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Egg-themed show on display at Bowen Center
Egg Show pic
Carole Kjellsen gives Helen Taylor some background on her egg art and techniques. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

April marked the opening of an egg-themed show at the Bowen Center for the Arts.

New Beginnings: the Art of the Faberge Egg and Spring Beauty Fine Art Exhibition, which will be on display at the Bowen Center for the Arts through April 27, showcases the art of the members of the International Egg Art Guild.

The artists showed their one-of-a-kind eggshells from the tiniest zebra finch to the gigantic ostrich. The eggshells are purchased from suppliers who sell non-fertile, emptied and cleaned eggshells and decorated in Ukranian style, or fancy cut, and then trimmed with a variety of cords, paints and crystals.

Artist Dawna Godfrey, of Marietta, says that she got involved due to another artist in the show, Carole Kjellsen.

"Carole Kjellsen, who is showing tonight, started an egg art group here in Georgia," she said. "It was called the Egg Art Guild of Georgia. I was a charter member and Carole is my teacher."

From there, Godfrey became a member of the International Egg Art Guild. She holds the titles of past-president and past vice-president of the Egg Art Guild of Georgia and is on the National Registry of Egg Artist.

She says she enjoys the art because it lets her and other artists get together and compare eggs and techniques.

"Sometimes we get together and show the eggs off as a group. Sometimes we might invent an egg design and get together and share them," Godrey said. "The hardest part is inventing a design. Even if they are the same egg design, they all look a little different, because no egg shell is exactly the same."

Kjellsen, the founder of the Georgia arm of the Egg Art Guild, has been working with Faberge-style eggs for 27 years. She says it was an unfortunate start to her original career that got her into egg art.

"I was getting ready to go to medical school in 1983, but I got really sick with a chronic illness. I had to drop out of school," she said. "I was very ill for the next few years. One year, somebody gave me a decorated egg for Christmas. I decided that since I wasn't able to do anything else, I was going to start working on these eggs."

Kjellsen began to paint the eggs while working on the skillset needed to do more bold designs.

"After a while, I met a lady nearby that wanted to teach egg carving and decoration, something she had learned out west. She taught me egg art over the next two and a half years," she said. "I started doing more and more on my own and I started selling to stores, eventually selling to 15 at one time. I stopped selling in 1998 and started teaching."

Since then, Kjellsen has been nationally recognized as an egg artist, having been commissioned by the State of Georgia and the American Egg Board to create an egg for the White House's "Fifty States of Eggs" in 1999. Her egg art is also part of the Clinton Library inventory.

Other artists include Alan Rabon, Ann T. LeGates and Bill Arrington.

For more information or to see the exhibit, visit the Bowen Center for the Arts or call (706) 216-2787.