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15. Acid Etching An Emu Egg - Natalie K Kit - Friday July 19th - 3:30 - 5:30pm

Showing original emu designs here as an example. A new, original design will be presented for the retreat workshop and a twist.

You have probably seen photos of the delicate allure and sometimes the bold design statements that can be created on an eggshell through the process of acid etching. But what is acid etching; a question often asked. Simply, it’s using an acid to remove layers of calcium carbonate, the main component of an eggshell. Beeswax protects areas of the writing, creating a “raised” design.

After applying melted beeswax with your electric kistka and writing your design, I will take you through the steps of immersing your egg in Safe Etch, an acid solution that will bring your design to life.

 The workshop will include the following: 

  • Safety first; an overview of products that can be used for acid etching emu eggs and safety steps that must be followed. We will talk about the pros and cons of various acid products. Each participant will supply and prepare a grid on their emu egg in advance of the workshop. 
  • Dark shells require special approaches for creating a grid for a balanced design and penciling the design. I highly recommend the use of nitrile gloves while working as the white pencil tends to smudge. Gloves will also be needed for the etching as well as a soft brush for scrubbing. White wax is recommended for visibility. 
  • This is a hands-on workshop. Students will have the opportunity to have a one-on-one experience with my creative process and to write one of my original designs. We will discuss the variances between emu shells that will affect the writing on the shell; how the shell texture and coloration can affect the end results and the importance of well-defined wax line profiles. The end game is to etch the shell to the final white layer.

What to bring: 

  • A variety of kistka tip sizes will be used for creating the design, requiring Heavy or MXX, MX, and M (extra heavy, heavy, and medium kistka tips are recommended). All tips should be thoroughly cleaned out for superior wax flow required for coverage for etching.
  • Students will provide their own emu egg and will prep them in advance to the workshop with a grid using a white pencil. All of that information will included in an email that will be sent out to those participating in the class. There will be "homework". 
  • Only electric kistky are permitted at the venue or electric wax melting pots. If you need any, both will be available through Ukrainian EggCessories.

This is a completely hands-on workshop. Experience is recommended, however, beginners looking for a challenge will not be disappointed. Takeaway materials with etching instructions will also be provided. 

  • Cost: $30 CAD per person -25 person maximum 

About Natalie:

Writing pysanky is an art and tradition that has been part of most of Natalie’s life and learned from her mother. Creating a pysanka has never lost that intrinsic sense of magic and mystery; an activity where the motion of writing often provides entry into a creative universe where new ideas and perspectives come to life. Acid etching is a favorite specialty, although traditional Ukrainian folk pysanky are a favorite too.

In the first annual juried Pysanka Exhibition in Toronto in June 2019, at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, Ontario Branch, Natalie’s acid-etched ostrich egg pysanka was awarded First Place in this category, with two-second placements for other etched pysanky. She was requested to submit an original design to the Royal Canadian Mint that was selected to become the 2020 Gold Pysanka Coin released in Canada as well as the Silver Pysanka Coin that was released in 2023. These coins honor the history of Ukrainian immigrants in Canada and their Ukrainian heritage. Painting, gardening, reading, art history, fermenting, and cats also play various roles in her creative process.  

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