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.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Small Hole Beads

Looking at the faience from ancient Egypt, one has to wonder how they crafted such little beads. All of my attempts at piercing tiny beads, ended with a crack that was larger than the hole. How did the ancient Egyptians do it?

It can be done; we know that for certain by examining museum pieces, but how? What did the ancient Egyptians have to work with? Skill, a lot of time and bronze tools is the answer to that, but not much else.

That's what got me to thinking the answer had to the simple. Knowing that nothing organic survives at 1000°C (1800°F), a few pea size balls of Egyptian paste were threaded onto pine needles. These were dried leaning against the wall of a ceramic dish, in order to let it dry from all sides and place it into kiln without disturbing the glaze surface. It was fired pine needles and all. Much to my surprise, this experiment worked splendidly!

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