Sunday, March 25, 2012

Carved Emu Eggs: Using Pastel Resist

In Australia "Kalti Paarti", or carved emu eggs became popular with both aboriginal and non aboriginal artists in the mid 19th century.

This is an egg from the Australian Museum depicting a moth.  The yolk has been blown out and the surface carved away to reveal the artist's design.

Easter time is a good time to introduce this art form to kids (lots of egg dye available) but we will be using pastel resist.


- eggs
- Easter egg dye
- oil pastels,and/or twistable crayons
- reference photos and material of aboriginal designs
- pencil
- paper towel

To start you can pencil in your design on your egg.  I always leave the egg raw.  The inside will slowly evaporate over time.  Blown eggs are too fragile for the kids and hard boiled ones will rot.  We will not be eating these eggs.  You will be applying pastel or crayon to the areas you want to resist the egg dye.

Bright colors work best and although it's hard to see on the white egg, white pastel makes for a very striking design.

Dip egg into Easter egg dye.  I'm using the egg dye I use for Pysanky.  I choose black for a traditional look. 

Leave in the dye until the egg turns to the color you desire.  Lift out and blot with a paper towel.

Pastel resist eggs always turn out very striking.

Here is a set by Kindergarten.

Another activity you may want to try is doing a pastel resist on paper.  You will be able to add more detail on a larger egg shape.  A display of both art projects together (real egg and paper egg) would make for a very comprehensive display.

Draw egg shapes on heavy or wc paper.  Draw and color in design using pastels and /or twistable crayons.  Paint over egg shape with a wash (diluted disk tempera or watercolor).
Cut egg shapes out.


As promised I want to show you some of the student work from my recent "artist in residence".

These are tunnel books by Grade 6, based on selected stories they are currently reading.  I will be posting a "how to" on tunnel books shortly.

Grade 6 also did a mixed media canvas based on the title character of their selected novel.
Rainbow Fish by Kindergarten.

I'll have more student work for you next time, but why not try an egg......
See you soon.

1 comment:

  1. It's almost difficult to comment because there are so many nice things. The eggs are fantastic! I love the mixed media and also the fact that it's integrated with reading. The fish done by the kindergarten are just stunning!