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The Last Page
From the Eggshelf
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 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
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.
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.
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 for
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.
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.
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
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.
McCarthy's world at The Eggcellent Collection™
Karen Myers page