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Author Topic: Egg Carving  (Read 5577 times)

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Offline Magister

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Egg Carving
« on: June 19, 2011, 12:48:36 AM »
Not completely "Renn" related, but it's been so long since I've posted any of the projects I've been working on that I reckon I should toss my hat in the ring. 

One of the things I've been trying my hand at recently is carving eggs.  Because I'm new to it and all I've been working solely with chicken eggs (and I get eggs for omelets and cake too!).  Many of the better carvers out there use goose, emu, and even ostrich eggs.  All more expensive than I want to get in to at this point.  Forgive the grainy pictures.  These were taken with my iPod Touch, the only camera I had handy at the time. 

One is a swan, and the other is a, "beach scene" with the sun and seagulls on one side and the moon and stars on the other all over a wave pattern that goes around the whole egg.



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Offline Rani Zemirah

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Egg Carving
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2011, 12:57:19 AM »
Wow... that is just... absolutely amazing!  So lovely, and so incredibly delicate...

What sort of tools do you use?
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Offline Magister

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Egg Carving
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2011, 11:05:52 AM »
Almost any time you see a carved egg it was done with a high speed engraving tool.  These things are essentially modified dental drills that run off pneumatics (air compressor).  There are several different brands / types out there, but I use a Power Carver.  

I've bought a lot of tools over the years, but I can honestly say that this one is by far the most versatile.  The engraver spins at an incredible 400k RPMs, so it can work through just about any material: metal, glass, wood, stone, and even delicate things like egg shells.  Like Dremels there are a ton of different types of burrs available.

I've typically used it for wood carving and engraving glass, but I thought I'd give egg carving a try.  It's certainly a delicate process, but it's an amazing medium to work with.  Egg shells can be carved, engraved, and pierced (which is what both of the eggs above are).  Doing any form of relief carving on a chicken egg is hard (not impossible) because of how thin they are, but on say an ostrich egg, I've seen other artist's work that is just unbelievable.

Here is a website that tells you a good bit about the tool itself: http://www.sculptingstudio.com/index.php?target=products&product_id=148

« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 11:06:46 AM by Magister »
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Offline Becky10

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Egg Carving
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2011, 03:05:02 PM »
Have you thought about using duck eggs?
They're slightly larger and thicker. Not sure on how much the prices would be as I get mine from my actual duck haha.

Very cool indeed! I've never seen egg carving before!  :o
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Offline Magister

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Egg Carving
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2011, 03:40:39 PM »
Becky:

  Yes, I have, but unfortunately they are actually pretty darn expensive to purchase.  You're lucky if you can get them directly from the duck!  Also, duck eggs are actually a special kind of egg to carve as they are black.  From what I understand you don't usually pierce the duck egg, but carve away the black outer layer to reveal the white layer beneath.  Emu eggs are like that, too.

  Here is a website of a guy who has been carving eggs for a very long time.  His website is not the easiest to navigate, but if you scroll all the way to bottom you'll see links listing the names of different types of eggs he's carved.  Duck eggs being one of them.  If you click around enough (Goose eggs I believe) you'll find one of his that has the same "wave" pattern as mine above.  I'll admit to using his as inspiration.  Goodness knows his are impressive enough!

  Take a look if you're curious: http://theeggshellsculptor.com/DuckEggs.html

« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 03:42:27 PM by Magister »
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Offline Rani Zemirah

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Egg Carving
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2011, 04:44:09 PM »
Hmmm... I wonder what kind of tools they used for this in the 6th century?  From what I've read so far it's been around for a really long time!  It's all pretty amazing, though...
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 04:44:38 PM by Rani Zemirah »
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Offline groomporter

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Egg Carving
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2011, 08:34:49 PM »
Seems to me there was someone on the Renfair circuit who had some goblets or something similar made from ostrich eggs, must have had a connection with some ostrich ranch I assume
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Offline Magister

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Egg Carving
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 10:20:10 PM »
Rani..

  Just speculating, but maybe tiny files, sharp needles?  I don't know, but doing it with a specialised tool is hard enough, I wouldn't even want to try it by hand.  That's saying something for me.  I've had several just simply crumble in my hand while I've been working on them.  Once you get enough of the shell material removed they're just tissue paper fragile.

Groomporter..

  Having a connection with a farm would certainly be a good thing if you were in the business of producing a lot of work with ostrich eggs.  If I wanted to buy a basic medium sized one I'd be looking at around $20.00 or so.  Premium ones can go up quite a bit from there.  Which of course is why you won't catch me going anywhere near one any time soon. ;)

...

I was talking with a friend of mine recently, and I'm not currently in a position (or well proficient enough) but someone would probably have a good faire business carving and then maybe painting the different eggs and selling them.  Ostrich could be dragon eggs, Emu basilisk eggs, etc.  Remember you got the idea from me.. I deserve ohh 2%?  Just kidding. ;)

...

Quick Mod note, I split the egg carving discussion off as the discussion was going on a bit and there's no reason to leave it in the finished projects thread.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2011, 10:27:16 PM by Magister »
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Offline Rani Zemirah

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Re: Egg Carving
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2011, 12:21:48 AM »
I would imagine the eyesight of those doing the carving wouldn't have lasted very many years, either... at least, not 1500 years ago.  :o  I can't even imagine trying to handle something that fragile.  Can't wait to see more of your work!!! 
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Offline Magister

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Re: Egg Carving
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2011, 07:49:55 AM »
Rani:

  No, I'd imagine not.  I use one of those opti-mag headsets for almost all of the tiny work - including the eggs so far.  You know the bulky ones that make you look like a right idiot.  It does certainly help.

  I could just picture some poor person bent double over an egg surrounded by candles and go after a shell with those tiny tools.  No thanks.
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Offline groomporter

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Re: Egg Carving
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2011, 07:59:25 AM »
Hmmm... I wonder what kind of tools they used for this in the 6th century?  From what I've read so far it's been around for a really long time!  It's all pretty amazing, though...
Maybe a grinding bit of some sort mounted in something similar to a lathe?
http://www.historicgames.com/lathes/related.html
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Offline Magister

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Re: Egg Carving
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2011, 10:44:01 AM »
Groomporter:

  I'd be very surprised if they used anything like a lathe.  The eggs aren't turned as far as I know.  The work is done by scratching and piercing the shell.  I could see maybe something akin to tiny woodworkers (jeweller's) tools as in many ways removing bits and layers of the shell is like relief carving a piece of wood.  Just a heck of a lot more fragile!
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Offline groomporter

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Re: Egg Carving
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2011, 01:48:44 PM »
I'm not talking about turning the egg, but rather holding the egg against a bit that is spinning in a device that is foot-powered in a similar manner to a lathe
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Offline Lady Christina de Pond

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Re: Egg Carving
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2011, 02:24:26 PM »
keep going those are wonderful i'm looking at the site with all the carved eggs on them it's neat to see what you can do
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Offline Magister

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Re: Egg Carving
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2011, 07:18:40 PM »
Groomsporter:

  Ah.. my mistake, then.  Maybe so. 

....

 Here are two websites I found that discuss some of the history of egg carving.  Both seem to say that it originated in China around the time of the Ming dynasty.

 http://arts.cultural-china.com/en/70Arts8027.html

 http://www.icm.gov.mo/apc/9/prg2E.asp

    Interesting!
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