Hello Friends, in my first post, I talked about my passions for art and music. Sometimes I can’t decide what I am most passionate about - is it writing, is it art, or is it music, or is it cooking? at some point, I was extremely interested in cooking. Actually after a long long time of real life with raising a family, I started my ambitious journey of a writer with a cooking blog, documenting Indian recipes from my grandmother’s kitchen.
Today my story is about a rare art form which originated in Russia. I spent hours and hours in the middle of a busy schedule when I was raising my children, on a rare form of art - actually extremely rare. It is the art of Eggshell Decoration - inspired by Faberge, a Russian Jeweller, who used to create these out-of-The-world gifts for Russian Czar Alexander The Third who presented them to his wife and mother on special occasions like birthdays or wedding anniversaries. The first egg was created in 1885. Faberge created those amazing pieces with gold, and decorated them with diamonds, rubies, and other precious gems. They were egg-shaped, and had intricate designs inside and on them. Till now, some of those creations are the prized possessions of many royal families all over the world.
The art I learned is Faberge-inspired, but my creations are not made of gold, or decorated with precious gems. My creations are made with real eggshells - Goose, Rhea, Emu, Ostrich, and even humble Chicken. I am posting a few pictures of my creations along with this blog, to give you some idea how those decorations look like. You will see ten pictures of my creations with cut and decorated eggshells.
When I joined the class, and the teacher brought a sample of a Goose Eggshell Jewellery Box, I could not believe my eyes. It took me a few months to learn the techniques, but at last I was successful of creating the first three eggs in three months.
Where did I learn this craft? I have to say I was fortunate enough to live in an exotic country called Qatar, in the Persian Gulf. We were there for thirteen years, and I had the privilege of joining the club for the employees of Qatar National Oil company, and it had a tiny section for craft-classes, only for women.
A few ladies from Britain started the club, and they had five different craft-classes for five days of the week. At this point, you might wonder - how come these women were engaged in art on weekday mornings! That’s the interesting part of living in the Middle East. Very few women used to work, or had real jobs, especially the women who were expatriates from other countries, they were there with their husbands. And the women of the soil? They didn’t need to work.
To make the story short, one of those classes was about Eggshell Decorations. Someone from UK once lived there, and taught this art to a group of women club-members. Even after she left, the tradition continued; others took over, and the class did not stop. I was there at the right time at the right place, and had the opportunity to learn this exquisite art form. At that time I was crazy about this intricate art. So crazy that in between my cooking, cleaning, teaching my own children, I kept working on the very fragile eggshells, and my cabinet was getting full with so many of the creations. I was almost obsessed, and looked for paints, stones, crystals, everywhere. Forgot to mention, the cleaned eggshells used to be supplied by a craft-store in England, and they were delivered by mail.
When I came to Canada to live permanently, all I was carrying in my handbag, were eggshell decorations, almost thirty of them. And let me tell you, they came in one piece. So fragile, but so precious! The airlines and airports were not that panicked about safety at that time, I am fortunate that they let me carry all those precious artefacts, and didn’t even ask me a lot of questions, or didn’t break the shells to find out if there was anything suspicious inside.
To describe the process in a nutshell, the eggshells are painted, usually decorated with decoupaged pictures, or shiny crystals (you can be creative using materials of your choice), and then cut into various shapes with a craft-drill, work on the lining (usually silk and lace) inside, cover the edges with golden or silver trims, and ultimately varnish them with mat or glossy finish.
I am going to stop here today. In my next blog, I can talk about each of the creations shown in the pictures I posted, and perhaps a little more about the history of Faberge Eggs. Don't forget to look at the pictures posted. I was having hard time to post them, at last I figured out how. Thanks everyone!