Riding the Carousel

There are five stages to creating the eggs I do. The first stage is the design. For the Carousel no.1 that was already done. This piece is a reproduction piece that I make available on a regular basis. They sell for $125 plus shipping unless you are close enough to pick it up, or have it delivered. So, the design is already taken care of. For some eggs, like The Guardians Among Us, the design portion can take many many hours. Each angel in that piece was created in the negative space by arranging the flowers and leaves in such a manner to create the lines of the angel.

The second stage of creating Carousel no.1 was to draw it on the egg. I do this by eyeballing the top and bottom of the egg and marking these two points with an X in pencil. Then I put masking tape down and redraw the X. I measure the egg top to bottom in millimeters and divide it by two. I grab my trusty compass and attempt to mark the halfway of the egg by making a mark from both the top and the bottom with the compass. If the two meet, then I do the same on the other side. If those also meet, which doesn’t happen very often, then I know that I have found the center of the egg and go ahead and use the compass to draw a circle around the circumference of the egg. If it doesn’t work, which is most of the time, then I have to adjust either the top X of the bottom X, and sometimes both. Now the egg is divided exactly into two halves. From here I measure the other horizontal lines in a proportionally decreasing fashion so they will taper as they move up the egg. I then disect the egg into however many parts there are. For example, Carousel no.1 has five points on it. So I measure the circumference at the bottom and divide it into five equal parts. From there I then do the same for each horizontal ring. Even though this is a production piece, each egg has to be made from scratch because goose eggs come in quite a variety of shapes and sizes. So the numbers I use for one will not work on another.

Once I have each layer broken down I create a paper template of the shape for each point. You can see that I had a bump while using this template. This line will be cleaned up prior to the third stage. The template takes quite some time to create because the one template must fit exactly five times around the egg.

Once all the drawing is done I am ready for stage three.

Stage three is etching. This is where I carve the lines that I have drawn onto the egg. Technically I carve just on the outside of the drawn line because I want the space between the lines to be the width of the line from pencil to pencil. I just realised that I don’t have a photo of Carousel no.1 in the etched stage so I’ll show you what Summoning Intuition looked like at this stage just to give you a visual.

From this point I can start to see home plate, but I never get excited here because there is still a lot of work to do. I can now clean the egg using soap and water, and sometimes a scrub brush or toothbrush to get the pencil off. Once the egg is clean we are on to stage four. Stage four is the carving stage. This is where all my work so far begins to show. At this point it’s too late to make design changes. That’s why stage one and two are almost the most important stages in this process. Carving involves a quiet mind and a still hand. The carving process can take many hours depending on the egg.

Once the carving is done and the lines are cleaned up with my drill, I am ready for cleaning. This is a stage I don’t take lightly anymore. Many years ago I had a completely carved rhea egg. It was a beautiful piece called The Clouds of Alyssum. It was filled with these tiny carved flowers. Anyway, I had it tied to a string so I could lower it into the bleach water (a few drops of bleach in a can of water to kill the bacteria and help remove the inner lining of the egg). It was completely finished and I lifted it up by the wooden rod holding the string and the string came loose. The egg fell into the can of bleach separating into many pieces. I was in a pretty good place spiritually back then so the event didn’t get much attention other than a soft farewell. I always had the motto that I was more interested in the process than the result.

After the egg is put through the bleach water I wash it many times in regular water to clean off any bleach residue. Then it’s time to finish it. Carousel no.1 gets a top glued on and then a gold ring put through the tiny loop hole. I then hang it from one of the walnut based hanging stands and it’s ready for a new home.

That’s my carving process for Carousel, which is pretty close to the process for all my eggs depending on their design.







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