Monday, April 8, 2024

The Suprise Inside


The Faberge Eggs



  For three decades - from 1885 until the Russian Revolution - the imperial jeweler, Peter Carl Faberge, produced the now-famous Faberge Imperial Eggs as Easter gifts from the Tsar to his wife and his mother. With each passing year, these bejeweled masterpieces became more and more elaborate, inventive, and breathtaking.  Each egg took at least one year to create - sometimes two! - with an entire team bringing a suite a skills to the task, from watchmakers to enamelists, gem cutters to goldsmiths and more. When the Romanov family fled from the Bolsheviks in 1916, the collection of fifty magnificent eggs was left behind in the palace, where they were subsequently looted in the chaos.  Some were lost, possibly destroyed, many ended up in private collections, and the rest are on display in St. Petersburg. 

Some of the Imperial Eggs from the workshop of Faberge

An example of the ornate "surprise inside" that was standard on most of the eggs

             Each egg is very different from the previous egg, since Faberge intended to outdo himself each time, both in design and fabrication.  But one thing that almost all have in common is that they open up and contain a surprise, and it all began with the simplest egg of all, known as the Golden Hen Egg.  This first of the Imperial Eggs has a simple, white enamel shell, and opens to reveal a golden yolk, which then opens to reveal a golden hen.  I took this elegant masterpiece as my inspiration for my project, a sweet little Easter gift.

The Golden Hen Egg, the first of the Imperial Eggs

             Tracie Lyn Huskamp has designed two 6x6 stencils of speckled eggs for StencilGirl® Products:  S021 Speckled Eggs has two larger eggs on it, and I used the larger of those two eggs to trace out onto a pale green cardboard.  I cut out two, and used the speckle patterns to add brown and blue splotches on both sides. A couple of sprinkles of white paint gave them a little more brightness. I then cut narrow strips of the same cardboard (one narrower than the other) and cut them to match the perimeter of the eggs, softened the fibers by curling the strips around the edge of my desk, and then glued them in place with PVA glue to make a little box with a snug-fitting lid.




            Now I had a little speckled egg box.  But what could the surprise inside be?  It had to be something more than just a little candy or a message.  Could I somehow replicate the golden yolk or golden hen?  And then I remembered my bird guts!  Stencil guts are sometimes available from StencilGirl® Products, and at one point when a set of “bird guts” was available I put them right into my shopping cart without delay (and you should not delay either if you see them make another appearance).  These guts are the mylar scraps left over from the stencil cutting process.  Tracie Lyn Huskamp also has a 6x6 Songbirds stencil S034, and I had some of the birds that were the by-products of cutting that stencil.  A little bit of gold leaf, and I had a golden bird!   All that remained was to add some white jelly beans, and I had a perfect little gift to send to my daughter.  (Full disclosure: I did snip off the bird’s tail so it would fit inside the box!)

Adding gold leaf to the bird

            This is my last Master Pieces column.  I’ve really enjoyed researching the artists and using them as inspiration for my own art exploration.  I hope you have enjoyed reading these columns as much as I enjoyed writing them!  If you want to see any more of my art going forward, feel free to look at my Instagram @jennitoga.

Eggs Speckled Stencil by Tracie Lyn Huskamp

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