Some of my fondest memories as a child were of visiting my grandmother, especially at Christmas time. My grandmother’s Christmas tree was decorated like no other tree I had ever seen. Rather than the traditional store-bought decorations like every other tree, my grandmother had EGGS on her tree! I was fascinated by the beauty of them. Not only were they on her Christmas tree, they were showcased around the house. I enjoyed listening to her stories on how she came up with the ideas for her designs. She passed her expertise down to my sister Teri, who created one- of-a-kind designs for her family and friends. Finally the torch was passed on to me. I always knew that one day the seed that she planted within me would grow and I would carry on the tradition that my grandma started. Sitting in my studio creating a new egg can sometimes take many different twists and turns to get the right design. It is a rewarding process to start with an ordinary egg and turn it into a work of art. I hope you enjoy our creations and appreciate the passion and hours behind each design. When I see my finished work, I know my grandma would be proud of me and this keeps her close to my heart.
The Artist - Bryen Creegan
I first discovered eggery when I went to Chris’s parents home for the first time. I saw a curio cabinet full of beautiful handcrafted one-of-a-kind designer eggs. The workmanship drew me in and I was intrigued by the intricate details, cuts and carvings. When I asked about the eggs, Chris and his family began to tell me their wonderful memories of their grandmother's egg art. I began to think of how I could apply my woodworking skills to such a delicate item. Wood is very forgiving, if you drop it on the floor you pick it up and keep going. Drop an egg on the floor and well, you sweep up the pieces and start over again. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to use my woodworking skills and began to experiment. I was amazed by the strength and delicacy of each egg. I do the cutting and fabricating and Chris makes it all look beautiful. It is delicate work; all the same, the final results are very gratifying.
His grandmother was the first in his family to dedicate herself to the art of eggery and we can consider ourselves the second generation, carrying on this fascinating art medium. Furthermore, when struggling with conceptualizing a design, it is great to be able to seek out our families input and help.
Grandma Sailor -In loving memory
Eggs-Acting Art Originally printed by: News Journal, Seatle, WA - Monday November 28, 1988
ANN SAILOR'S CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATIONS, GLITTERING CREATION IN SHELL
By ED EATON
When Ann Sailor turned 65 about a decade ago, somebody forgot to tell her about retirement. Eight or nine years back, she started out to master the extremely delicate art of egg decorating and has been so busy every since that she now has a glass display case full of embellished eggs, and each Christmas she pulls out some 60 Christmas tree decorations - also egg creations - to trim her tree.
These are not simple designs painted on the shell, like most Easter egg productions. They are glittering, intricate works of art. Ann's creations are made from ostrich eggs, emu eggs - deep green eggs with hints of blue in them that have to be imported from Australia - rhea eggs from South America, swan eggs, goose eggs, and even peacock eggs. The larger eggs are usually purchased from special outlets in the East. The egg artist doesn't have to go robbing nests for her hobby. Intricate designs are drawn on the eggs, and when "doors" or "windows" are needed in the shell, they are cut with a high speed drill hooked to a compressor.
One of the eggs-acting creations she made into a music box, with a tiny girl with golden curls swinging in rhythm with the music. The little doll was made out of bread dough by a lady in California, who supplies many of the dolls Ann Sailor uses in her art work. The inside walls of the egg are lined ingold leaf instead of paint, because it is so much richer, she explains. Another egg has a Russian religious print on it that has been decoupaged into a glassy finish on the outer shell of the egg, gleaming with coats and coats of acrylic to give the portrait depth. An elaborate butterfly with lace wings carved into doors that open on each side of the egg is a work a jewel would envy.
In another setting, a music box sets the mood for dancers in a tiny park on a small revolving stage inside an Ostrich egg. Other characters in the vignette sit at an outdoor table on wings of the egg that fold down on each side. The figures are Preiser figures imported from Germany. Used to decorate the various eggs are rhinestone chains, beads, sparkling jewel stones made from crystals from Austria, pins and tassels.
The 60 Christmas tree ornaments made from eggs feature manger scenes, angels, Santa faces, tiny fur trees - all so delicate that guests may look but rarely touch. Does she ever break an egg when working on it? "Yes," the artists says, ruefully. "You just throw it out and start over," she says. "You can't worry about it. When it hurts most is when you're almost through."
She works on her kitchen table where she has excellent outside light. She puts a towel under the eggs, but one time pulled the towel off the table accidently with her elbow and wiped out a practically finished project. But that rarely happens. She seldom works more than two hours at a time - not that she can't keep up with the very exacting work over a longer period of time, she says. But drying time is required for glue and she has many other things to do as well. Among the several figures used in the eggs she has decorated is an inspirational religious setting with a hand-carved Anri figure she purchased on a trip to Switzerland.
The eggs are never sold. No one could pay the price for the time and special attention they demand, she says. Those she doesn't keep herself are given to children, grandchildren who are old enough to appreciate them as art rather than playthings, and friends.