Art et Artisanat du monde
Art et Artisanat du Monde
Art et Artisanat du Monde - Nothing else than Nature

Translation in progress

Christel, France, sculpte des oeufs de toute taille, avec une grande finesse...

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Light on Christel Assante, egg shell carver

Christel Assante, egg shell carver Here is an interview of Christel, one of our most famous artist in France and abroad!

She carves and paints all sorts of egg shells from quail to ostrich egg shells,
and attend numerous shows either in Compiègne (decorated egg shell show of Compiègne)
or Nimes (Nimagine), the art crafts show in Nimes.

Tell us more about you, how did you start to work on egg shells ? Have you an artistic education ?
This question is always the most difficult for me, indeed, I don't know at all what pushes people to adopt this so special technic. It happens often without knowing why. I actually likes drawing on this so symbolic shape, on this so pleasant material because very porous which allow numerous different technics ... The egg shape allows to present scenes which evolve as you turn around it. I like this idea ...
I have always drawn a lot, but, I have a scientific education, not artistic.

Christel Assante, egg shell carver For how long are you working with egg shells ?
I work on egg shells for roughly 8 years even if for 4/5 years I work less to take care of my children (4years and 18 months). I have now new ideas and I really want to give them birth, my creativity is waking up ...
Do you exhibit often ? Where ?
I work a lot through internet and I exhibit on shows dedicated to decorated eggs where all artists work on the same material with the same passion for egg shells. Usually, exhibitions take place around Easter period. The most interestings I know take place in Tours, Thann, Compiègne, Geneva ... And there are lot of others I do not know ...

What is the most bizarre place where you exhibited ? The farest place ?
I never exhibited in a bizarre place, rooms are always nice and well adapted for an exhibition. The farest place remains the exhibition held in Thann in Alsace .

Christel Assante, egg shell carver
Christel Assante, egg shell carver Which work how you the most proud of ?
The work I am the most proud of is, of course, always the one I am working on ...

Do you propose training courses ?
No , I don't.

Let's talk technic :
Which egg shell are you using ? (Chicken, goose, ostrich, other ?)

I always use true egg shells, because I like the material and the magic of the result sometimes so fragile, that's the most interesting for me. I carve from the ostrich egg shell (the biggest) to emu egg shell, and also nandu, goose, pheasant, duck and quail egg shell. I do not work at all with chicken eggs !! Why? Good question !!

Do you have a prefered egg shell ?
Indeed, I tend to prefer nandu egg shell which is thick giving me more possibilities. The result is really worthwhile. Unfortunately, these eggs are difficult to find. I can also use the emu egg shell. The dark green color is beautifull but its shell is thinner, so less comfortable to carve.

Nandu egg carving - Christel Assante
 egg carving - Christel Assante How do you find shells ?
I find shells thanks to friends, neighbours. In the past, I also had geese and my mother had nandus and all sort of birds ... Sometimes, people also keep for me some eggs. For goose egg shells, I prefer the ones coming from Gers where they are large and thick!!

Nota : Christel receives egg shells coming from a farm in Gers. This farm has a partnership with Art et Artisanat du Monde.

We receive a lot of questions about the necessary equipment to carve egg shells. Can you describe the equipment you use ?
It is not necessary to have lot of material to start carving eggs, a knife and some vinegar are sufficient to begin with, then you can buy a mini drill. Those of good quality have good peformances and avoid most of vibrations (which remain the true problem). Then, don't forget to use diamond coated drill for the best result ... I always bring my equipment with me when I exhibit to show people ... but, the best is to practise, at the beginning, sometimes I spent one week on one egg without being sure of the result !!! But, Iam very stubborn and I remade the same model until I succeeded.
Egg carving - Christel Assante
Egg carving -  Christel Assante According to you, what is the highest difficulty when carving egg shells?
The highest difficulty for carving egg is to respect the structure of the shell. The more holes you drill, the more difficult it is to keep homogenity. The less you keep, the more fragile are the remaining part, as for any other material...
Egg carving - Christel Assante

What is your advise to someone who would like to try to carve egg shells ?
The only good advise for me is to do and re-do again until you reach success !!!

How can we be sure that the shell will not break ? A preparation ? A way tohandle it ?
Unfortunately, there is no way to reinforce a shell for carving, by the way this is what creates the magic of a finished carving !!! I tried some option like salt in water, etc ... no change at all. As far as I am concerned, I keep the shell in hand, I find it the best to decrease the vibrations, but, others keep it on a fabric ...

What is the best way to keep a decorated/carved egg shell at home ?

Of course, one can put it in a glass cabinet, it is the safest way tokeep it because it is kept apart from wind and curious cats !!! ... but, I like having them out of the glass cabinet and I have always one above my fire-place without particular protection because I find it is the better place in my home, others will have a specific shelf ...

An additionnal message for readers ?
I am often asked the time to create a work, now I am used to, I need 8 hours to carve a goose egg shell and one week for an ostrich egg shell ...

Many thanks for this interview, I hope I provided complete answers to questions often asked about this so particular technic.

Discover here pictures of Christel at work with step by step explanations :
Christel Assante - sculpture oeufs sculptés Christel Assante - sculpture oeufs sculptés Christel Assante - sculpture oeufs sculptés

All Christel's works are visible here

Christel, sculpture sur oeuf Christel, sculpture sur oeuf Christel, sculpture sur oeuf Christel, sculpture sur oeuf