Brooklyn artists create intricate mosaics, furniture using egg shells
By PIX 11
RED HOOK, N.J. —Rather than trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, all the king's horses, and all the king's men may have been better off turning him into a table, a mirror or maybe even a door.
It seems to be working for Mark de la Vega and his team at DLV Designs down in Red Hook.
"It's really unique, it's really beautiful, there's tactile quality and at a distance you can't really tell what it is," said de la Vega.
The industrial designer started with a dozen eggs from the local bodega about four years ago.
"As time went on I found that if I try the organic eggs, they break apart less."
Now he spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on eggs sourced exclusively from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania.
The priceless palette stacked delicately in an egg carton-like tupperware, until artisans like Paige Riddering are ready to work.
"It's definitely a jigsaw," said Riddering. "I like the challenge of that."
She's been working with the medium for about a year.
"My practice has always been kind of collage-y, mixed media any way, so it just kind of fits."
While Riddering says the process has gotten easier with experience, sometimes the shells follow their own patterns like the jazz music she listens to while she works.
"If I just try to keep the shells together as I can, it will really dictate it's own life and what it wants to do," said Riddering.
The egg shell art isn't new, in fact it's an ancient Vietnamese technique.
"Often in a mural they had a crane, maybe an old man with a beard, and the feathers, and the beard, and the whites of his eyes would have been little bits of duck egg laid into the lacquer," said de la Vega.
And the process is incredibly intricate with more than 100 steps to complete each work.
"And you can't mess up anyone along the way or you have months of energy down the drain," said de la Vega. "There's really no way to rescue it once you've made one wrong move."
Which is why the time, training, and technique that goes into each piece is what makes the work so unique.
"It's what sets us apart is how beautiful something can be, not just can we make something crackly."
So how much will you have to shell out for one of the works of art? Well, de la Vega has regular size mirrors framed using the technique which sell for $2,000 to $3,000. Larger workers can cost tens-of-thousands of dollars each.