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Unique art form uses egg shells as canvas

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

While many enjoy coloring eggs at Easter time, Nancy Bentley has taken her egg decorating to a new level.

Bentley became interested in the egg art after seeing some egg ornaments her mother-in-law had purchased.

She said she was attracted to “the uniqueness of it.”

“I got started in this in 2008, looking for someone to teach me how to do egg art,” Bentley said.

When Bentley noticed a lady at church was wearing an egg art necklace, Bentley asked her to teach her. The lady with the necklace had been making art from eggs for 35 years and agreed to teach Bentley.

“This used to be a much more popular art form,” Bentley said.

However, there is still enough interest in creating this unique art for there to be a national egg art guild.

“It’s a wonderful winter time project, and then when it’s 99 degrees in the shade,” Bentley said.

Bentley uses a varied of eggs for her creations including chicken, goose, emu, ostrich and guinea eggs.

Compressed air is used to blow the egg out of a small whole in the shell. Next, Bentley bleaches the inside of the eggshell. A high-speed drill is used when she wants to cut a shape into the shell.

“They are not as fragile as you think,” Bentley said.

Sometimes, Bentley will not paint the egg to keep the original color.

“I like the natural color because people can tell it’s an egg,” Bentley said.

While many of her pieces are ornaments, Bentley has also made free standing miniature scenes and even a kaleidoscope.

“There are different finishes you can put on some, some have a high luster, sometimes I use a matte, so the lace will show up,” Bentley said.

Many of the materials Bentley uses to decorate her eggs are repurposed. Beading from an old purse, lace, antique lace tatting, designs from a silk towel, wallpaper remnants with unique designs and colorful napkins have all lent to her creativity in transforming an egg into an ornament.

“I save things. I go to flea markets, estate sales,” Bentley said. “Florida is a good place to shop for old lace.”

She has found that polyester does not work well with the glue used in egg art. Bentley said she uses Aleene’s original for decorating the outside of the egg and epoxy for items on the inside.

Other items, such as tiny birds and bunnies, are purchased new and then glued to the egg.

“To find miniatures to put in these eggs is probably the hardest thing, to find things that are small enough,” Bentley said.

Bentley primarily makes Easter and Christmas themed egg projects. She has given some of her art pieces away as gifts and has helped her grandchildren begin collections. The hobby has also served as a way to raise money for church mission trips.