Monday, January 14, 2013

Dome Topped Casket

I finished the first dome topped casket last week and it is already safely in New York with its new owner. South Africa's shipping costs are quite high and lately DHL, a worldwide courier has dropped their prices here that makes it an affordable option. I love the fact that I can track the parcel through each airport on their website, I posted this one on Wednesday morning, it departed Johannesburg on Wednesday evening, arrived in London the next morning, went to Germany on Thursday evening (I think the planes to the USA from London was full), arrived in New York at 7:15 am on Friday morning and was delivered just before noon. Pretty good I think, I wonder if the casket enjoyed its world trip ;-)

Here you can see the casket all closed up, it is 30mm (1 3/16") wide by 36mm (1 7/16") high.

With the top lid open, they loved to put a picture front to back in this tiny compartment, it would then reflect the right way in the mirrors. The caskets were generally stitched by girls between the ages of 12 to 15 and it definitely had a play factor to it too.

With the second lid open too, getting it to stay like this is a fine balancing act :-)

View from the front.

The top compartment reflecting in the mirror of the domed lid.

With the sliding panel, ink tray and pincushion out.

And with all the little drawers out.

It is going to take a few months to do the stitching, having the final dimensions of the casket, I sat over the weekend and worked out the total amount of stitches needed to cover the casket, around a whopping 46000 stitches, WOW! I worked out that it takes me about an hour to stitch a 160 stitches, so that means a total of about 290 hours of stitching time. I can only stitch about two hours a day on this fine count, I don't want to over strain my eyes, so I have had to accept that getting to a finished casket is going to take longer than I thought, so what else is new, I really should know that by this time, as every project so far has taken longer than I thought it would. Now if only I could add another 8 hours to my day, maybe things would work out in real as in my mind:-)

I have started the back panel of the casket right next to the side panel, I will just fold it at the corners of the casket. I think that one long strip will be easier to handle than three tiny pieces of stitching, the empty space between the panels will be covered by I think a flat silk ribbon as they used flat tapes way back in the 17th century. My casket is based on this one in the MET museum and tells the Bible story of Joseph, the panel on the left shows Joseph with his aged and dying father Jacob, Joseph promised Jacob to take him out of Egypt and bury him with his forefathers and I think this is what is happening in this scene. The back panel shows Joseph running away from Potiphar's wife and Joseph then in prison with Pharoah's chief baker and wine taster. You can find the story of Joseph in the last few chapters of Genesis, I went and read it again to figure out which part of the story each panel depicts.

Have a wonderful week everyone


Helma said...

Wonderful, Elga what a progress.
And your embroidery of the casket is beautiful . I can recognize the story of Jacob. I can't wat to see the next panel.
Happy stitching this week!


mcddiss said...

me alegro de que tu envio haya llegado bien a su destino, ese tapiz es precioso y espero verlo terminado pronto



Dorien Litjes said...

Dear Elga,
What a lot of work !! But it's wonderful. That embroidery !! What a lot of work. It's amazing!You're a real artist !
Hugs Dorien

latchkey and jonquil said...

This has been such a fascinating evolution of such a wonderful piece - and what a journey it had to New York! I'm glad you could track it - I hate the moment I put my hardwork into the hands of the postal service...

I loved the piece that Needleprint did about you, though I was sad to read that you have limited this edition to only 20 and they are all pretty much taken, as I take rather a long time to save up!

Good luck with the hours of petit point - I love the story you have chosen to embroider,


Giac said...

Hello Elga,
That cetainly is a lot of stitches! wow, it looks absolutely beautiful. Everything you touch really does turn to gold.
I can't wait to see it finished!
Big hug,

Catherine said...

All words fail to express my awe of your work on this casket. Your stitching is just beautiful Elga. I am going to love it when it is finished.

Whom ever is stitching the one you sent to New York, is a VERY lucky lady. I hope you will share her finished piece with us too. XXXXX

Teruka said...

wonderful piece! I love it

Caseymini said...

One word. Amazing! No. Make that two. Amazing and beautiful!

AM said...

Wow great work, so much detail.

Sandye said...

Those are beautiful. Are you selling the caskets?


woow great :)

miraclechicken said...

This is a crazy-beautiful undertaking :)And you are doing a fantastic job, I love it! The stitching just blows me away---

Irene said...

What an amazing piece of craftsmanship this is. I have so enjoyed your progress during the make and I envy your patience with the embroidery.

Fi.P said...


I am in awe of your work. Each time I come here I am amazed at the time and dedication you give your work, just incredible. What fun to track your parcel, it's almost like game to see it go back and forth like that.

Your embroidery is so beautiful,290 hours is such a lot of work. I can't imagine the cost of owning one of these beautiful pieces, yes the thought did run through my mind but 290 hours for the embroidery, never mind the casket! It's beyond my price range.....; )

Well done Elga!!

ML Fi xx

Sanschichis said...

Ce cabinet est étonnant, quelle précision! Quand à la broderie, elle me laisse sans voix! 90 points par inch! 35 à 36 points au centimètre!!! Magnifique!
Voilà une année qui commence bien! Tous mes voeux pour qu'elle continue ainsi!

John said...

Elga, that is drop-dead gorgeous! I SO covet your exemplary stitching skills.

Idske said...

There aren't enough superlatives for your casket! The embroidery is just beautiful. It's never about finishing quickly, it's the end result that has to be perfect and if that takes half a year so be it!

I do hope we will be able to see some of the other finished caskets, as well as yours, in the future...

Thanks for sharing a very special project!

Fabiola said...

Your casket is an original masterpiece.
Bye Faby

Ilona said...

I am in awe, Elga, speachless, amazing work!! Your skills are fantastic! And there are still so many hours to go for the embroidery work, which seems already gorgeous so far.
I agree with Idske: I would love to see one of those caskets completely finished at the time it is finished :D!
Happy stitching for so many hours, Elga.
Hugs, Ilona

Elga said...

Ilona, I will be in Amsterdam from 1-4 June this year :-)