Humboldt painters create egg artworks

HUMBOLDT -Each of the porcelain eggs nestled into green, yellow and pink padding on tables at the annual Humboldt China Painters Spring Egg Show at Faith United Methodist Church is a one-of-a-kind labor of love.

Some are deceptively simple designs in gold, others are miniature paintings of flowers and animals with the most minute of details included.

Club member Jannik Simpson, of Badger, is responsible for about 10 of them this year.

She has a favorite motif.

“I like doing roses,” she said. “I like violets too.”

Colorful fauna isn’t the only subject. The club members recently found inspiration in a greeting card picture that featured two turtles rowing a canoe.

“Greeting cards are great inspiration,” she said. “We are careful not to copy though.”

Simpson explained that to obtain the final product, a painter has to work in stages. Painting begins with a blank egg that the basic design is painted onto. Between each phase of the work, the egg has to be fired at 1,300 to 1,400 degrees.

How many applications and firings are needed depends on the complexity of the design and whether or not three-dimensional features are being added.

“Some will go to four or five firings,” she said. “Most are two to three.”

Lisa Hefty and her sister in-law, Deb Hefty, came to the show looking for specific work from specific painters.

“I’ve got one of my mother-in-law’s,” Deb Hefty said.

The eggs, collected through the years, become family heirlooms that remind the pair of the person who created the design. All of the dozen in each of their collections has a story and name with them, they said.

They try to be the first at the show when the doors open – mostly to insure that work by their favorite relative is available.

“You take a chance of missing one if you come later,” Lisa Hefty said.

Jamie Shiflett, of Humboldt, came to the show with her co-worker, Sherry Kunert, also of Humboldt.

For Shiflett, it was her first exposure.

“I bought some eggs for myself,” she said. “The others as gifts.”

Kunert also picked up an egg.

“It’s joining several that I have at home,” she said.

The two were taking in the show as part of a day out.

“I’d much rather be here than doing housework,” Kunert joked.

Pearl Pedersen, of Renwick, has been painting on porcelain since 1990. In 1997, she started teaching the art to others and continued to do so until last year.

She has a favorite subject.

“I love to do animals and I love to do portraits,” she said.

She finds it a bit easier to paint flowers than animals – there is just a little more room for error.

“With animals, a leg needs to be in a certain place on a pony,” she said.

She said that proceeds from the sale support the club’s continuing education efforts.

For those who are interesting in learning about China painting, the Humboldt China Painters meets on the third Monday of each month at Faith United Methodist Church, 107 N. Fourth St.. in Humboldt. There is no monthly meeting held in May, June or July. It starts at 9 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m.