Hello, my name is Gary LeMaster and welcome to my site! I appreciate your interest and hope you find what you are looking for, be it information, tools and supplies, or just some simple inspiration. Egg carving has been a love of mine for many years and this website is a place for me to share my work, my insights, the tricks and techniques I have discovered over the years, and to share my handpicked set of tools with eggers out there desperately searching for the answer to the tools question. This site is intended to be a multi-facted and extensive resource for eggers around the globe. Egg carving is a deep passion of mine and nothing brings me more joy than to help others find what they need to blossom, whether you are just beginning your voyage into egg carving or decorating, or simply want to attain the next level in your development. So please explore the site and browse all the wonderful tools, supplies and information I have gathered here. I hope that you may find what you are looking for and also hope you share with me your thoughts and ideas about this wonderful art form and how I might expand this site to make it as helpful a resource as possible. We eggers have to stick together out there! Let me hear your voices! Contact me with suggestions.
A little about me: I have been carving eggs for 27 years. That's me on the left in New Zealand right about the time I really became interested in art. So, I've been producing art in one form or another for quite a long time.
My father, a farm boy from Illinois, fibbed about his age in order to serve in WWII, where he met my mother when he was stationed in New Zealand. She was a sophisticated young lady who practiced ballet and Scottish Highland dancing and was collecting quite a few medals and trophies for her efforts. Opposites attract, they say, and the story of them getting together after the war is a touching one. Ask me about it sometime. The point is that I grew up learning how to use tools, do woodworking (to my father's specs) while also listening to classical music and gaining a deep appreciation of the fine arts from my mother.
I had a scholarship in music to attend the University of Iowa, but turned it down to pursue a teaching degree at the University of Northern Iowa in history and English. Nope, not art. I am color-blind and although I continued to produce poetry and short stories, my visual art was limited to pencil, charcoal and pen and ink, which I practiced every day. I never took any art courses beyond art appreciation because I didn't think I was good enough. I graduated with a teaching degree in Spanish and was offered a fellowship to be the first student in the new Master's Program. The Viet Nam War influenced almost every decision young people made in those days and I opted to stay in school. I began grad school by taking 25 undergraduate Spanish students to Colombia to study and I both studied and taught while there. When we returned, I finished my Master's degree and was promptly offered a sizable fellowship to study for my PhD in Spanish at the University of Iowa, which I could hardly turn down. So for 5 more years I studied languages (we had to have a working knowledge of six different languages) along with Spanish and Latin-American civilization, history, literature, linguistics, etc. As luck would have it, I'd taken more courses than I actually needed, but still had fellowship money left.
As you might guess, I hustled myself over to the Art Department to enroll in some beginning art courses, full of excitement and dreams. When I tried to enroll, they refused, saying that I was a grad student and, thus, couldn't take undergraduate classes. The only possibility would be to take graduate classes in art, but I'd first have to be accepted and admitted, and for that to happen I would have to present a portfolio of my work to the graduate faculty who would judge me either worthy of them or not. With my lack of confidence, I'll never know why I put together some of my work and stood before that stern-looking semi-circle of frowning faces. They asked me to leave the room and it seemed an eternity before I was called back. In fact, I'd almost fled in the meantime. When I stood before them again, I was greeted with smiles, handshakes and congratulations on being admitted. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I ended up knocking myself over with beer, I believe, but that was long before I'd quit drinking. Thus, I began taking graduate art courses and wished every day that I'd had enough confidence to have been an undergraduate art major to begin with, but life takes some strange paths at times. In any event, I thoroughly enjoyed every class I took. I've since won numerous awards for my artwork, especially for book covers and for my pencil and pen and ink work. Not for sculpture, though… I've never entered my eggs in any competition. Perhaps I will… someday.
I very quickly became disillusioned with teaching at the college level - it wasn't my cup of tea - but while working in Administration at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the Art Director caught wind of what I was doing with eggshells and asked me to do a one-man show. It was unveiled on my birthday that Fall and I had a blast standing among viewers of the exhibition listening to what they had to say, until TV crews and newspapers had my face everywhere and I could no longer travel incognito among the onlookers. I sold a satisfying number of eggs and frequently, around Easter, some editor or producer would remember me and it would start all over again.
When my first website went up in 1996, I began getting 100 to 150 calls, letters or email messages every day from people who wanted to know how to carve eggs. I began writing a beginner's book, but all of my kids were still at home and my wife and I were both involved in other ativities every night and weekend. At the time, I owned a Corporate Recruiting firm and was a National Sales Trainer on the side and I found it impossible to remain motivated about the book, but deadlines are good for me and I started The Eggshell Sculptor Magazine in 1998 so I could answer 100 questions once, rather than one question 100 times a day.
I've slowly built a small business providing other people around the world with supplies, an instructional magazine, classes, and - soon - training videos. Although I'm far from being the best eggshell carver in the world, most would probably say that I'm the best known carver since I have always supported this unique art so passionately. In fact, I was featured on the History Channel's Modern Marvels as you can see in the clip below:
I am honored and blessed to be in this position and to be in contact with so many wonderfully creative and supportive people within the egging world. As you can tell by my journey, you can achieve whatever you put your mind to! Never stop pursuing your dreams! Again, thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoy the site! ~Gary LeMaster