Friday, May 27, 2011

Flying to Luxor and stitching peek

Sheesh! Have I really gone over a month without posting on here? Ugh. Where does the time go? There's been a lot going on here recently. So much that I'm not going to try to put it all in one post. Instead, I'll just have to promise myself not to wait so long before I update again. Today, I'm going to share some layouts and stories about our first day in Luxor, and share a little about my progress on my reproduction sampler. Then tomorrow, I hope to blog about Gus the cat's misadventures and our Nile cruise ship.

We left Cairo early in the morning for our flight to Luxor. Security was verrry different from what we experience here in the US. Having the metal detector go off didn't necessarily mean that you were going to be searched, and our tour guide distributed boarding passes at random. I ended up with a pass for someone named "Osama"! The flight was a little warm, but short. And the airport toilets made me thankful that I'd followed my guidebook's recommendation to bring my own toilet paper! As we walked out of the airport, Alton caught sight of a sign at the airport that he thought was kind of funny. So naturally, we have a picture of it that I have included in this tag:

"Smile You are in Luxor International Airport" the sign says. Who smiles because they are in a particular airport? Really, the sign was kind of funny. Here's the entire layout I made, documenting my impressions of the city of Luxor:

After the filth and dirt of Cairo, the cleanliness of Luxor was striking. And I was amused to see a few buildings that were strongly reminiscent of the Mos Eisley spaceport in Star Wars. I guess I now know where Speilberg got his architectural inspiration!
From the airport, we drove straight to the Karnak Temple complex. This place was huge! As we approached we crossed a bridge that went over an avenue of sphinxes that stretches from Karnak Temple to Luxor Temple. In ancient times, you could walk the sphinx lined avenue for two miles to travel between the two temples. Here's my layout showing what some of the excavated avenue looks like now:

I colored the flowers on the layout with some glimmer mist. I wanted to capture some of the brightness and heat of the day in this layout. Because, let me tell you, Luxor is where we began to experience the REAL heat! I didn't check on the temperature every day, but I suspect that we were in the triple digits from the time we arrived til the time we returned to Cairo. The hottest temperature that we discussed during our time in southern Egypt was 113 degrees. Think about walking around a hot desert in that heat! Anyway, here's a closeup of the flowers I colored:

I made a two page layout to show some of what we saw inside the temple complex. I regret the decision to splash ink across the layout. But I do not regret it so much that I am going to redo the pages. The horizontal photo shows the view from the entrance to the complex, and the remainder of the photos are from various locations inside the complex. It was such a huge space! And do you see the obelisk in one of the bottom photos? Originally, there were two obelisks standing there. If you are familiar with the obelisk in Paris, France known as "La Madeleine," then you have seen the mate to the one pictured in my layout.

One of the things that I had most been looking forward to seeing at the Karnak Temple was the hall of giant columns. I was familiar with the location mainly through my readings of Elizabeth Peter's "Amelia Peabody" series. There are a couple of scenes in her novels where her heroine or a member of her family finds themselves wandering through that forest of stone columns, either attempting to spy on others within the hall, or trying to evade a nefarious villain. I love those books, and I was thrilled to no end to get to see how truly easy it would be to stand behind one of those columns and be completely unknown to persons just a few feet away! Alton caught a photo of me standing against one of those columns, and I used it to make this layout to express the awe I felt standing in that space:

In other news, I have been working on my reproduction sampler whenever I get the chance these days. I have decided to stitch my piece on 40 count "straw" hand-dyed linen from Weeks Dye Works. The original is stitched on a much coarser count of linen, but I wanted to shrink my piece down from the original, giant size of the finished design. I am using mostly NPI silks, with a couple of Au Ver a Soie silks and one Belle Soie added to the mix. She used a lot of colors in her sampler, some of them for less than 10 stitches! I don't know how you feel when you first start a piece, but for me, there's always this sense that I'm holding my breath, waiting to see if I've completely botched it with my fabric or fiber selection. The good news on this piece is that the colors of the flower border just sing on this piece of fabric. The bad news is, the photo I am going to leave you with doesn't do justice to piece itself.

I hope the finished piece will look as pretty as the beginning does! Ooh, I just looked out the window, and it is black as night out there, even though it's only 3pm. I think that's my sign that it's time to get off the computer. Happy creating everyone!


Margaret said...

I can't wait to see your reproduction -- it looks so pretty! Fun stuff on Luxor. :D

Mary Jo said...

Sounds like an amazing trip!
And you are going to have some great layouts to document it :)