artratcafe CAFE – Playing With Your Food #4 – Christel Assante – eggs plus…

Owl Egg. C. Assante

Staying with the theme of eggs, Playing With Your Food #4 looks at the delicate egg sculptures of French artist Christel Assante.

Assante creates custom designs for buyers, working in mostly quail and goose eggs. Each egg takes her about 3 to 4 days to sculpt. The eggs are lit from a small bulb placed inside through a hole in the bottom.

Assante Egg

In an interview with  Assante talks about her approach to her art: Tell us more about you, how did you start to work on egg shells ? Have you an artistic education ? 
This question is always the most difficult for me, indeed, I don’t know at all what pushes people to adopt this so special technique. It happens often without knowing why. I actually likes drawing on this so symbolic shape, on this so pleasant material because very porous which allow numerous different techniques … The egg shape allows to present scenes which evolve as you turn around it. I like this idea … 
I have always drawn a lot, but, I have a scientific education, not artistic.

Egg CA Detail287

At the interview Assante is asked about preferences in her media:
I always use true eggshells, because I like the material and the magic of the result sometimes so fragile, that’s the most interesting for me. I carve from the ostrich egg shell (the biggest) to emu egg shell, and also nandu, goose, pheasant, duck and quail egg shell. I do not work at all with chicken eggs !! Why? Good question !!

Egg CA205

My own first question would be about what tools can produce such intricate detail in such a hard and delicate surface. She answers this in the interview (follows);  however, I must say it all sounds too simple for a beginner to undertake – a knife and vinegar?!!!! Has anyone out there had experience at this art form?
It is not necessary to have lot of material to start carving eggs, a knife and some vinegar are sufficient to begin with, then you can buy a mini drill. Those of good quality have good performances and avoid most of vibrations (which remain the true problem). Then, don’t forget to use diamond coated drill for the best result … I always bring my equipment with me when I exhibit to show people … but, the best is to practice, at the beginning, sometimes I spent one week on one egg without being sure of the result !!! But, I am very stubborn and I remade the same model until I succeeded.

Egg CA 288

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24 thoughts on “artratcafe CAFE – Playing With Your Food #4 – Christel Assante – eggs plus…

      1. No, I haven’t. It takes a very different approach to mine and I’m afraid I’d end up sacrificing too many egg shells!!! I’ve read that the vinegar [acid] dissolves the shell and makes it translucent.


  1. What a huge achievement on such a small scale! And lovely results with light and tone through the translucency. Reminds me of carving cuttlefish (roughly) when one slip breaks the chain link and aaagh! no comparison really.


      1. My dear old dad taught me. If you find a chunky piece (I have saved one and it’s waiting in the garden) you can cut out a fattish column which then you can slowly carve into a linked chain! It is a wonderful achievement as the links finally break free. Simple as that….sometimes.


        1. Sounds amazing – I know what Cuttlefish looks like because pet bird owners feed their captives with it in England but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on the beaches around here and I’ve done my share of beach combing. What is it the remains of, do you know and what tools do you use to carve?


          1. They are caught in nets from our local jetty. One of our girls’ boyfriends (at the time) brought some home to cook like squid. I remember him turning it inside out to clean, and the brown ink (called sepia in Latin/Greek? according to WikiP). Their flesh is very like the goo-iness of squid. Food to play with. cooks in 30 seconds or less like squid. Tools? pocket knife!


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