Egg Art – How It Began

Many years ago, one of my sisters became interested in the Ukrainian art of pysanky and (as sisters tend to do) sucked me into the world of Egg Art right along with her.

She has since moved on to other things, but I became fascinated with this process of batik on eggs and – having a predisposed attraction to organized geometric art forms – continued on into the world of the egg: One of the most organic of shapes, and an ancient symbol of life and rebirth. Talk about a square peg in a round hole!

Becoming increasingly obsessed with the challenge of wrapping a flat graphic around an ovoid surface (and having it come out balanced) I experimented with different patterns and motifs I came across in magazines, pottery, and various ethnic art forms. As long as the design could be plotted out on a grid, I could put it on an egg!

Way cool!

In my wanderings, I came across a book called Decorating Eggs: Exquisite Designs with Wax & Dye by egg artist Jane Pollak. Now SHE had done something interesting with goose eggs. She makes them into jewelry! I had seen eggshell jewelry before, but mostly they were pieces cut out from finished pysanky and then placed into a setting. Jane was decorating the pieces individually, specifically for the piece of jewelry. Hey, I like that!

Well it took a lot of hit and miss, searching for a suitable finish, finding a source for eggs, and trying to take the art of eggshell jewelry in my own direction. I finally settled on Ostrich Eggshells for my jewelry. They take the dye beautifully and they have a gently pebbled surface that makes for an interesting background texture. And they are nice and sturdy, being roughly 4 times as thick as a goose eggshell.

The back-filling was a real challenge. I never did find the grey industrial epoxy that Ms Pollak uses, but I did settle on a suitable alternative – clear tabletop epoxy. It has a super hard finish requiring a 48 hour cure, and it’s clear so I can sign the back of the eggshell and my signature shows through. I like that.

My designs? Well they are ever-changing. I specialize in the traditional Ukrainian, Polish and Russian designs typical to pysanky because I really love the colors and the symbolism. But I am constantly inspired by many many things. Textiles. Pottery. Ceramic Tiles. Ethnic Art. The Arts & Crafts style. Art Nouveau. And, of course, Mother Nature.

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