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The Last Page





Fulfilling A Promise 

by Karen Myers

It wasn't so long ago that while surfing the net, I 'discovered' a handful of web sites about some egg artists and their incredibly beautiful works. I remember, too, that in subscribing to an eggers' list, I was merely looking at the ideas, the inspirations, and the creations of some wonderful eggers. One thought I never Srosedol.jpg (20962 bytes) imagined though was that so many of these warm and caring souls would become so near and dear to my heart -- and equal to their passion for egg art is their passion for kindred spirits and their desire to pass their knowledge on to others. One such precious soul is Shirley Rose and I can honestly tell you that her impact on the world of egg art is as indelible as the sheer number of eggers she has drawn into this unique niche in the world of art. 

In the exchange of emails with Shirley over the last few months, I consider myself blessed with her friendship and with her "can do" attitude. From the age of nine, Shirl has always remembered the words of wisdom her grandfather shared with her -- "Shirley, there is no such thing as 'I can't'. You must always, at the least, try."  With those words resounding inside, Shirley told me, "I am who I am because of what my grandfather taught me." 

Srclkfrt.jpg (25414 bytes)With that in mind, off she went -- learning to knit and crochet at 13, learning and loving to draw in school, learning to sew and redesign garments for clothes of her own, and using dyes to change the appearance of her clothing. It was in school, from her art teacher and from her God given talents, that Shirley discovered an appreciation for art in any form. In not accepting the concept of "I can't", she jumped readily into any challenge. With her early artistic beginnings, she found herself dabbling in ceramics, oil painting, sewing, knitting, and quilting -- just to name a few. For Shirley, any art form was worth a try, but as is the case with so many eggshell artists, it was not until she shirley rose Emuclkbk.jpg (23695 bytes) stumbled into the world of egg decorating that her love of art was fulfilled. She soon realized that her skills, talents, and endeavors in her former works of art could be used, in one way or another, with her new found love. Yet again, as is the case with the eggshell artists who paved the way before her, love and passion for egg decorating grew with each egg she created. 

Shirley was raised in the San Francisco Bay area and attended schools in Shirley Rose Emucryst.jpg (23548 bytes) Alameda and Hayward, include Chabot Junior College and San Jose State College.  After she and her husband, Tony -- who celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary this past February -- raised their two sons and daughter, Shirley earned her B.S. in Business from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California. With this degree that she earned as an adult, she ended up graduating the same year as her two sons did from the University of San Francisco. As if these academic accomplishments Srclkbk.jpg (18755 bytes) weren't enough, Shirley worked for the California Department of Education as a 'Child Nutrition Consultant' and retired from that job in 1982. Stir into this pot the "five handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters" -- as only all proud grandparents can say -- and we've only touched the very tip of an iceberg! 

It was in the spring of 1985 that Shirley viewed an egg art display in her hometown of Auburn, California. Taking the Shirley rose Emjwtop.jpg (31149 bytes) initiative yet again, Shirl contacted the artist, Lucille McGreevy, requesting more information. When Shirley was invited to Lucille's home and had the opportunity to view her egg collection, Shirl was hooked. And even though she was cautioned that egging was not a hobby but a genuine art form and that it was relatively expensive to begin, it never slowed Shirl down for a minute. Shortly thereafter, Shirley saw an ad for Susan Byrd's book, Basic Eggery, and immediately purchased it, beginning to teach herself about egg decorating. To pursue her passion further, Shirley asked Lucille to become her mentor and direct her to sources of supplies. In return, Shirley promised Lucille that she would pass on what she learned to others and at every opportunity. What a promise! For there is little doubt that Shirley fulfilled her promise and then some -- always going that extra mile!

Srjewop.jpg (24776 bytes)Shirley joined the Northern California Egg Artist group -- NCEA -- that same year and found herself fortunate enough to become associated with and befriended by many well-known egg artists including Joan Huff, Tik Looman, and Sally Levan. She attended her first seminar with Gloria Harrison where she cut and created a sailboat from a large goose egg -- a creation she cherishes to this day. It was just a year later that Shirley displayed her first creations at the Northern California Egg show, then held in Palo Alto. For a moment, imagine the twinkle in her eye for "a mere novice" having the audacity to display her work! Shirley did let me know that though her eggs were well received, her craftsmanship was not that good and, as for why, she explained "she was always in a hurry to finish one and go to work on the next". Never the less, she persevered with her creations and the result was a true professionalism and well deserved pride in the finished product.

Srjewlry.jpg (28974 bytes)It wasn't long before Shirley became involved with the International Egg Artists Guild -- IEAG -- and its "Masters Program". She spearheaded the program on the west coast and trained others to judge by judging their own eggs. The results were a realization of the flaws in an egger's work, the acceptance of constructive criticism, and the subsequent striving for perfection -- all in all, the essence behind IEAG's "Masters Program". On a personal level, Shirley's involvement in the program led to her earning of the prestigious "Master of Egg Art" in 1998. This is an honor earned upon obtaining "Masters Certificates" in six different categories/methods of creating works of art with eggs! Though Shirley had several entries that did not pass at the level entered, she again persisted and in her words, "If I can do it, anyone can!"

Srswan3.jpg (9681 bytes)With the accomplishments I've listed of this wonderful and gracious friend, Shirl has many more honors to her credit -- blue ribbons earned with her art, the honors bestowed upon and requested of her, and the positions she's held within the IEAG that has helped and served all eggshell artists. Without a doubt, she's been passing on all the information and knowledge she could to countless eggers. Shirley has also given presentations and demonstrations, and taught classes whenever and wherever she could. She was instrumental in establishing the Sacramento Egg Show when NCEA moved it from Palo Alto. She directed and helped with the show for five years and is currently serving as the group's President and will serve as co-chair inn 2002. Last, but definitely not least, is -- in my opinion -- her greatest accomplishment and that is the self-publication of six books dedicated to egg art. She told me that since she couldn't teach as many as she would like to, she published a first book for beginners in 1995. The Wonderful World of Eggery is now in its third printing. In 1999, The Wonderful World of Eggery II -- Beyond the Basics reached the market. In addition to these books, Shirley developed and published four books of patterns, one of which takes you through creating copies of six Faberge' eggs!

Srswan1.jpg (21808 bytes)I'm sure that we all agree that the world of egging has been blessed with one truly incredible lady. And, you've read enough here to know that Shirley is not one to rest on her laurels, so its safe to say that she is not done with her work yet. With all I learned about her prior to writing this article, I had this thought in the back of my head as to what she would have in store for us next. I finally found out that she's tackling some eggshell sculpting. Shirl's carved several ostrich eggs and entered one in IEAG's Masters Program and passed with flying colors, so what could be next? Well, she's now sculpting an emu egg! Of course, its no wonder that she could resist the challenge of these wonderful eggs and working with their several layers of color -- without a doubt, we are in for a treat!

Srswan2.jpg (23120 bytes) There is one more treat, well two actually, that Shirley is offering us -- she's sent us the directions for patterns for creating the beautiful "Swan" egg featured in the "Easter Parade" in the last issue of Emu's Zine - (see left), and she's also done the same with the elegant "Black Pearl Elegance". Try your hand at one or both of these designs, if you will, because this time it won't "simply" be a fulfillment of a promise that Shirley made to Lucille years ago. This time, it'll be a tribute to Shirl's lifetime of caring and sharing -- an acknowledgement of her gratitude to the Lord above for allowing her to be able to pass on to us all some of what she's learned. Godspeed, Shirl.  

Directions for Black Pearl Elegance

Directions for Emu Swan Surprise

Shirley Rose may be reached via


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