Egyptian Paste (aka Faience)

Experimenting in all facets of Egyptian paste, mixing clay, construction techniques, firing solutions, and finishing ie. cold working is in the scope of our discussion. Perhaps we will have time to get around to some practical uses of Egyptian paste, but mostly research into what works will with this media and what does not.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Back to Paste!

This little Guy on our left here was supposed to remind me to do some experimenting with Egyptian paste and report back to the world on my findings. Well for the past five years he's been as silent as an Egyptian tomb. Five years ago this blog was started with a lot of enthusiasm and then just sort of fizzled out. Surprisingly, I did have one comment in those five years; So, I know at least one somebody out in this vast universe is following my adventures in Egyptian paste. There's still a batch, maybe two on my reagent shelf of Egyptian paste that I mixed up years ago. Add a little water and elbow grease and I'm good to go. If I don't report back in a fortnight or so it's this little guy's fault and none of my own.

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Blogger ajda said...

Anitra - you now have at least one more follower. I found you recently while searching for faience recipes. I live in Wales, UK, and make glass beads (lampwork) with a special interest in recreating old beads especially from the Roman and Viking periods in Britain. Following that interest I have started experimenting a little with faience and would love to learn more - Alan Davies

12:33 AM  
Blogger anitra said...

Hello Alan, from across the pond, you just have given this blog the infusion it needed. Now there is incentive to post more, knowing I have an audience of at least two. I'll try to get a segment up on bead racks and firing jigs tonight.


9:11 AM  
Blogger ajda said...

I'll just repeat part of my email so we can keep questions and answers together in one place...

I'm just about to fire my first attempts using the recipe you give on the blog. The main problem I've had so far is workability - the paste I've made falls apart wet and crumbles when dry. I'm using white silica sand - perhaps too coarse? I'm going to get some pieces of fine mesh to seive out some really fine stuff to see if it makes a difference. Instead of baking soda I've used a kind of washing soda with a chemical composition very similar to "natron" which seems to have been what the Ancient Egyptians used. In future I may try making soda ash from a plant that I know grows abundantly on the salt marshes nearby - Salicornia (Glasswort or Marsh Samphire) - which I've collected for many years to eat... delicious!

I'd also be interested to know how you arrange beads for firing - threaded onto nichrome wire for example? I've put a few bits just straight onto a piece of ceramic fibre matting - I'm assuming they'll stick to that and come out with little white beards... Do you treat the paste the same as you would a ceramic with glaze?

12:15 PM  
Blogger anitra said...

It surprises me that you were able to do anything with silica sand, that might be quite interesting to see, I hope you will share that with us. Anyway, you will want to use silica flour, around 325 to 400 mesh. That's why I mention wearing a respirator is essential for mixing glazes/clays.
If you can find some clay deposits in your marsh I just bet it would work with the addition of very few chemical modifications.
Your other questions will be answered on the blog.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Joia said...

Hi I am a ceramics major, and I've been working on finding a recipe to create a slip cast of Egyptian paste. I've tried just using the paste and placing it in a paster mold I created, yet the paste never came out and my plaster mold of a plant leaf was never seen again. I was curious to know if any of you had any ideas how I could use the paste to slip cast like we would for stoneware. Any ideas would be very much welcomed! Thank you all in advance!

11:44 PM  
Blogger Rakesh Soni said...

Dear Anitra

You are the first to pop on google if some one searches Egyptian paste.
I am 3 month old in field of ceramic and interested in sculptures. Recently I'm working in
terracotta and some one suggested Egyptian paste as a means for slip decoration. So I find you.
I was looking for shades varying from white to red to brown to black.
Addition of Which ingredient would give me that on terracotta surface.

If you have time pls have a look at my blog as well--
Rakesh Soni

10:48 PM  

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