The dawn of each new year often leads me to reflect on events of the previous year and this New Year is no exception. I find myself grateful for having had the opportunity for writing for Emu's Zine and meeting many kind souls from around the world. The majority of these new friends are of the creative nature so we've found many things in common. Within this select group, I've been delighted to discover that they each lead lives of passing on their knowledge or, as is the case with the featured artists here, carrying on the traditions graciously given them by others.
Kruger is an artist and silversmith from the outskirts of Johannesburg, South
Africa, where she creates her unique vessels from ostrich eggs. As a result of
her love of Africa and her travels there, she was given the images of works
inspired by the San Bushman. The survival of this nomadic people depended on the
ostrich as their travels lead them to endure the harsh conditions of the desert
and ostrich eggs were the only means of carrying water. The Bushmen cleaned the
eggs and the contents were consumed by their families. Eventually, a leather
hide carrying several eggs would be buried in the desert sand and accessed on
the return journeys from hunts lasting two to three weeks. As a matter of
history, ostrich shells of various shapes and sizes were discovered in The
Border Cave of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, dating 40,000 years old.
with this knowledge and driving inspiration, the idea of creating vessels of
note and making them available for actual use consumed Dalene for several years.
In wanting to make a usable and unique utensil, she felt that by adding sterling
silver and gold fretwork and charms, she would also have a beautiful and
marketable product. So it was quietly and diligently that Dalene went to work,
taking a silversmith course part time that took three and a half years to
complete. With this done, she soon set up shop and began giving reality to her
visions from years before. It took another 14 months before Dalene had her first
completed eggs and to insure their uniquity, another 18 months to have them
registered and patented. What she had by this time was eight simple and yet
truly elegant vessels that could be used in any home for serving drinks and
foods. Her hard work of handcrafting and personalizing paid off with her first
exhibition in 1998
and many annual exhibitions throughout Africa and the United Kingdom since then.
Several of her works have found their way into Buckingham Palace and many will
become gifts for ministers of foreign countries.
There is no telling where her work will lead her, but I have little doubt that Dalene's work will definitely travel the world and I'm sure you'll agree.
Please visit Dalene Kruger online at http://www.krugereggs.co.za
Karola Kanold was born in Solingen, Germany and led a life that took her to Bremen in 1976 to study art. After graduating in 1980, she pursued many artistic endeavors in Germany and then traveled to Australia in 1988. She met her soul mate, Tony Evans, in Queensland that year and in 1992, the pair found themselves in the Opal Fields around Lightening Ridge NSW where they ended up making their home.
It wasn't until 1997 that Karola and Tony discovered emu egg carving through a local skillshare association that was sponsoring a two week course. The course instructor was Fay Green, an Aboriginal egg carver well known throughout NSW. Tony admits that Fay had to have been a wonderful instructor as he turned out an emu egg that wasn't too bad! Karola on the other hand to the art like a duck to water and Fay, in turn, took Karola under her wing -- no pun intended. By the end of the course, Karola had carved three eggs that looked as if she had been carving them all her life!
Upon my first visit to her website, there were a few things that enthralled me, the first of which -- besides the beauty of her creations -- was her documentation of the history of her newly chosen homeland with "The Long Haul" being one of my favorites. This first "tour" of mine was taken in ignorance I have to admit as when we here in the States speak of egg carving or eggshell sculpting, we usually mean that we use low speed or highspeed rotary tools and engraving systems. In Karola's case, well, this is not the case, Folks. Karola's tools of choice are worn out sheep shearing blades and all of the carving is done in a slow process of removing layer after layer of the emu egg until the final image emerges from the shell! The rough outer layer is removed from the area Karola wishes to carve and the soft layer underneath is gently sanded away until the harder middle layers are exposed -- here, the carving begins. Arduous as the work may be, the effects are stunning and worth the effort.
My heartfelt thanks go out to both of these ladies for their visions, their ingenuity, and their efforts. They've not only given us a new view of the possibilities of egg art but they're also carrying on the traditions of those who've come before us.