I would love for you all to meet our first SOTW winner who's shop is EGG-
TASTIC! Yes you did hear me correctly! Her shop is nothing but EGGS bringing the phrase " The incredibl
e edible egg" to a more super term.
Meet TEENER ----->
Christine Luschas – for Facebook J
1. Where do you get your inspiration from?
I normally get inspiration from anything. I’ll take pictures of random things. My friends will tell you that while studying abroad in Rome, I took pictures of floor tiles in cathedrals JUST for egg design ideas! I’ll look at geometric designs and find a way to transfer them onto an egg. It’s more fun to get art from the real world, gives you almost a story for each piece.
2. What is your
23… 24 June 26th!
3. What is your shop(S) name:
European Girl's Crafts and Egg Art Shop!
4. Do you only sell on etsy or do you go to craft shows as well
I started out selling my eggs at craft shows years ago. Specifically Lithuanian and other European craft shows. My mom and sister were selling straw ornaments, and said I should demonstrate etching eggs for people as an informative thing. Then people starting asking if they could buy the eggs I was making. I was so excited I started selling right there. I started on etsy a little over a month ago. I wasn’t sure if there would be any interest for scratched eggs but thought I’d give it a shot. After my first sale I got that rush of excitement I felt when selling at festivals, and started making m
ore and more eggs to post on the site.
5. Is there an item you have made that has significant meaning to you and
Many of the eggs I create have a special meaning to me. Whenever I make a new design I feel a sense of accomplishment that makes me sad while also extremely happy when it sells. Most of the time when I make something totally different and it looks great, I have a hard time parting with the item.
6. How did you first get the idea to make what you are now
I have to give the credit to my mom. When I was about 14 she thought we should try some Lithuanian Easter crafts to get more in touch with our heritage. She never scratched eggs before but she had seen nuns do it when she was young and knew the concept. She got us the tools and we all tried our hand at it. And believe it or not I was the worst! After time and through LOADS of determination I began to get better at the craft, and now I am the only person in the family to scratches eggs.
7. Do you ever change your “craft style”? Exa
mple jewelry to ceramics?
Well I do several different crafts. I cross-stitch, knit, crochet, scherenschnitte, paint, draw, and so much more. While all these crafts are of interest to me, I explore my egg craft more than any of them mainly because not many people do it. I love showing people that aside of Pysanky there are other great egg crafts from Europe. I try to get the word out on how I create the designs and etch and hope others will try their hand at it. While some people still do the craft, not many know about it. It is more of a family affair, not publicized very often.
8. How do you feel about buying and selling handmade items
I LOVE the idea of buying and selling handmade items. If you ever saw the house I grew up in you wouldn’t be surprised. My mom has a deep love for colonial décor and antiques. Through that love came a love for crafts and things handmade. That love rubbed off on me as well as my other two sisters. While I craft with eggs and other things, my eldest sister Mary makes amazing scrapbooks (http://www.piecesofhomedesigns.blogspot.com/). My middle sister makes Lithuanian straw ornaments and sells them in the festivals as well.
I feel buying and selling handmade items connects people together as well as creates a stronger appreciation for the items made when purchased. There is a story with every item. People have to ability to appreciate the time and effort
someone puts into a handcrafted item. The time I put into an egg is special to me, and I hope that people who admire and buy them feel the care I put into each one.
9. What is your favorite material to work with?
Well materials don’t really change much when It comes to egg etching, but the best part of the process of etching is the shading. Using a simple dollarstore box-cutter to shade petals on an egg is that time when the design stops being a design and takes on some life and character. Knowing that a simple and cheap tool such as a box-cutter has the ability to make something turn into a work of art is fascinating to me.
10. How long have you been in your craft?
I believe I started etching eggs when I was 13. I wasn’t very good… In fact I was terrible! Every year I improved more, changed my technique and got bolder with designs. I started out basically copying designs of eggs my mom owned. Over time I started drawing my own during class in high school and college. Now I have a binder full of ideas and pictures of past eggs to remember and duplicate.
11. What is one message you would like to get out to the world about what you do?
This is another craft, separate from Pysanky. There is no wax involved or paint. It is a simple simple process of dying a hollow egg and then taking a blade to etch away the dye, making a two color work of art. Many European countries use this technique, including my heritage of Lithuania. I spent a lot of time working on creating eggs and finding new ways to present and get people interested in this dying art. Most people forget about other egg crafts outside of the colorful Psyanky, which I have loads of respect for.
The great thing about this craft is its simplicity. In its more muted state of only one color with white, shows an appreciation for the design, and the technique.
12. Do you have a “day job” and if you do… what is it?
My “day job” is a law student in Pittsb
urgh, PA. I am finishing up my second year as a day student, and am currently looking for a summer job. I am interested in family law, and hope to become a family law lawyer. As a student egg etching is only a small portion of my life. I spend most of my time reading and study for classes. I use crafting as a stress reliever from reading and other school activities.
