhenaten’s head, to reflect the idea that he espoused Atenism as a political ploy to break the power of the priests of Amun at Thebes, or centring it on his heart, to suggest that he believed he’d received a genuine religious revelation. You can see which I chose!

The second video is here, and will show you some of the progress to this point, as well as my musings as I stitch. I have a few more quandaries to sort out, but you’ll hear about those in the next episode, as I tackle them. As before, if you have any questions about what I’ve said in the video, or what I’ve done, please ask, and I will do my best to give you a sensible and useful response!


  1. Lady Fi says:

    Like the new look of your blog!

  2. Sue Jones says:

    Yes, the new blog look is very pleasant.

    I am surprised how much the spiral has grown since the last video. Of course, that’s because the first rounds are comparatively short – it is going to slow down considerably from here on! You will need a lot of patience, and the multiple needles will become even more of a challenge. Especially when you get to the sun’s rays and the pleats. I don’t envy you!

    A couple of things I was pondering during the video: firstly, your comments regarding the economy of or nué made good sense. Using no gold on the back, except for the bare minimum of starting and ending new threads, makes the technique far more economic than I had realised. Much in the same league as the underside couching that was used on medieval pieces (but without its flexibility, so less useful for garments). I was also wondering idly if one could have more than one spiral on the same piece and just how one would cope with the places where they met. Not that I am suggesting you do this, it was just a passing thought – or a couching one in this case.

    I shall await the next post and video with interest – you will be well into the complexities by that time. It is looking good so far.

  3. So much is new to me in this blog post. I had no idea of the spiral technique, I don’t know anything of the history of the craft, or of the subject you are portraying, even the new blog design is new – and very nice!

  4. How lovely to see the next video, it is like watching a stitching meditation, and so interesting to see how you handle those multiple threads. As you near the edges of the image I’ll be further interested to see if you plunge or fold back on yourself (I’m assuming the latter). This is a real education for me in goldwork and or nue, and so lovely to see your previous pieces using this technique. I wonder how long you stitch for and whether you use a magnifier at all. My eyes would find all that very difficult without assistance!

  5. Meredithe says:

    You are so clever! Looks amazing already

  6. Jen Mullen says:

    I love watching the progress in your work. The heart-felt spiral looks great.