The Antioch Mosaic

I would like the share the story of this piece of needlework that I created a few years ago

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You may recognize the eight squares within this piece as some of the cross stitch designs that I have available.  They were among the first that I put out when I created WorksByABC. Frankly, it was because of the creation of this needlework (a counted canvaswork piece) that I was inspired some time later to take my designing efforts, previously just used for my own personal purposes, and say, hey, maybe I can give this a go in the bigger world.

The needlework is my interpretation – shall we say reproduction? – in needle and thread of an actual mosaic from about 350 AD, found in the 1930s in Antioch, which is in modern day Syria.

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I have known this mosaic, in the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, for a long time.  Over ten years ago, I had the vague idea that the geometrical nature of the design would lend itself to a really neat piece of needlework.  But, it took some years for my designing abilities to catch up with my ideas.  Eventually, I decided to make my idea come to fruition.  During a particular visit to the museum, I took a number of pictures.  I returned home, took out graph paper, and began plotting away.  I also, of course, shopped for threads.

At the same time that I was working on the needlework side of this project, I also began researching the historical side.  Where had this mosaic come from? What was its historical background?  How had it come to the museum at Wellesley (my alma mater)?  At that time (and for 22 years total), it was hanging (yes, hanging!) on a wall in the Davis Museum.

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This was a picture taken during renovation work, so no other artwork was out. However, the person on the left give you a sense of the size of the mosaic.

I knew that it had been inlaid in the floor in its previous location, before that museum building was built, and I knew that the wall where it hung was specifically reinforced to handle the 10 foot by 10 foot stone mosaic.

There is so much more to share – both on the needlework side and the historical side, so more to come in my next blog post.

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