Egg decorating

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Egg decorating is the art or craft of decorating eggs. It is quite a popular art/craft form because of the attractive, smooth, oval shape of the egg. Any bird egg can be facilitated in this process, but most often the larger and stronger the eggshell is, the more favoured it will be by decorators.

Goose, duck and hens' eggs are usually "blown" - a hole is made in either end and the contents are blown out. The egg is then either carved, dyed, painted, appliqued or otherwise decorated (using a number of different techniques). Egg decoration is particularly popular in Eastern European countries.

Some eggs, like emu or ostrich eggs, are so large and strong that the shells may be carved without breaking. Decorations on emu eggs take advantage of the contrast in colours between the dark green mottled outside of the shell and the shell-underlay. Ostrich eggshell with engraved hatched patterns have been found as early as 60,000 years ago at Diepkloof Rock Shelter in South Africa.[1]

The renowned Russian artist and jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé made exquisitely decorated precious metal and gemstone eggs for the Russian Court. These Fabergé eggs resembled standard decorated eggs, but they were made from gold and precious stones.

The Persian culture also has a tradition of egg decorating, which takes place during the spring equinox. This time marks the Persian New Year, and is referred to as Norouz. Family members decorate eggs together and place them in a bowl. It is said that it is from this cultural tradition that the Christian practice originates.[2]

Although Orthodox Christian societies sometimes decorate highly their eggs at Easter, like the Ukrainian ones as shown, it is normal to dye only in red all over (perhaps using Cochineal ) to represent the blood of Christ.

Many modern egg artists decorate their "art eggs" by etching or carving, while others paint or cover their eggs with different materials, from paper and fabric to polymer clay. Using eggs as a canvas has become so popular that special terms have developed with the art form. An "eggery" is typically a place where you can purchase supplies for egg art and the process of using a natural egg shell to create an art piece if often called "egging".

Egg artists also have their own guild, The International Egg Art Guild which promotes the craft of egg artistry.

In the USA there are shows in many states where artists show their eggs and vendors of "egging" supplies can be found. Each year, the White House chooses a decorated egg from each State to display at Easter time.

See also

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