by Jennifer Sartell
Photos by author
Our neighbor stopped by the other day and surprised us with the prospect of incubating a few of his fertile goose eggs! Many a morning you can find me sitting on the front porch in the rocker, with a cup of coffee, just watching the geese. I marvel at the display of his majestic birds, as they gracefully strut around his yard. Large, proud and beautiful, in shades of white and buff. The idea of having a few of our own geese as watch birds, was more than exciting, and we quickly took him up on his offer.
While we were chatting about geese, our neighbor mentioned that goose eggs make beautiful decorations when carved. With Easter just around the corner, this got my creative wheels turning.
The technique of egg carving dates back centuries. The dark green emu egg is a popular egg to carve and etch, as the carvings unveil a layering of color and artists can be extremely detailed with the images they create. (To read more, check out this interesting blog post from Mother Earth News, “Sculpting Emu Eggs: The Color is in the Shell”.)
The ostrich egg is also known as a medium for carving. The thick shell allows the sculptor to carve at different depths, and allows for translucent designs and more intricate carving. The ostrich egg is also large enough to be made into elegant boxes and containers.
If you can carve a goose egg, ostrich egg or emu egg, why not a chicken egg? Our Araucanas are laying some beautiful shades of green, olive and blue eggs. Because we haven’t actually collected the goose eggs as of yet, and because chicken eggs are probably more readily available to most readers, I thought I would apply the same techniques of carving larger eggs to the smaller, yet beautiful, chicken egg.
After a few practice rounds, carving eggs turned out to be surprisingly simple! With a few tools and a bit of patience, these lace eggs can help adorn your Easter celebrations.
Things you need:
- clean eggs
- a Dremel or rotary-type drilling tool, fixed with a small, cone-shaped grinding tip
- a large pin or needle
- rubber bands (optional)
- a syringe or egg suction tool
- dust mask
- eye protection
The first step is to blow out the egg contents. Wear a protective mask and eye glasses, so that you don’t ingest the powdered egg shell. Start by drilling a small hole in one end of the egg, and a slightly larger hole in the other end of the egg using your rotary tool.
Insert a long pin or needle into the hole and twist it around to break up the egg yolk. Using the syringe, or suction tool, force air into the egg through the small hole and blow the contents out.
Run some water into the egg, shake it around and once again, blow the contents out. Repeat until the water runs clear. Dry the egg off.
This is where the fun and creativity begin. I found it helpful to draw on my design before going at the egg with the grinding tip. To help with symmetry, I used a trick from last Easter, when a group of my friends got together and made Ukrainian Eggs. (To learn more, read my post Ukrainian Eggs.) Rubber bands help to quadrant the egg off and lend straight lines.
I chose to create a design using holes of different sizes. Any pattern will work … use your imagination!
I learned a few things while practicing. Don’t push the bit, simply let the weight of the Dremel make its way through the shell. If you want to make a larger hole, start small and then slowly apply pressure in a clockwise manner to open it up. Getting the eggshell damp periodically seemed to cut down on the dust, and acted as a lubricant between the shell and the drill.
Once the pattern was complete, I gave the egg a quick rinse and patted dry.
These eggs would look beautiful in a basket centerpiece, in a single egg cup, or strung on ribbons from spring tree branches.
I started thinking about how I could get light to shine through the holes and illuminate the design. I have a night light in my kitchen, so using the same rotary tool, I carved out a hole large enough to fit over the small bulb and slipped it on. The possibilities are endless! You could make several carved eggs and attach them to strings of white Christmas lights for an egg-ceptional Easter light display.
For more egg carving fun, and a video demonstration check out my follow up post More Lace Eggs!
To read more about eggs, geese and other farming fun, visit my website at http://www.ironoakfarm.blogspot.com/