Linda Biggers turns eggshells into amazing works of art.
The story of Cappy Tosetti. Photo by Linda Biggers.
Nature is a wonderful architect, especially when it comes to the humble egg. Curved and smooth design, the oval shape with a structurally sound outer lid is designed to protect the contents inside with strength and durability. Made almost entirely of calcium carbonate, the eggshell is tough and flexible. For centuries, people around the world have embraced the idea of using eggshells in the home, garden, and art studio.
Gardeners add crushed and crushed eggshells to a compost bin as a soil amendment, non-toxic pest control, and as biodegradable seed containers.
She also soaks crushed eggshells in water to give indoor and outdoor plants a boost.
Inside the kitchen, ground eggshells can be added to soapy water as an abrasive cleaner for dirty pots and pans. Many people believe that adding crushed eggshells to ground coffee helps reduce acidity. They can be melted and dipped in apple cider vinegar to treat skin irritations, and many individuals like to crush the dried peel and whisk it together with an egg white as a facial treatment. Others add eggshell powder to smoothies or take it as a daily supplement to add calcium and magnesium.
For centuries, many artists have painted and decorated blown eggs, while others have challenged their dexterity by carving lacy and
complex designs. Each one is a work of art, proving that the egg is perfection
Canvas for creativity.
Eggshell like mosaic
“I first saw a mosaic over 25 years ago at an art gallery,” says upstate New York artist Linda Biggers. “It really caught my attention and my curiosity, hopefully
To learn more, but that was before we had access to the internet, and I had no idea where to go to learn.”
Art has always been an important part of Linda’s life, starting with drawing and painting when she was a child. She also dabbled in photography and sculpture and worked as a graphic artist for 18 years. The idea to follow the eggshell mosaic came about one morning when making breakfast for her husband and two daughters. “It was a bright moment when an egg slipped out of my hand, splattered across the table. I collected all those pieces, determined to learn more.”
After honing her skills as a mosaic artist, she now teaches workshops at Luna Mosaic Arts in Orlando, Florida. the Mosaic Men of Phoenix, Arizona;
Mosaic Society of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Maverick Mosaic in Oaken, Virginia; and Snow Farm in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.
While Linda also works with glass and tiles, she particularly enjoys fitting pieces from these readily available materials. The process may seem tedious to some, but to Linda, it’s relaxing and meditative.
Like any artist, it takes a little imagination and practice to learn something new. Linda created her own technique of working with eggshells, a very different material than shards of glass, stone, or tile. There are many questions to think about, including what tools and adhesive to use, what color to add, what about grout, and protecting the finished piece with a sealant.
Linda approached the process with great enthusiasm, studying and trying different steps along the way. It was her first project
A small tabletop she still owns today. She then practiced and honed her skills by making smaller mosaics for gifts, which garnered rave reviews, encouraging her to enter another piece at a local art show. To Linda’s surprise, she wins a blue ribbon. This was clearly something to follow up on.
It’s easy to find a source for eggshells: a friend keeps chickens, and others in the area drop a steady supply on Linda’s doorstep. It begins by washing the eggshell and removing two layers of the vitelline membrane that protects the egg from bacteria and moisture loss.
After drying, cutting the veneer into smaller pieces is next. Linda found out
The best tools are nail clippers and small scissors, providing a way to create
Intricate flat shapes for every design. To prevent flaking and breakage, she applied a little Mod-Podge to each little section, letting it dry.
“Color is such an important part of any mosaic design,” Linda says, “I love the natural look of whites, everything from creams and browns to beautiful shades of blue and green. To achieve other colors I use pigments, acrylic paints and
Sometimes alcohol toners.
In most mosaics, plaster is used to bind each part, pulling the final design together, but this is not possible with the thinness and brittle texture of the eggshell. Instead, Linda creates the illusion of stucco by applying a solid color of paint across a section of birch plywood substrate, her favorite base for every project.
It’s a daunting task to stick each little piece of eggshell together with your trusty tweezers and a bit of Mod-Podge as the adhesive. Once done, you seal the mosaic by brushing on a protective coat of Liquitex varnish.
One would think that an artist delving into mosaics would have a studio set up specifically for the work in question. It’s a messy process with thousands of broken pieces strewn about, but for now, Linda uses her dining room table for eggshell creations during the winter months, and the family garage during warm weather when working with glass. This entails cleaning up and storing supplies away after the session, which can sometimes make it difficult to stay in the moment when creativity comes into play. There is always hope for the studio one day.
Ever since she first picked up that cracked egg at breakfast, Linda has embraced this eggshell experience. “Using a different source of material to make the mosaic has been so much fun, and most gratifying to find that the public appreciates and wants to buy my artwork both locally and online through my website and Facebook page. Imagine my surprise at having a piece sent all the way to Australia. Nobody ever knows what tomorrow will bring.”
Driven by nature and seasonal changes, Linda has found that working with eggshells allows her to create images with great detail. She also enjoys working with a natural material, thanks to the chickens next door who provide a continuous source of inspiration!
For more information: www.eggshellmosaicart.com
Cappy Tosetti She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her three rescue dogs Happy with Cappy Pet Sitting. It sets things in motion to cross the country one day In a vintage travel trailer you visit horse and goat farms. email@example.com