Sketch of the week 5-Nitocris’ crown.

11 years, 3 months ago 27



This is a sketch for a project from 2006. This early doll Nitocris is a portrayal of a Egyptian pharaoh of the sixth dynasty who avenged the political assassination of her brother at the hands of traitors by inviting them to a banquet in a sealed room and then flooding it with Nile. Some stories say that she chose to remain inside and die with her victims while others claim that she committed suicide later. Her very existence is not a proven, historical fact, but since not many things from four thousand years ago are, I choose to believe in her life and death.

You can see significant differences between the sketch and the actual piece. Although a sketch is a good thing to have before embroidering a design with beads, I often deviate from it quite a bit. My beading style is very instinctive and tactile. I let my needle and my beads take me in the direction that feels right, regardless of the sketch, relying instead on my immediate sense of composition, color and shape. So, every bead embroidery session is a form of improvisation with changes, surprises and excitement about the evolution of the design.  Making up the design as I go is like discovering a secret, one bead, one stone, one pearl at a time. The process is incredibly slow but interesting at the same time because you feel that all that repetition is going to turn into something wonderful when it’s complete. And that makes it all worth it.

The monotony begins as soon as I finish the design on one side and start replicating it on the other. Repeating a pattern is definitely easier and less time consuming than figuring it all out, but it’s not very entertaining. And that’s why I never replicate beaded costumes: I’ve already discovered its secret and without that mystery, the bead-work is nothing but hundreds of hours of soulless repetition. And that is not worth my precious time.

27 Responses

  1. noxy says:

    I adore Nitocris, and I adore your beadwork. It’s so intricate and beautiful. I can understand your problem with repetition, and why you never replicate beaded costumes. If the future ever *calls* for “replication,” mayhaps you could deviate from the original, so that the “copy” is a one of a kind in and of itself, while also being similar to the original. Forgive me, I’m only suggesting because I’d love to see more of your beadwork, and so I’m looking for excuses. Haha. *hugs*

  2. Marina says:

    Noxy, I’ll try to do more beadwork.

    Also, I lost your your email. Could you drop me a line so that i can have it on record?

  3. It’s great to see the before and after, the way the piece matured and refined itself from sketch to creation. I love to read about your process, not working to a strict constricting pattern and step by step, allowing your intuition and the unexpected to guide you instead.

  4. aneemal says:

    Predictably, as an Egyptian, I love this piece :)

    I like that you are not inhibited by ideas of authenticity. The costume clearly relates, for example, to the colours and the fashions of that period (from what is known), but you’ve made it your own.

    Were you ever interested in designing fashion?

  5. annina says:

    your way of embroidery sounds magical! i can only imagine as i haven’t done it, but maybe it is a little like drawing a mandala and then filling it out, but instead of 2d it’s 3d.
    my favourite embroidery work of yours is Agnetha’s dress, i just love how those colours work together!

  6. Adam says:

    i like your work.

  7. Manu says:

    Great work Marina,
    i am really passionate about Egyptian art and this skecth about Nictocris is a real succès,i love the way you explain the story.
    Each of your dolls have a own personalisation, it’s probably part of your challenge to capture the subject before the creation.Bravo

    P-S : Thank you for the beautiful work you realize on my doll.

  8. helvella says:

    I think the reason I like your work so much, why I keep coming back to this site even though I do not especially care for dolls, is because of your most intricate works – the beading, the headdresses, the jewelry. I especially love how you use colors and textures in your beading.

  9. Crystal says:

    Do you ever do 2 or more beads at a time?

  10. miss LK says:

    When first looking at the sketch(without reading the words), I thought the headdress would actually be a formed or cast metal piece filled with color enamels and bezeled jewels of turquoise and coral, and sapphire.

    Both the sketch and the final beaded piece are beautiful!

  11. Airy says:


    I love your dolls.

    It is very beautiful and I loved it from the very first met.

  12. Gertrude says:

    LThvEv AFAICT you’ve covered all the bases with this answer!

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  22. BestElektrik says:

    This is REALLY???:
    “a sketch for a project from 2006. This early doll Nitocris is a portrayal of a Egyptian pharaoh of the sixth dynasty who avenged the political assassination of her brother at the hands of traitors by inviting them to a banquet in a sealed room and then flooding it with Nile” – ???

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