Artist: Gary Gunn
First Place - Carved/Etched/Sculpted
"Indian Wolf Egg"
Due to a back injury which resulted in a spinal fusion, Artist Gary Gunn is unable to sit for long periods of time in comfort. Because of this, his art studio is equipped with a day bed in addition to a chair. When actually sculpting an egg, he lies on his right side, propped up on the right elbow, holds the egg in his right hand and cuts with his left. Fortunately, most of the work is merely preparatory and can be done a little at a time. However, once the actual carving begins, the portrait must be completed. There is no stopping point and "getting back to it later". As you can imagine, this is an exhausting, albeit rewarding endeavor - especially when an portrait takes 6 or more hours to complete.
While the creative process is exciting, there is tedium. Finding the right egg is not enough, several hours are spend sanding the area to be carved smooth. "First you have to find a smooth emu egg. The rough outer surface will not allow you to do a portrait. These eggs are 1 in 50, so they are very hard to find. Sand the dark area where the photo is to be carved with 320 grit sandpaper and then with 600 grit." Gary goes on to say that he does a lot of custom family portraits and uses EZ transfer to apply the picture to the egg.
The son of a carpenter, Gary started off playing
around with left over wood scraps.
In high school
took wood shop and later learned automotive refinishing. As an adult
he became interested in hot air ballooning and eventually found himself carving
instrument panels for a growing number of balloon enthusiasts. He took an
interest in carving emu eggs when he saw the work of another artist at a show.
"I was intimidated by the delicate medium, I mean, I had been working with
wood!" Because he raises emu, he had a plentiful supply of eggs to
practice on. Several broken eggs later, he had the hang of working with
the many layers of shell color (the center, teal color, may have as many as 7
layers). Gary tells us that he uses whatever tool it takes to
bring his vision to life. A dremel will remove large areas of shell
quickly, a high speed air drill is used for most of the fine work. He will
use files, knives and sandpaper as needed to blend areas and "smooth
things up" to finish the egg.
The most difficult egg to carve? One with fur.
To see more of Gary Gunn's artwork, and perhaps share his talent with others by sending a post card with one of his creations on it, visit his website, Carved Eggs by Gary Gunn.