It has a been a supremely busy month! Clay Camp, Bead Fest preparations… and here we are at the reveal for the Beading Back in Time blog hop! Wish I had a Time Turner like Hermione! But I digress…
Early Civilization (3500 BC to 500 AD)
Really? How am I supposed to choose? Crete. Classical Greece. Rome. The Celts. Not to mention Babylon. Assyria. China. Japan. I decided to save Celtic as my favorite for the final hop. I wanted to challenge myself; many friends seemed to be leaning to Ancient Greece… I have chosen Ancient Egypt although it doesnt seem like a challenge! I have loved this time period and this culture since I was in grade school. I have taught numerous Egyptian themed lesson to ages 6-18. I have written papers on Egyptian amulets, their uses, and the traditional materials used. Phew. Now let’s make something!
Images from: House of Eternity, Getty publications
Tomb paintings from the tomb of Queen Nefertari show the deceased queen and various goddesses as she is guided into the Afterlife. We are all familiar with the heavy gold and bead collars favored at this time; and pectorals set with carved lapis scarabs, goddesses in carved carnelian… But it’s the amulets that fascinate me. Small, intimate talismans; prayers to the diverse dieties that were actively worshipped by all classes, all the time. (I wrote a series of post on amulets for Art Jewlery Elements a while back. Part 1 – Ankh and wedjet aye. Part 2 – Dietites, heart, tyet…Part 3 – faience or self glazing clay.)
So I gathered inspirations:
1. Illustrated antique book - Dictionary of the Bible 2. Cigarette cards 3. My faience amulets 4. The working selection. What to choose!?
I had a stoneware heart amulet – small, simple but interesting to me. I selected the sandcast blue beads to reference Egyptian use of lapis, and a few accent beads in carnelian. Its long, it falls over my heart – made of many small wrapped links in brass wire. While the piece is very simple, it is extremely wearable and has many layers of symbolism. Colors were especially meaningful in ancient Egyptian art.
Heart amulets: to the ancient Egyptians it was” the most essential organ… the seat of intelliegence, originator of feeling… storegouse of memory…” Andrews*
Clay: “primevel substance which recalls both the original creation and the ongoing process of life and fertility” (ie the annual Nile fllod) – Wilkinson*
Red: represents both fire and blood; energy/dynamism/power
Blue: the heavens and the flood; life and rebirth
But I had more ideas I wanted to try!
I have been working with this style mixed media piece for a while. (Sadly the class wasnt selected at Bead Fest this year.) They are polymer, and contain vintage images and antique watch crystals. The polymer is the bezel and the backing, and I handpaint each one in anywhere from 2-5 layers of oil, acrylic and Gilder’s paste.
The images are taken from a set of vintage children’s encyclopedias. I love the limited palette! (These WILL be available and more like them at Bead Fest this August. Artisan’s Alley #461)
Please take a few minutes to enjoy the other offerings! Easy arm chair or desk top time travel right here. Links available with our hostesses:
Lindsay Starr – Phantasm Creations
Sherri Stokey – Knot just macrame
Thanks for stopping by!
*Amulets of Ancient Egypt by C. Andrews. Page 72
*Symbolism and Magic in Egyptian Art by R. Wilkinson. page 94