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
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