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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Well, That Did Not Work So Hot

When you're experimenting not everything works. In fact very few things are successful the first second or even a third try. But there is useful information in every try. Recognizing it might be tricky. More important you find ways to refine your experiments for the next trial.

Reasoning that ancient Egyptians probably did not have nichrome wire to fire faience on and yet they turned out exquisite articles made from Egyptian paste; they must have some technique of keeping the glaze from sticking. Probably something very common in their environment. Perhaps it was fired on a reed or stick. A burn match will hold its shape, it may even support the weight of something as little as a bead. It may sound silly now but it was given a try.

A number of organics were tried, bamboo reeds, little wood twigs, leaf stems, hey even spaghetti was employed. The spaghetti failed miserably; it cracked the beads half lengthwise as you may clearly see in this image here. The bamboo reed burnt away leaving just the tiniest whisper of ash; however when the bead fell away it hardly stuck to the substrate it all. We may have discovered something here.

It's worth trying again for other reasons too. Some nice uniform bead holes were formed using this "technique". Also noticeable is when spanding the kiln furniture the beads stayed in place if they were long enough. Definitely worth trying again!

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