Tutankhamun pectoral (18th dyn) Winged scarab, Isis,Nephthys, djed pillars, ureai, sun disk
My kids and I have been following one of our favorite children's authors, Jason Reynolds, on Instagram. Jason Reynolds is currently the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. We read and love the book he wrote, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks. He is incredibly inspiring for young people and adults too.
Jason Reynolds does a writing activity on instagram called #writerightrite and gives you interesting and investigative writing prompts. The other day he did an activity about ekphrastic, which means to write about art. Any art. Click here for some examples of ekphrastic poetry.
As he posted this activity, I was taking an Ancient Egyptian Jewelry class, learning about the history, culture, art and jewelry of Egypt.
Egyptian Faience : Scarabs
Egyptian faience is the oldest known glazed ceramic. It is a ceramic material with a siliceous body and a brightly colored glaze. In ancient Egypt, objects created with faience were considered magical, filled with undying shimmer of the sun, and imbued with the powers of rebirth. Jewelry and ritual objects glimmer with the brilliance of eternity.
The scarab bug, a beetle found all over ancient Egypt, symbolized the restoration of life. The scarab was a popular design for good luck charms, for seals used to stamp documents, and for jewelry made from clay or precious gems. Scarabs were either carved from stone or molded from Egyptian faience. Once carved, they turn various shades of green or blue when fired.
The rich colors used in the scarab design had meaning. Red signified the god, Ra. Touches of yellow were used too symbolize the sun and the desert. Blue symbolized the Nile. Green was the symbol for growth.
This is my response or ekphrastic poem to the photo of Tutankhamun pectoral above:
the goddess Isis
and her magical powers
connect wings of flight
to a green scarab.
because growth requires
Here are some photos of my process of learning to work with faience and some pieces I created with faience:
Just sculpted, wet faience pieces.
Faience pieces after they were fired in a kiln.
Stirrup Swivel Bead Ring
Stirrup Bead Pinky Ring
Three Faience Rings
*Also, check out a game Jason Reynolds created called "Brain Yoga" for kids. It is so important for children and adults, to continue to use their imagination, stretch their mind and be creative. It's good for the mind and the soul.
Practicing an art, whether it turns out brilliant or bland, is a way to make your soul glow.