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In 2004 I was a participant in the first Bead Artist Trading Cards swap, organized by friends of mine on the All About Beads chat list on Yahoo Groups. I had been playing with etching brass, and decided to etch red brass with Egyptian symbols and hieroglyphics taken from a burial sarcophagus - a prayer for the deceased to the Gods. I then hand drilled holes around the central image and wired seed beads into the outlines. Then, deciding that the cards were still not quite decorative enough, I drilled around the card borders and wired seed beads onto the borders. I was a bit obsessed about making these spectacular. I was very happy with the results and it started me on a quest to improve my etched images.
|The Ankh is often interpreted as the
Egyptian symbol of life. It is not only the symbol of life, it
actual word for life in the hieroglyphic dictionary. Therefore, to say what we say in four letters,
L - I - F - E, the Egyptians would say in a single character - the Ankh. It is NOT an Egyptian cross
since it pre-dates Christianity by a few 1000 years.
|The Eye of Horus is a protective
device which is often pictured in combination with a person's name
or the item which is being guarded. It has been worn as a protective amulet or pendant for
millennia. Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris. The Pharaoh was associated with Horus and often was
thought of as the embodiment of Horus.
|The pyramids of the Giza plateau are
the only Wonder of the Ancient World that is still
in existence today. The assumption is that they were built as tombs, but the theory is still
speculation and hasn't been absolutely proven. They are, however, indisputably a part of a huge
mortuary and temple complex featuring many buildings and buried items.
|The scarab is a symbol of rebirth.
The scarab beetle is a dung beetle, gathering the dung from animals
and humans into a ball which it pushes ahead of it. Without animals and insects such as the dung
beetle, we would have all drowned in a sea of excrement many long years ago. All hail to the mighty scarab!
|To pass on the knowledge and package each card, I designed a vellum envelope that contained the card, described the imagery, and translated the hieroglyphic prayer text.|
In 2005, I decided to continue the Egyptian Theme once again, and also continue etching brass for my media. This time I wanted to try and make the imagery more vivid by using resin enamels. I used Colores resin enamels for the coloring with a 20-minute epoxy hardener. I wanted to approximate the wall paintings of the Egyptian deities. The rules of the BATCs are that at least one bead must be used for each project. I filled those requirements, but didn't do the extensive beading that I did on the first BATC.
|The four corner beads were chosen to
represent night and day and were mounted with silver wire
rivets. Because the crystals shattered easily, the wires were merely turned down on the backs of
the cards instead of actually riveted down to the metal level. They were presented in gold lame pouches to honor their status as Gods and Goddesses.
In 2006, I participated in my third Bead Artist Trading Card swap. Again I used an Egyptian theme and etched red brass. I changed my imagery at the last minute and made, what I consider to be, some of the prettiest cards I've ever made. I did have difficulty with the resin enamels on this one because I was filling such large areas but only had a hardener for my colors with a pot life of approximately 20 minutes. If I was to do something of this nature again, I would get a different hardener from my supplier with a pot life of 60 minutes. It would be much easier and happier. The beads were glued into drilled divots after the resin had hardened.
This was my final year for participating in this swap. I had refined my etching techniques and had started putting WAY too much time into these. Even though I had originally intended to participate for five years, the cards were starting to average 40 or more hours to prepare and that was just too much time for me to devote with the other things I had responsibility for. For this final year, however, I went "over the top" with my imagery.
To get an extremely clean etch, I switched to using copper and a new method of image transfer. The etch was amazingly clean. My choice of image was the original Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter in the Egyptian Hieroglyphic translation (yes, there is an Egyptian Hieroglyphic version - along with probably 50 other languages). I was taking a trip to San Francisco to attend two classes at Revere Jewelry Academy and I was going to have a four-day lay-over between classes. I had errands that I needed to do, but I also packed my etched cards and my acrylic paints, brushes and palette. I spent more than 16 hours in my hotel room over three days hand-painting each of the etched cards to match the original picture. Each painted picture is slightly different because I missed something in each one (it wasn't planned that way, just happened that way). When I return home, I put a clear resin over the top of the painted surface to protect it. This could probably be polished down now since it has been a while since the application, and I may do it some day, but I don't have a problem with the appearance as it is either. I designed an envelope with a rabbit button for a closure and the actual cover of the book for the frontispiece.