Ouef Couture (Part II): Still Dressin' Eggs...

comments (6) March 23rd, 2009     

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Jeff_Rudell Jeffery Rudell, contributor
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A simple egg-decorating project has taken on deeper meaning as a place to work out ideas for display and packaging.
It seemed ironic, yet strangely appropriate, to give a pair of wings to an egg that will never have a pair of its own.
I tried to see just how far I could reduce the idea of a basket without losing functionality. Here I have only warp, no weft, to hold my eggs in place.
A simple egg-decorating project has taken on deeper meaning as a place to work out ideas for display and packaging.

A simple egg-decorating project has taken on deeper meaning as a place to work out ideas for display and packaging.

Photo: Jeff Rudell

Projects do not always take one week to complete, creating them is not always a matter of simply following a set of instructions (1, 2, 3), and submissions are not always met with words of praise and encouragement: In brief, life is not a blog. The fact of the matter is projects take anywhere from one day (rarely) to three months to complete, creating them is often an exercise in inventing the solution first before executing it, and praise and encouragement, while sometimes present, are often overshadowed by a strange mix of self-doubt and drive.

When I'm working for a client, I understand these facts and I've learned to adjust my expectations accordingly; to be both more self-directed and self-encouraging. However, with projects I undertake for my own amusement, insecurities often rear their heads: Is it a good idea, will others "get" what I'm trying to do, how much time can I reasonably devote to "frivolous" things when client work (read: income-generating work) is on my desk awaiting my attention.

My Easter egg decorating post is a case in point. I've now spent two weeks crafting objects for this collection (in between my regular work) and at some point in the process of each egg I have found myself wondering, "Am I wasting time? What good is this? Will other people 'get' it?"

Then, mid-week, at around egg number 18, I realize that what I'm engaged in is less a matter of making an object and more a matter of investigating ideas; less a matter of work and more a matter of play. Of course, the argument could be made that these are a ridiculous waste of time, but I think a counter argument could also be made that in a very real sense, these objects are simply practice for bigger and better (and PAID) jobs I will likely undertake in the future. Because they have no client connected to them, it begs the question whether words like "success" or "failure" can even be applied. They are investigations only; examples of my mind and my hands working in concert to find new things to do with paper.

This realization, of course, gives new meaning to the whole enterprise and changes the dynamic from one where I'm taking time away from work to one where I'm actually making time to develop work for the future. From this vantage I can see how some designs I am working on for table decor are being played with in some of my egg forms. With my "Scotch Egg" design, the idea is flowing in the opposite direction: I feel I've learned something I will be able to apply to a packaging job I'm working on for a small company.

By taking a broader look at my client work and the projects I do here at CraftStylish.com, I can see now that they are really quite closely connected: The former can be thought of as a "manufacturing division," while the latter assumes the role of "Research and Development." Clearly, playing deserves attention as much as work does since playing leads to improvements in my work. Which ideas turn out to be good and useful ones and which don't is a question for another day. For now I think it's enough to have realized that I have a responsibility of sorts (to myself and my clients) to engage in discrete, regular, weekly periods of play, to follow the simple rule "be curious and explore," and to encourage myself as much as possible. This, of course, is the gist of what I do in this space on CraftStylish.

It turns out that life is much like a blog after all!

(Check out part 1 of this post here.)

Note to readers on Twitter:

If you're a fan of Twitter and would like to read my Tweets, you're welcome to follow me at http://twitter.com/jeffrudell. You'll get a glimpse at how I fill my days (e.g., collecting cardboard from Wal-Mart dumpsters, exploring the attic archives of an antique wallpaper store in Chinatown, building a 6-foot-wide papier-mache sun for chic boutique). I also share links to online paper projects I think are extraordinary and pass along information on suppliers, vendors, and material resources as I find them. I hope to see you there.

P.S.: I'd also like to give a special shout out to hemidemisemiquaver for posting pictures of her own egg project on last week's blog. You were an inspiration to me and I'm grateful for your participation. You're the best!

Begin with six (6) sheets of paper (6 inches x 4-1/2 inches each). Fold them in half and cut out a profile design that appeals to you. Glue all six pieces together—face to face with their center creases facing inward toward one another—to create your model.


Alternatively, you can glue your sheets of paper together before you cut your design through all layers at once. Be warned, though, cutting through all 12 layers at once takes both a steady hand and a sharp blade.


My intention was to create some sort of Faberge-egg-on-a-pedestal but the finished object looks more like a cross between a lunar lander and a sea urchin.

For this you'll need two circles (each with a different-sized hole in it) and a strip of contrasting paper for the edge. To determine the width of your strip of paper, place a disk on each end of your eggshell and measure the gap between them.


This detail image makes clear why cutting each flap into a triangular shape helps facilitate a smooth surface onto which to glue the disks.


A detail inside the object of one of the disks glued in place. Allow pieces to dry completely before inserting your egg and attaching the second disk.


A friend has already christened this "The Scotch Egg" for its resemblance to that delicious (and fattening) concoction. I love the tailored quality it has. Such a perfect fit, strong shape, and bold colors say "bespoke" to any hen in the know.

Last week's attempt at this sort of container used two different sheets of paper (in two different colors) but had to be fitted with struts to keep it in place. This 2.0 design enlists a swirl of purple strips to create a form-hugging nest that keeps this egg in place.

For this piece, I simply cut strips into a sheet of paper (6 inches x 9 inches), folded it over two eggs, and glued the ends in place. By strategically gluing the end strips partially closed, this forms a surprisingly secure little carrying case for this pair of kissing eggshells.

In this example, I simply created a small, square egg cup (albeit one with two rather extravagant wings jutting up from either side). A small packet of precut confetti layered across the surface made this seem so whimsical and lighter than air.

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Comments (6)

beinred writes: The importance of play has been coming up a lot in my life recently. I enjoyed your take on it.
Posted: 12:41 pm on April 11th
brendamarks writes: Thank you for sharing how your ideas develop. I am always interested in how artists think about their work! And, your work is terrific. Love the Scotch egg!
Posted: 11:03 pm on March 28th
brookebethany writes: It is easy to feel guilty when the products of our studio only please us - or if they leave us unsatisfied. But I agree that playing is so very important and altho the path we follow sometimes doesn't seem to be leading anywhere useful, I just can't subscribe to the notion that it is time wasted.
Posted: 8:20 pm on March 23rd
LauraMM writes: Nice post! The wings are great!
Posted: 1:11 pm on March 23rd
hemidemisemiquaver writes: YES! These colors are FANTASTIC! I may play along some more and make something this week. Perhaps with the buttons still in focus as well. The modern Faberge one? WHAT? Freakin' brilliant.
Posted: 1:05 pm on March 23rd
I_am_Susan writes: It is a real treat to learn about your creative process, you are inspiring! I love the egg with wings, it's so delicate and fun.
Posted: 11:48 am on March 23rd
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