The Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England has recently been awarded funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council for a three year research project entitled “Can Egyptian Paste Techniques (Faience) be used for 3D printed, Solid Free-form Fabrication of Ceramics?”
The inspiration and background research for this project is based upon Egyptian Faience because there is an interesting and coincidental synergy between the material properties of ancient Egyptian Faience and the material requirement for the successful 3D printing of ceramic powders . Originating in the 5th Millennium BC, Egyptian Faience was not made from clay, but instead composed of quartz and alkali fluxes and is distinct from Italian Faience or Majolica, which is a tin, glazed earthenware. In its original Egyptian context Faience was a versatile material, used in a variety of ways and in a number of different forms, to create objects such as sculpture, vessels, funeral figurines, tiles, boxes and body ornamentation – all with a highly coloured lustred glaze the Egyptians referred to the material as Tjehenet “that which is brilliant or scintillating”. In contemporary terms Egyptian Paste has visual qualities desirable to many crafts practitioners.
The Centre for Fine Print Research has over five years continuous experience in the 3D printing of ceramic materials for artists, designers and the ceramic industry. This particular research project aims to create a set of functional ceramic 3D printable materials through a process based upon the historic Egyptian Faience techniques, which will allow ceramic artists, designers and craftspeople to 3D print directly from a 3D CAD file an actual object in a ceramic material that can be glazed and vitrified in one firing; a breakthrough for ceramic design and manufacture.
Huson, D., & Hoskins, S. (2014). 3D printing of self-glazing ceramics: An investigation into Egyptian faience. In E. Shemilt, A. Watson, & P. L. Harrison (Eds.), Borders and Crossings: The Artist as Explorer, 134-137. Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee