The International Egg Art Guild (IEAG) is a non-profit association of artists and artisans who work with real eggs as an art or folk art medium. Egg decorating has been around for centuries, and many of those early techniques and traditions are continued today by artists around the world.
An example of early traditions that are still used today is pysanky, a wax resist method, uses geometric, plant, animal motifs and color to tell a story. Another form of decorating was inspired by Peter Carl Fabergè; a Russian goldsmith who was commissioned by the Czar to make gifts for his family members. While Fabergè used only the egg shape in his beautiful creations, some of the talented members of the IEAG continue to decorate real egg shells in the style he began. The development of the electric and high-speed drills powered by air compressors has resulted in many intricate and beautiful filigree works and relief carving on the eggshells.
Egg artists today use eggs from hatcheries or ranches only. No eggs are taken from the wild. In fact, U.S. Federal Migratory Bird Act protects most birds and their eggs. Artist today use eggs ranging in size from finch eggs, slightly larger than a coffee bean, to the largest ostrich eggs, the size of a small melon. Decorating styles are as varied and different as the artists themselves.
In the 1970’s, egg artist, Kit Stansbury put the wheels in motion to form what is today the International Egg Art Guild. Kit wanted to form an organization made up exclusively of egg artists. She wanted everyone involved with egg artistry to have access to the organization — where artists could discuss, share and exchange ideas, and promote egg decorating as an art form. In 1976, brochures recruiting egg artists for such membership were distributed. Anyone returning the completed membership form and paying dues of $5 before the end of 1977 became a Charter Member. The first guild meeting was held in September 1977, and a general membership meeting was scheduled during Eggs-ibit ’78 in Phillipsburg, NJ. Temporary officers were selected, plans for a periodic newsletter were made, and a nominating committee was appointed to present a slate of officers at the April meeting. The nominating committee consisted of Merle Beaumont, Norma Bronson, Judy Case, and Helen Corrigan. Kit Stansbury, the acting president, appointed a By-Laws committee to write a description of the basic mechanics of the organization. Members were asked to submit designs for a logo to be used in letterhead, membership cards, pins, etc. We have no positive record as to who actually created the selected design, but it is on record that Sandy Kowal was asked to redefine the work incorporating the letters IEAG. It is that logo we still use today.
The official name selected for the organization was Egg Art Guild (EAG). As the Guild grew, the By-Laws were amended, creating the National Egg Art Guild (NEAG) in 1987. In 1994, the membership voted to change the name to the International Egg Art Guild (IEAG). From the initial group of twenty-plus members attending that first meeting in September 1977, the organization grew rapidly to a membership of 250 within the first two years.
By the year 2000, we had grown to over 2000 members world-wide. The Guild has published three volumes of Hints & Tips; created beautiful collectable calendars, a logo watch, four incarnations of the logo pin; and created a flourishing Masters Program to help anyone wishing to improve their artistry and technique.