Egyptian paste/faience

Egyptian paste, also know as Egyptian faience, was developed in Egypt between 2686-2181BC. The Egyptian word for faience was 'tjehenet'.

The earliest known production of Egyptian paste/faience in Egypt was discovered at Abydos and from the evidence found, was for the manufacture of beads and amulets.

It was increasingly used for making component parts for jewellery, amulets and many of the small artefacts found in the ancient tombs such as ushabti figures, scarabs and animal gods including the well known blue hippopotamus.
 
The blues and greens had great symbolism and represented the colour of the Nile, the heavens and the reeds of the Nile (life, rebirth and good luck).

It is a self-glazing clay and requires only one firing.
 
The intense blues and turquoises are achieved by adding cobalt and copper oxides to the mixture, which I use when making up my clay. This adds to the authenticity of Abydos jewellery.  The resulting 'clay' is notoriously difficult to work with as it has very little plasticity, particularly when making small detailed pieces.