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September/October 2000

MY FOWL EGGERS FAMILY

By: Lee Michele Boyle

I have always believed that God blesses us with a special gift in life, as well as providing us with the challenge of discovering, developing, and sharing that special gift.  To help guide us along the way, I also believe that God provides us with a gifted "angel" - for me, that person was Doris Lockerbie.

On March 4, 1998, I read a Calgary Herald article titled "Shell Game" about Doris Lockerbie that showcased her "magical touch" in creating "unique and gorgeous masterpieces" of innovative eggery art.  The article went on to describe the "egg-o-mania" found each and every day in her home.  The photographs portrayed this cuddly "grandma-type" with a beautiful smile and a face radiant with the joy of sharing her art, and I knew in my heart that I just had to meet her.  Little did either Doris or I know at that time how much that article would change both of our lives (and for the better, might I add!).

After telephoning the contact number provided in the article, I discovered to my delight that she resided nearby in the Northwest part of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  I'm sure she detected the pleading note in my voice during that call, because she graciously invited Mom and I over to see her egging works of art. Needless to say, Mom and I were absolutely awed!  It was clearly evident to us

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Doris  Lockerbie

why she was the first international artist to be inducted into the Creativeside's Eggers' Hall of Fame.  Hoping against all hope, we asked her if she would consider giving classes, and she agreed to think about it.  Enough people must have begged and pleaded with her, because soon after she called us to let us know that she would be willing to teach two classes for a nominal fee that would include all supplies.



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Grace Dahl

So it was in March of 1998 that a group of strangers with varying artistic backgrounds came together for the first time to be introduced to the fascinating world of egging under Doris' capable, guiding hands.  Amongst our group was: Rita Brown, an active member of Calgary's Ukrainian community and a volunteer at the Ukrainian Museum and Gift Shop, and who was a popular Pysanky artist teacher in the Calgary school system; Grace Dahl, a talented Claresholm, Alberta, egging artist in her own right; Debbie Fodor, a professional Banff, Alberta, artist

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Debbie Fodor

who had been creating amazing duck eggshell jewelry with a batik technique and who had previously been corresponding via email with Doris through the Creativeside mailing list; Karen McKoen, of Calgary, Alberta, whose background included oil painting, ceramics, airbrushing, and other arts and crafts and whose artistic talent continued to show through despite the crippling effects of arthritis; Shirley Munro, a talented Calgary silversmith and expert weaver who had a background in miniatures and antiques; Gloria Sakatch, who was a gifted seamstress talented in a variety of arts and crafts; and Elaine Warholm, who was also a multi-talented artist in the mediums of stained glass, quilting, fuzzy teddybear making, and beaded/jeweled Styrofoam ornament-making, as well as many other arts and crafts.  My own primarily self-trained background in pysanky, airbrushed ceramics, and pencil crayon drawings, had been carefully hidden away from the public eye in my parents' home ever since a humiliating experience with a high school art teacher, so I was a bit shy, and I must admit that at first I felt somewhat overwhelmed in the presence of such professional and experienced artists, but that feeling quickly changed to excitement as each artist openly shared suggestions and enthusiastically supported and encouraged one another.

Each of us took turns cutting an oval with a dremel out of a blown chicken egg, and I'm proud to say that although it was the first time most of us had ever operated a power tool of that nature, none of us cracked our egg!  We were off to a fine start.  That same class, we tackled our first goose egg, cutting an oval, inserting a floor, and beginning to decorate it in dioramic style, each to our own taste.  Doris encouraged individual creativity.  While we would all learn the same basic technique (such as hinging), we were not expected to do identical creations.  We were each given a blown goose egg so that we could begin designing our first cutaway egg to be cut at the following class.  As that second class drew to a close, I do not think any of us could bear thinking about ending such an amazing learning experience.  We were all having a ball!  It was proposed that we continue meeting on a monthly basis with no membership fees and take turns hosting the meetings.  Each member was encouraged to freely share their ideas and teach the techniques gleaned from their own experiences, as might be applied to the art of eggery.

The next step was to decide on a name for our group.  With the help of Debbie Fodor's family, we affectionately adopted the name of "the Fowl Eggers", a humorous play on words that caught our attention, and at that point we became a family.  At 38 years of age, I was the "baby" hatchling, and Doris was lovingly referred to as our "Mother Hen".  She took all of us under her wing, as she encouraged and nurtured the fledgling talents around her.  We soon accepted into our happy flock of "hens" our first "rooster”:  Richard French, a professional glass engraver from Okotoks, Alberta.  Our family has recently grown to include Donna May, who comes to us with a background in pysanky and a boundless eagerness to learn.  As a smaller group, we have been able to get to know each other better, having now grown to care for each other and our families, and being for each other a source of support, inspiration, honest critique, and encouragement.  Without my Fowl Eggers family, I know my art would have remained hidden and undiscovered.

We have all been introduced via the computer and the internet to the international world of egging, particularly through Creativeside's mailing list and Emu's Zine on-line egg contest.  We have been fortunate in that we have been offered feature pages as guest artists in Creativeside's "Eggers' Encyclopedia".  For those of our group who do not own a scanner, Doris has done the scanning of our egg art photographs to enable us to share them with others via the internet.  We have found local farm sources of unblown eggs, and buy eggs and supplies in bulk as a group whenever possible to save costs.  We also share other cost-saving hints.  Doris has helped to instill in us the confidence we needed to begin selling, exhibiting, and entering into competition our egging creations, as well as to begin submitting articles for publication on the techniques we've mastered/ pioneered. I think that one of the highest compliments I have ever received was when Doris wished to purchase one of my eggs, and, finding out that I probably could not get it past my dear Mom (who already had fallen in love with it), then she asked me to leave it to her in my Will!   This year, our Fowl Eggers family won all the ribbons in the Eggery Class in the Calgary Stampede’s Creative Living Showcase, and for the first time, eggery art was accepted for competition and won ribbons in other non-egging classes!  Our group has continued to amaze the Judges and the international visitors to the Stampede with the versatility and imaginative creativity of this form of art.  As this medium becomes more visible in Calgary, we have begun to receive requests to speak and demonstrate same, particularly just before the Easter season.

Doris pioneered the technique of vinegar-etching and introduced us to the beauty of our first vinegar-etched emu egg.  My vinegar-etched "Paws of a Lynx" has now Lynx1.jpg (33657 bytes)become a visual symbol of my egg art, thanks to my wonderful Fowl Eggers family who recently presented me (during my recuperation from surgery) with a Fowl Eggers 2000 T-shirt emblazoned with the image of that special egg printed on its front.  I am so proud and honored to wear it, and the interest and response of those I meet, including my physicians and other healthcare providers, has been phenomenal.

How fortunate for all of us that such a special angel came into our lives and continues to be a guiding influence.  We know that the coming year together as an egging family is sure to be filled with the excitement of new discoveries and the joys of new creations being shared!

Editors note: Lee Michele Boyle won First Place in the Diorama Category, Extravagant Emu Egg Contest 2000 for her entry, "Penguin Passion" and second place for "Paws of the Lynx" in the Carved/Etched/Engraved Emu Egg Category.

Lee Boyle can be reached by snail mail at:
1054 Northmount Drive, N.W.
Calgary, Alberta  T2L 0B9
Canada
Telephone (403) 289-1722
Visit her website at: Lee's Legacy
 or email her for more information on her eggs at:
leeboyle@telus.net

        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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