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Amy Waller

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  1. Wanted to update this thread with a link to a facebook page that shows the work of modern day Egyptian faience (Iranian faience) potters: خرمهره kharmohreh. Blue beads. Iranian Faience This post shows fired beads still embedded in the cementation glazing powder: fired beads in cementation glazing powder This page appears to be public and available for all to view, so you shouldn't need a facebook account to view it. Lots of photos of beads and more with that brilliant blue glaze.
  2. Just wanted to second some of what's been said above. I have an AIM 84J test kiln, purchased secondhand a few years ago. (I bought it from the original owner, who never actually used it.) It's a manual kiln; I added a plug-in digital controller later. It works great and I've never had any problems with it. The digital controller has made all the difference in controlling the firings - definitely worth it!
  3. Hi Reza, It is interesting to know that you are coming at this from a materials science point of view. You may already know this, but one author to look for is Pamela Vandiver. She has done a lot of research on Egyptian faience from a materials science point of view. In case it might help someone else researching Egyptian faience, here are two books in particular to look for (as far as I know, neither of these books is available in digital format): Ceramic masterpieces: art, structure, and technology (this is a great book on the production technology of all kinds of ceramics; though it is not specific to cementation glazing, it includes one chapter on the manufacture of an Egyptian faience chalice) and Ancient Egyptian faience: an analytical survey of Egyptian faience from predynastic to Roman times (although it is nearly 30 years old, Vandiver wrote an appendix on Egyptian faience technology that is very thorough and is still cited) Good luck with your work on this, Reza -- if you are able to share some of your findings with us, I hope you will.
  4. Hi Reza, I am very happy to hear that you are working on this! Hans Wulff is the person who observed and documented the cementation glazing process in Qom in the 1960s. (I should say he is the person who brought attention to this in the West -- maybe others have published information about this in Farsi or other non-Western languages? From what you've written it sounds like there are not many written resources about it.) Unfortunately, Wulff died shortly before the 1968 article I cited above was published. Here's an excerpt from a memorial article about Wulff: Wulff, in fact, had just come up with the first satisfactory description of that process for yielding a glaze or faience termed "Egyptian blue." In a recently published article he tells how he and his daughter had finally gained the confidence of these craftsmen of the Iranian holy city of Qom who manufacture the famous "donkey beads" that tinkle about the byways of Iran. To the surprise of Wulff's ceramicist daughter, the technicians of Qom did not glaze the beads in any manner known to her but instead appear to use a variation of methods of salt glazing that involve both complex physical and chemical laws. With the help of Cyril Smith of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Leo Koch of the Department of Geology of the University of New South Wales, Wulff's researches were completed and have just been published. They provide a glittering example of what can still be accomplished by bringing a trained and inquisitive mind to bear on the secrets of ancient technology before all the traditional lore that connects us to that technology will have vanished from our earth. (From Wertime, T. A. (1968). Hans Eberhard Wulff (1907-1967). Technology and Culture, 9, No. 3 (July, 1968), 459-461.) One notable thing about this excerpt is the fact that the writer manages to use three terms to describe donkey beads in a single sentence (glaze, faience, and Egyptian blue). As you may have already discovered, a wide variety of terminology has been used to described this ceramic product. This can make it confusing when you are researching it. I think for the most part archaeologists and other related researchers have settled on the term "Egyptian faience" (even though it may not have been originally invented in Egypt) or "ancient faience" or even just "faience." Your English is fine, by the way -- I am glad you found this forum and I hope we can be of help to you. Thank you for sharing the Farsi word for "donkey bead" -- I am glad to learn that. I would love to hear more about what you are doing, and I'm guessing others on this forum would, too. (I'm going to email you privately, too, to see if I can help with getting some more of this information to you.)
  5. I'm glad you liked the article, Marcia. Other than the beadmakers of Qom, Iran (here again is a photo of their donkey beads), the only person I know of who works with this technique is Jochen Brandt, and I don't really know a lot about his work. You can see some nice photos of a workshop he gave last year in Turkey here (hat tip to Ester Svensson). I would love to know about anyone else using this technique.
  6. Hi Reza, Since you quoted my response about cementation glazing, I'm guessing you might be interested in that. Cementation glazing involves placing small items (such as beads) in a container full of dry glazing powder. The glaze results from an interaction that occurs during firing between ingredients in the paste of the small item and ingredients in the dry glazing powder. This apparently ancient glazing technique was only (re)discovered and documented by researchers less than 50 years ago and there is not a lot of information available about it. The references I gave in my response above are the best, but they are not readily available in hard copy let alone online. Off the top of my head I can only think of one online document that might be helpful: Faience Technology by Paul Nicholson (See pages 6-7 for a description of cementation glazing.) Cementation glazing is one type of glazing of Egyptian faience (aka Egyptian paste). The other two are efflorescence glazing (the "self-glazing" that Marcia Selsor described that is most commonly associated with Egyptian faience) and application glazing (the painting on or dipping into a glaze slurry that many potters use today). Sometimes more than one glazing method was used on a single piece. Let us know if this doesn't answer your question -- I'm happy to try again!
  7. Just wanted to say that with the kind of glazing I'm talking about above -- cementation glazing -- the objects to be glazed are placed inside a container full of dry glazing powder. The glaze develops from an interaction between the object and the glazing powder during the firing. After the firing, the glazed objects break away from the remaining powder, which is friable and separates easily. This is one type of glazing of Egyptian faience (sometimes also called Egyptian paste) objects. Deb -- I wonder if your student tried this cementation glazing method, or if you are maybe talking about the kind of Egyptian paste in which the glaze is created by ingredients in the paste of the object itself without any additional glaze materials (also known as efflorescence glazing). Could you tell us more about what your student did?
  8. Here are some references with information about cementation glazing: Wulff, H. E., Wulff, H. S., & Koch, L. (1968). Egyptian faience: A possible survival in Iran. Archaeology, 21, 98-107. Kiefer, C. & Allibert, A. (1971). Pharaonic blue ceramics: The process of self-glazing. Archaeology, 24, 107-117. Tite, M. S., Manti, P., & Shortland, A. J. (2007). A technological study of ancient faience from Egypt. Journal of Archaeological Science, 34, 1568-1583. La Delfa, S., Formisano, V., & Ciliberto, E. (2008). Laboratory production of Egyptian faiences and their characterization. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 9, Supplement 1, e113-e116. And here is a web page with a photo of beads made with this method: Donkey Beads—Iranian and Egyptian Faience Hope this is helpful -- good luck with this!
  9. Not sure if this is what you're referring to, but there is a technique called "cementation glazing" that calls for placing small items such as beads in a container full of glazing powder. The powder nearest the items forms a glaze when it is fired. After firing, the glazed items break away easily from the remaining powder. This type of glazing is useful for items on which you don't want any firing marks or glaze-free areas (like beads) -- the glaze covers the item completely. This technique has been used for a long time in Iran; it is sometimes called the "Qom technique" after the city where it was observed in the 1960s. I've tried this a couple times with poor results -- I think I need to try it again. If this does interest you, I can provide some references with more information.
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