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Eggshell artistry: It took an accident for Agnes to discover the way to help her art endure.

For 30 years, I've crafted eggshells into ornaments, scenes, dolls and more. One day I decided to make a vase from my throwaway egg shells. Adding a seashell base for the egg to stand on, I carefully: trimmed the edge with scissors then glued tiny seashells all around the top.

After I made a forget-me-not bouquet from more tiny seashells, I added a stem and put the bouquet inside the eggshell vase. I filled the eggshell with sand and watered it with a mixture of glue and water. It was so lovely I decided to take it to a friend in the hospital. As I was getting into my car, the vase dropped and, while the sand spilled out, the eggshell remained intact. The inside of the eggshell was like sandpaper; the glue had created a curable shell. This was what I needed to continue my eggshell art.

By placing a wire armature into a blown-out eggshell, I can draw faces on the shell. I add a cloth body, porcelain arms and legs, and I have a doll. I design and make clothes and wigs to add to the dolls.

In 1976, for the nation's bicentennial, I created four special dolls, the signers of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina.

Each doll takes hundreds of hours of work. I make dolls that are historic characters and ordinary people. I add needlework, sandpainting and other artwork to the eggs for unique creations. One of my eggshell ornaments, the Peace Egg, is in the White House Collection.

Agnes Nelson is a writer from Moncks Corner, S.C.

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Author:Nelson, Agnes
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Mar 31, 2002
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