Tonight I'm departing from my usual postings about my own artwork. I received a rather unusual present for my birthday this year from Brad Miller, my daughter Jenni's boyfriend. It arrived in a carefully packaged box...Brad was pretty excited about it, saying it was a combination of "nature and art". I had no idea what it would be. Upon opening the smaller box-in-a box submerged in shredded newspaper, I ever-so-gently removed a wonderfully delicate surprise. A carved eggshell!!!
When I called and asked Brad where he found such an unusual item, he said, "I made it!" I was amazed, since I didn't realize artisans even did that sort of thing. I asked Brad if he would mind sharing the process of his new-found hobby, and he was kind enough to send me a write-up and some photos. I'll let him take it from here!
I'm using a rotary tool (just got the new one), but the real tool is the dental stuff. Probably the most popular is the Turbocarver which seems to be the best value out there for $600 for the tool and the compressor to run it. Good rotary tools spin at 30 to 35,000 rpms...the "dental" tools spin at 400,000 rpms.
Drill a hole in the bottom of egg, then use a straw to blow out the egg. Rinse with water and blow it out again...repeat a few times. Rinse with alcohol to kill any bacteria, leave overnight to dry. (You can stick it in the microwave for 30 sec or a minute if you need one right away, but that may affect the structural integrity. I have found that it works though and never had problems.)
Lightly draw the pattern in pencil if needed (you can trace or stencil it if you have the right stuff) or free hand if you don't use a guide (like the pattern in the pics). Carve away! Finish with a small file or light sanding bit if needed or desired. When all carving is done, soak it in a bleach bath for approximately 10 minutes or until the egg stops bubbling. (This eats away the inner membrane leaving a clean shell.) Then rinse with water and soak/rinse in a baking soda and water mix for a few minutes, which neutralizes any leftover bleach. Rinse again, set aside to dry.
I ordered some duck and goose eggshells online. You can find them for as cheap as $1.69 depending on the size, but that cheap usually requires a $40 minimum order. Singles will be a few bucks plus $5 to ship, so bulk is a way better deal. Emu and ostrich eggs run around $12 to $22.
Thanks, Brad!!! The photo below (and the pic at the top) is one of his latest carvings on a nice GOOSE EGG. Gorgeous work...keep doing more!