I do eggs. It may surprise you to learn there is an entire community of eggers all over the world who share my delight in painting, dying, papering, gilding, etching, carving and displaying eggs, and eggers have been doing so for over 60,000 years. Some choose to use colorful papers to cover their eggs in seamless designs, others a Sitka, a pencil shaped tool with a cone at the end used to dispense hot wax, and which allows the egger to create beautifully intricate shapes and motifs with wax and dyes, more commonly known as Pysanky eggs. Still others etch or carve the harder shells of larger birds into some of the most delicate and lace-like designs imaginable. In Hungary, egg shoeing continues to be a favorite pastime and involves shoeing ones eggs with miniature horseshoes. The current egg shoeing record is held by a Hungarian artist who was able to shod an ostrich egg with 1119 little, iron horseshoes. Russian artist Peter Carl Faberge appeared to take decorating an egg to the highest level when he replaced colorful paints, dyes and papers, and horseshoes with gold trims, pearls and precious gems, creating designs seemingly too beautiful and intricate even to touch.
While I have used unique papers and dyes and a Dremel tool to create my etchings and designs, my preferred method of decorating an egg is with small brushes and acrylic paints. There are a few steps involved in the process of painting eggs, but they're not complicated and something one could easily do with children. Googling, "egg painting" will direct anyone interested to a variety of tutorials that will explain the steps involved with the process of blowing out, cleaning, painting, and then varnishing ones eggs. A few implements make the process easier such as a baby bulb used normally for keeping a baby's airways clear. This blue bulb makes blowing the contents out of the egg quick and easy. A pick, or Dremel tool, can be used to make holes in both ends of the egg in order to be able to blow out the contents. Skewers with one end inside the egg and the other end stuck into a piece of foam keeps the eggs safe and smudge free while drying, both after being painted and then again, after being varnished. If you have ever had the urge to make a minature painting, you may find that you, too, enjoy painting in the round and in the oblong at the very same time. There's just something special about an elliptical shape.
Especially at this time of the year there are hundreds of wonderful and unique craft ideas flooding Pinterest, Facebook, and a multitude of other artistic sites and I wanted to take this minute to toss decorated eggs into the mix. Admittedly, a few of the techniques listed above take practice and skill, but a few others can be accomplished with less effort and time, and with a little patience, a simple egg will be beautifully transformed into an object that will last for many years. Fragile? Yes, but so much worth the risk--just be careful, and gentle and have fun painting an egg.
Listed here are a couple favorite sites you'll want to visit if you'd like to see Pysanky at its very best: