More on the Amarna Family Group

Daughter in blended thread
Daughter in blended thread

While I was stitching round and round in circles, I was also thinking about the rest of the design, and about what else it might be showing.

I had a thought that it might be nice to make a reference to the Cretan art that was so influential for the art of the Amarna period. One of the conventions of the art of ancient Crete was that women were depicted as light-skinned, while the men were shown as tanned, so I thought I would give that a little twist, and work the three daughters as light-skinned, and Akhenaten and Nefertiti as tanned, thus “bookending” the scene.

Daughter in Plain Light Silk
Daughter in Plain Light Silk

So I blended a lighter colour and got started on Daughter Number 1.

Only to decide I really didn’t like it, order some more flat silk, and try again. This is the lighter shade of Akhenaten’s skin colour, and as you can see, it is too light. It barely shows against the gold, and at that, the photo shows it better than it showed in real life – I had real trouble seeing it to stitch.

So that wouldn’t do, would it?

Daughter Unpicked Again
Daughter Unpicked Again

The next thing I tried was a blend of the light and dark skintones, and as you can see, there isn’t even a photo of that!


Unpicked again.

The videos are of course somewhat beyond this point – Episode 16 – “On the satisfaction of pattern building and the avoidance of confusion” is now available. Do have a look!


  1. Sue Jones says:

    The drawing has outlines and a white background, which makes the pale shade work. If you had used a gold tone and no outline, I think the lack of contrast would have been much more obvious and saved you a lot of unpicking. Gold can look bright and light or dark and dull, but most of the time it is mostly middling, like the silk you are attaching it with, and that is obviously a poor contrast for those pale, skinny daughters.

  2. I have problems falling in love with an idea that makes sense intellectually but doesn’t work in real life. You have to be ruthless at times!

  3. Jen Mullen says:

    Oh, dear. Not all experiments go as planned.

  4. Lady Fi says:

    Oh dear! You live and learn and sew and re-sew…

  5. Carolyn Foley says:

    I hate it when things don’t work out but that is where learning happens.

  6. Meredithe says:

    Oh, how frustrating for you! You’ll come up with a solution though, I know.

  7. karen says:

    such beautiful details and the patience to unpick is a skill in itself…

  8. melissa says:

    Your work is gorgeous! But I had no idea until seeing video just how fine and delicate it was – it’s amazing. I love close-ups, but they can be deceptive, making even Ayrshire embroidery look heavy. Not!