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From the Eggshelf

A Passion for Art, Animals and Eggs

by Karen Myers

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One discovery that continues still to fascinate me, while surfing the net or chatting with others via email, are the many wonderful people I meet throughout the States and around the world. That Margmug.jpg (15347 bytes)discovery becomes even more precious when you meet kindred spirits who share your love of the feathered, finned, furred, and scaled creatures that weasel their way into our lives without so much as a blink or a nod. One such kind soul is Marg McCarthy, (left) who holds the enviable position of one who makes her living doing what she loves.

"Fairies and Swans"
Dallas Eggsibit 2000
1st place Hand painted
 Winners Division

Remembering our first conversation is lost on me now, as there have been many that followed, but there is little doubt that it began with the viewing of one of Marg's incredibly gorgeous painted eggs. In the hands of a few talented painters and eggers who paint, you can find yourself being pulled into the egg and absorbed by the textures, the glint of an eye, or the dewdrop waiting to fall at first light.  In Marg's capable hands, it is so very easy to convince yourself that you can reach into the egg and stroke the fur or feathers of the creature that she has brought to life for you. 

The realism in her work will take your breath away with the magic that each creation holds. And when I tell you that Marg started "painting eggs for fun" only five short years ago, you'll find it very difficult to believe.

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Having spent a good bit of her life in South Carolina, Marg's love for animals and nature began, no doubt, in her early wanderings and explorations where she chased anything that moved, hopped, flew, or remained so still while she and the creature she discovered looked one another over from head to toe to tail. I'm sure that the closeness she felt with the creatures she met led her to believe that she could talk with the animals, just as many of us did in our childhood. From those early expeditions came a career in animal husbandry followed by a move to Fort Collins, Colorado, and a job in an Avian Exotic Veterinary Clinic where, finally, a request from a client led Marg into the world of egging.

Marg-BParrot.jpg (11866 bytes) From that first request of painting a parrot on a parrot shell and the requests for pet portraits that followed, Marg's passion for animals and passion for painting on eggshells, grew into a full time job and marked the beginnings of her company, The Eggcellent Collection™. Out of these beginnings, Marg has found herself working more hours in a day than she ever worked at a "real" job, but she has been rewarded for her efforts with representation at a Fort Collins gallery, The Imagemaker, as well as Gallery 912 1/2 in Santa Maria, California. Just recently, she was honored to have her egg chosen to represent the state of Colorado in the White House 2000 Easter Celebration. Between her work for the galleries and the accolades she's earned, Marg finds the time to attend shows and juried art exhibitions along with teaching classes in painting on eggshells. Though sometimes difficult for beginning painters, her favorite shells fora_pass6.jpg (11666 bytes) painting are emu shells because of the contrast of the soft palette of her painted subjects with the unique coloration of the emu eggshell. On top of all of this, she has a patent pending on "The Cherish Series" which are specially reinforced crematory urns made of eggshells that hold not only the ashes of a beloved companion but have a painted portrait of the cherished pet on the outside of the shell. 

Since the first painted eggshells that Marg created, it was not until the 1999 International Eggsibit in Dallas, Texas, that she realized that you could be in a room full of hundreds of people and never have to explain what an "egger" was. The Eggsibit was also the first opportunity for Marg to enter her work in a competition and she did so with great reluctance and with prodding from her best friend, Helen, who told her "You never learn by backing up!" So, Marg entered an emu shell with three red-eyed tree frogs painted around the egg, all the while telling herself that she was a "nut" for going up against the beaded, bejeweled, cut, carved, mechanical, musical, and otherwise beguiling eggs.
"The Dallas Frogs" 
Dallas Eggsibit 1999
First place in 
"Hand Painted, Novice Division"
 "Best In Show"

And, for those of you who don't know the rest of the story, Marg's painted emu shell with three red-eyed tree frogs -- now dubbed "The Dallas Frogs" - won first place in "Hand Painted, Novice Division" and went on to receive "Best In Show" with the same painted egg. As if these awards were not enough, she won first place in "Miniatures" with "Baby Robin" singing itsMarge-Cignet-Pheas.jpg (40021 bytes) heart out on a pheasant shell, while her newly hatched swan won a second place ribbon in "Theme - 'Swan's Song'" in honor of Jane Crawley's last, and 25th year, of sponsoring the Dallas Eggsibit. 

In the Dallas Eggsibit 2000, another of Marg's emu shells titled "How Fairies Play" won first place in "Hand Painted, Winners Division". My husband, Herman, and I were at our first Dallas Eggsibit this year, where we finally had the opportunity to meet Marg, and where we also came away as winners too. We didn't bring any ribbons home with us, but we came away with something just as precious -- the warm and wonderful meetings with a room full of folks who have become a part of our lives in ways we never thought possible. To accompany these gifts, we met some of those "magical few" like Marg, who are able to move us in ways heretofore unimaginable with their creations... kindred spirits who take a bit of heaven, let it rumble around for a while inside of their heads, turn it into art, and finally share the celebration of its creation with us. And yes, I think Marg does talk with the animals, but she hasn't told me yet what they say.

Visit Marg McCarthy's world at  The Eggcellent Collection™

Visit Karen Myers page


        Emu's Zine does not diagnose, prescribe or dispense medical advice.  We report and attempt to educate the public about the possible health benefits derived through the use of emu oil based products and consumption of low cholesterol, low fat emu meat.   This site contains personal testimonies and professional observations.   We encourage people to contact their family physicians regarding any health problems they may have for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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