A teacher she was! But not anymore (She is now the Crazy EGG LADY)
A Crazy egg Lady she is and now I know why
My wife and I recently attended the Pods and the Pulpit craft fair held at the Norwich Town Hall. As we were checking out the various craft booths, I noticed some beautifully painted eggs. These reminded me of the ones my mother used to have around the house.
I asked Shannon Wallis how she became interested in this as it is a very unique thing to do. I also asked her if she would be willing to tell her story so that others could see the beauty that is evident in the products that she makes.
This is her story and I believe she is sticking to it. I took some photos at the fair and some were provided to me by Shannon after a recent interview.
And the story begins here:
Shannon Wallis proudly wears a pin which says “Crazy Egg Lady”. Ask her any question about her highly-decorated batik eggs, ranging in size from tiny quail to huge ostrich, and she'll happily answer. She has been writing pysanky since 1994 when she learned the technique from Marion Cross School's art teacher Tracy Smith, when Shannon was at the Upper Valley Educator Institute and interning with Tracy.
Her crazy Egg Lady logo makes her proud and I can see why
Pysanky is the Ukrainian word for Easter Eggs. Traditional pysanky have been around for over 2000 years. Pysanky are created using a wax-resist method, similar to batik wax-resist dying of cloth. A tiny funnel, called a kistka, is filled with beeswax and heated over a candle. The melted wax is drawn onto the egg which seals in the original egg shell color. Then the egg is placed into a light color dye. The next layer of drawn-on wax seals in that lightest color. The dye-wax sequence is repeated with increasingly darker dyes. After coming out of the darkest dye bath, the wax is removed from the eggshell and the all colors are revealed. Finally, the egg is blown out and a protective coating is applied.
What dazzling colors
A wide assortments of handcrafted gems if you will
While Shannon has no Ukrainian ancestry, she has fallen in love with pysanky as an art form. She has introduced her family and many of her friends to the art of Ukrainian eggs, and they enjoy getting together throughout the year to create eggs. She finds both the traditional and modern designs enticing, especially when they involve geometry.
just a bunch of eggs they are not!
In fact she finds “egging” so alluring, that a year and a half ago, Shannon left her part time job teaching at the Norwich Nursery School to pursue her art full time. “It was right when my son was choosing a college. I told him to do what he loved to do, not what he thought he should do. And I realized I wasn't heeding my own advice. So with the support of my spouse Jeremy, I started doing this full time.”
Shannon no longer teaches nursery school, but she does teach pysanky in her home in Norwich, at the League of NH Craftsmen in Hanover, where she also works in the pottery studio, and at Hanover High School during their March Intensive. She has even taught egg classes as far away as Pennsylvania. Shannon regularly has people over to her home studio for “Open Egging” sessions, where they have access to her almost 40 dye colors.
A view of one of her work space areas. This is where it all starts to get creative
These are the tools used to make these items
In May, Shannon expanded her egging inventory to include not just eggs, but jewelry made out of eggshells. “The jewelry has been an awesome extension of my egg art,” Shannon says, “since it gets worn and can be enjoyed by many people. Plus it's a great conversation starter.”
This matching set of jewelry is made from eggshells
A pretty decent variety I might add and it did catch my wife Georgia's eye oh my!
She now sells her wares at the Norwich Farmers Market, Long River Gallery in White River Jct, and just this month was successfully juried into the League of NH Craftsmen. She also attends many craft fairs like Pods for the Pulpit and this summer's first Art in the Park sponsored by the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce. On Saturday, December 8th, she will be participating for the fourth time in the 19 Days of Norwich and Beyond's Local Artisan Fair at Marion Cross School, where Shannon will be donating 11% of sales of eggs, jewelry, and pottery to The Haven.
Some more of her products
Her eggs and eggshell jewelry take hours, if not days to create, and they are definitely a labor of love. But this crazy egg lady loves her work!
Her business card cover
And this is how you reach her:
Thanks for taking the time to read about all the wonderful people I write about
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