It’s time to start over.

Last August I embarked on a challenge that pushed me beyond my comfort zone in egg design. Inspired by this wonderful Egyptian Tree of Life rug owned by a dear egging friend.

This post shared that start.  What, me go modern?  I had the whole egg gridded out and I liked how the Tree of Life took shape on the front and back.

A couple issues had me puzzled. One was abundantly clear…how would I develop the design for the wide brown band encircling the Tree of Life. On the egg, it is a larger area in proportion to what it is on the rug, and I also wanted to capture the richness of life found in it.

I could not put my finger on the other issue, but something about the egg was bothering me. There are times when thoughts digest slowly and this was one of those times.

Of course, it was right in front of me. I had drawn out the design on the white egg, but I needed the outlines to be black. Oh boy. That meant I had to delete all the gridwork and tree drawing and start over.

So with the help of some weak muriatic acid brushed on, I bid farewell to all the drawing and was back at the beginning with a big beautiful white egg.

The next step for this egg is to go into a black dye bath and begin drawing in the grids and design. But in the meantime, this is a perfect opportunity to do a study egg to practice some of the birds and experiment with some design elements for the brown band.

I went small using a darling little Banty egg gifted to me by another egging friend. I was hoping the small egg would force me to narrow my attention and focus on pulling out some key features that I could add and build upon when I went back to the large egg. That really worked! I wasn’t frozen with the thought of planning out the whole large design.

At this stage, the egg has its start with the black dye, and I was ready to draw the designs.

Here I have waxed the lines over the black egg and it has also been etched back to white.

Using a paintbrush I dropped in dye (instead of dunking the whole egg in the dye) for the tree, leaves, and bird. It was etched back to white again, then using a heavy kistka (its tip has a larger hole allowing for more wax to flow) I covered the whole background of the bird so it would remain white. I repeated the whole process for the brown band. I was on a roll and neglected to take pictures of those stages.

Here are pictures of the completed egg study:

Reflections…I feel much more confident going forward in designing the band on the rhea egg. In fact, I’m kind of excited about it! I’m satisfied with the birds, but I was disappointed with how the black outlines lost some of their intensity. I’m not sure what to do to prevent that. The black outlines on the brown band turned out with a nice dark richness to them. Why there and not on the bird sections? Something to think on…

Adding to my list of summer goals is to complete the rhea egg. I am not putting a deadline on it, that would only haunt me and take the fun out of making it. I will add posts of its progress….stay tuned!

Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth. 

—Julie Andrews


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