Beading Back in Time Blog Hop – Ancient Egypt inspired!

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! 

Nefertari's tomb

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:  

Collected inspiration

1. Illustrated antique book - Dictionary of the Bible 2. Cigarette cards 3. My faience amulets 4. The working selection. What to choose!? 

 simple heart amulet

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. 

vintage PC "Lockets"

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

 

 

Beading Back in Time – Blog Hop Reveal

 (If you are looking for the Art Jewelry Elements April COM follow this link. Thanks! )

 

Beading Back in Time! Time to find the Tardis key, walk through a certain circle of stones, or fuel up the DeLorean… 

This quarter we are inspired by ancient history, “Early Human” which for the intents and purposes here will be prior to 3500 BCE. Now this time period resonates with me… I hve been drawn to the carved stone goddess figures since childhood.  If you want to get really careful with dating and art history this period is even before the famous cave paintings of Lascaux! So I thought for sure it would be goddesses that inspired this challenge! 

ancient goddesses

1. Venus of Willendorf 2. Venus of Brassempouy 3. Venus of Laussel 

Goddess work collage

My goddess tiles, and small sculptures. 

Goddess amulet planning

So I set aside a small simple stoneware goddess. She is bare clay, fired to ^10 reduction with a wash of iron oxide to give her a patina. Iron oxide is a naturally occurring pigment, just rust actuallly, and it was used to color stone and cave paintings of this era. I tried her with honey tones, with rugged chunks of labradorite, with craggy rough turquoise. And I havent made a decision yet. I have an existing piece ( shown bottom left above) where I paired a stoneware goddess with Roman glass, geode slices, bronze ammonites… and I wanted to do something different. We’ll see what I finally decide on. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

 Here is what I did end up with as my “Early Human” offering: 

Tab set in copper, this Marsha Neal cabochon is a dark clay body with a white “crusty” glaze. This already felt right, but its a spiral – an ancient motif that can embody change, journey, progression, life, cycles, it was perfect. I was drawn to use other ancient materials – a hollow shell that is reminiscent of bone, and a chunk of amber. Both bone and amber were used as adornments since… forever. 

Early Human amulet

I wasn’t sure I would have time to complete the necklace parts, but the Muse ( and the clock! ) cooperated: 

Seed pods and chunky howlite connect the copper chain to the sari silk. Although rawhide would have been more historically accurate, the silk was the right fit  aesthetically. 

Final version!

 I love the pieces together, the spiral and the amber really sing to me. Please join us in this time travel inspiration, to our early human roots! 

All the participants links can be found at Sherri’s blog OR Lindsay’s blog. 

Thanks for joining us!