Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Celebrate Easter! Christ is Risen & we have EGGS!

I started the hobby of decorating eggs when I was still a teenager (that means it was a LONG time ago).
The craft is called Eggeury and the decorated eggs are very similar to Faberge eggs.
The only difference is that the Faberge eggs were made of enamel, gold, crystal, etc., whereas the eggs in the craft eggeury are real.

So I will answer your question right now: YES, these ARE real eggs!

When I sold my eggs at art and craft shows we would have to answer that question about 500 times a day.
I even made up big posters that said, "Yes, these are REAL eggs!" just so I could save my voice from going hoarse.
But people would still ask it anyway.
We would smile because we knew they were asking because they were shocked and thinking out loud, "You can do that to a real egg?"

Yes you can, and much much more.
No one really knows when eggeruy started or who invented it but most countries have some type of egg decoration as a craft and many countries have a tradition of giving eggs as gifts.
The hobby started for me when my mother brought home a library book on decorating eggs ( ).
At the time I was under 10 years old--and I don't remember much of this but my sister told me I carved door openings in a chicken egg and put a paper rose inside.
Then a few years passed and when I was looking for a craft to get involved in I remembered this book and went to the library and charged out that same book and took it home.
This time I actually read the book instead of just looking at the pictures.
From there I launched into my efforts to carve egg shells.
Unfortunately, early on all I had to work with were chicken eggs and they are quite thin and fragile. I used razor blades and a heck of a lot of determination.
The family ate a lot of scrambled eggs in those days as I practised but believe it or not I was quite successful in carving chicken eggs and then decorating them.
Soon we found sources for goose eggs (turkey eggs too but their shell is very similar to chicken eggs).
I used my trusty razor blades and completed several eggs - most of them sold many years ago but this is a photo of one, complete with a working drawer.
It's painted with blue enamel model airplane paint.
This was the way the author did her eggs in her book and at that time I just copied her.
Later, I dropped doing the painting because I just loved the perfect beauty of the natural shell.
People would always ask, "Where do you get the eggs from?" Usually someone with them would elbow them in the side laughing and say, "From geese!"
We got our eggs from Plattsville where there was a very large goose farm run by a Mennonite community.
I would buy the eggs after candling--this meant that the eggs were "Dudds" which would never hatch.
Candling is the process of shining a bright light behind the egg to see if it had a chick growing inside.
That way you'd save space in your incubator because there was no point wasting time incubating an egg that would never hatch.
I paid a good price for these candled eggs.
I would then bring them home (usually 100 or 200 at a time) and then I'd spend days, drilling holes in each end and then blowing the contents out, scrubbing them clean and drying them.
I did not collect eggs in the wild. Not only is that illegal, it's also immoral. I only worked with candled
Doing eggeury in Canada proved to be a difficult hobby because there was no one else in Canada that did it too so there were no craft shops that sold the supplies that I needed.
With research, letter writing and word of mouth I learned about sources for supplies in the USA and I was able to get the metal hinges and parts that I was not able to get in Canada.
But we were pretty resourceful and I learned to find parts by turning things like candle holders into egg stands and so on.
Later I bought a dremel tool and I carved the egg shells with that. Then years after that eggers started using air compressor drills that ran much much faster.
After that the craft really took off because we were suddenly able to carve the most delicate filigree cuts.
The drill is a dentist drill (sounds like it too) and runs at hundreds of thousands of revolutions per second. With a diamond bit, I could cut an egg shell like a knife through butter.
(See the difference if you compare the Swan egg cut with a dremel with a high degree of difficulty compared to the Rabbit Egg cut with fine and fancy scrolls).
It would take me anywhere from 4 hours to a 100 hours to complete an egg. In time I got faster and yes I certainly broke many while working on them. Initially, I would cry and get very angry, but I was learning to be tenacious and I kept at it.
Soon the tears dried up and if there was a crack, it just became a challenge to fix it. Yes, I could put Humpty together again!
The Ostrich egg shell is very thick - like pottery and very strong. The surface of the shell is shiny and smooth with lots of little pores.
The black egg is an Emu egg. The emu is a flightless bird, from Australia, that is very similar to the Ostrich although much smaller. Underneath the black outside of the shell is a gorgeous turquoise colour.
I've seen some beautiful aboriginal carvings done on emu eggs which display the turquoise underneath.
I would carve doors on many of the eggs and then glue hinges on them so that the doors were fully functional.
Then I would put glue along the edges and apply pearls, gold trim or even a bread dough rose trellis. Design ideas were unlimited which is probably why I loved this craft.
The heart egg is made by cutting two goose eggs at the 2 o'clock position and then joining them together with glue.
The inside was lined with red velvet, to make a jewelry box.
Finally, the blue egg is a Robin's egg - found on the ground with no nest in sight. It has tiny hinges so that the doors open and close. Inside is a finch egg, given to me by a friend that raised birds and on top sits a ceramic chick.
Of course my favourite time of year is Easter. It's a joyous time, a time to celebrate and have fun. I hope you have a great Easter!!! What are your plans this year?


Lynn said...

The eggs are beautiful works of art. What talent you have. Hope you have a Happy Easter. I'll spend time with my daughter and granddaughter and hopefully some time in the garden if the weather is nice. That is always my sanctuary. Hope Tom is doing well. I'll be looking for news about him.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Gorgeous and breathtaking work you've done here!!
I feel inferior and inadequate so thanks, lol :)
Please have a blessed Easter with your family and I'm so happy that we all serve a Risen Savior.....
Take good care and.......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Amy ~ 12 Acres said...

I am absolutely AMAZED at your ability! They are so delicate and fragile I don't know how you do it. That last one steals the show though. A robin's egg??? Just amazing!

Barry said...

Absolutely astounding! I am in awe of your skill.

BrandonHarris said...

Greetings! I have seen that your Rss feed of this site is functioning without any failures, did you execute all the settings on your own or you just left the default settings of this widget?

Beekeeper Barbara said...

Hello Brandon. No I didn't do anything except select what blogger makes available.