Sometimes I want cr
afting to be my day job, and I think etsy is a way for me to further explore that idea. Promoting, creating, and further working with my shop and eggs is a way for me to feel out what it would be like to own my own shop and handle the responsibilities of it. So far I’m still a student trying to make it in the legal world, but who knows, maybe I can quit my “day job”
some day! J
13. How has your work developed throughout the years?
Originally I did eggs the traditional way, hardboiled in onion skins to give them a rich amber color. The true Lithuanian way is to keep the egg inside the shell. However, after time I got tired of the one color and the fact that hardboiled eggs over time have a tendency to break more easily (and smell terrible). I decided to try hollowing out the egg and dying them different colors. After figuring out how to keep a hollow egg under water I started etching colored eggs!
That was my main change, from hardboiled and brown to hollow and colorful!
Also after time I started buying larger and smaller eggs. I thought a variety of sizes looked wonderful grouped together. I started buying goose and duck eggs online along with game bird eggs and turkey. The different sizes and shapes made for such a great variety of styles and designs!
14. Did you ever feel like giving up bef
ore you got to where you are today?
YES! And I did! My first egg was horrendous! I mean…. It was bad…. All I had on it was a huge Heart and the number “4” and the letter “u.” Even after my mom tried to tell me it was cute, I said I quit, etching eggs is stupid and I’m never going to do them again. And it was true, at least for a year. Later I thought, “hey… I can do this, and I’m going to try again.” This time I huddled over this brown egg and started etching. I wouldn’t let anyone see it. Finally when I was down, I looked down at a completed, and might I say, not too shabby etched egg.
I realized that giving up at something you’re so new and inexperienced at made no sense. I worked from then on trying to outdo any egg I did before. Even today I don’t show people my egg until it’s finished unless asked. I like the element of surprise on people’s faces.
15. How do you feel when people interpret your work differently than you?
Well I know art is subjective, and I have no problem with anyone thinking something different than I did when creating an egg. My only problem is people telling me that I’m doing pysanky and I’m misrepresenting it. The problem with many European crafts is several countries engage in them and call them their own. I’m Lithuanian, but other countries including Poland and Ukraine also etch eggs. However, it is not pysanky, which is a totally different techniq
ue using wax and several dyes.
Other than the frequent mis-categorizing of techniques, I welcome people seeing different messaging and symbolism is the egg designs themselves.
16. What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
DON’T GIVE UP!!! From not being fantastic from the beginning to not selling items fast at the start, there are so many temptations to quit. I find myself thinking about it even now in areas of my life, just because I don’t see results quickly. Doing something different and not well known is a great thing to have in your life, it gives you something unique about yourself. Even working in a genre of crafts or art or anything that more people are also working in gives to an opportunity to set yourself apart. It takes time, something I have been told countless times and am JUST beginning to embrace.
I feel that the release every person gets in working on art, whether it be egg etching, jewelry, painting, or anything, is something that should be developed for countless reasons. It gives both you and others something exciting. You have the ability to see yourself progress and others are given the chance to have something completely different and unique to enjoy!
17. Who first inspired you to begin crafting?
Like what most people answer for this question…. My mother. She is the guru of crafting. Even when I was little, our basement was the “craft area.” She always had a project going on, from herbs ornaments, to beaded Christmas balls, to straw art, she was always teaching my sisters and I something new. The great thing about it is, I have this home base of crafting. If I’m stuck on a design or think I ruined an egg beyond repair, I have my mom to go to. What is even better, or worse, depending on your opinion, is she collects egg art. So whenever I make something totally new and wonderful, she is my FIRST customer, grabbing up the egg and telling me to make it again, this one is for her collection. It’s an honor to see my eggs with several others in her cabinet at home.
18. Do you have a space for your work area or do you craft anywhere?
Heh, I mentioned this question to my mom and she said I have numerous craft areas. At home (when I’m not in school) I’m parked in front of the TV on the floor etching on her coffee table. But now that I’m in Pittsburgh in law school, I craft on my living room table. I come home from school, park my stuff in the hallway like most kids did when they were in middle school, and just go to the table to etch one egg. It’s not the most permenant or pretty station for crafting, but it gets the job done. J
19. What are your favorite childhood memory involving arts?
I’ve already mentioned my mom being my major inspiration in crafting, so it’s no surprise my favorite memory involves her. The funny thing is it has nothing to do with egg art. When I was in elementary school, my mom volunteered as an art teacher for our small Catholic school. For Mother’s Day she taught my class to make popsicle fans for our moms. I remember hiding from her making my fan the opposite of her instructions because I didn’t want her to know what she was getting. I was unhappy that she wouldn’t be surprised with her present.
I’m like that even today. The element of surprise is key with anything I do in the arts. I want the person receiving something artistic from me to be excited and ultimately shocked when they get a present from me.
20. Do you feel accomplished when you finish creating?
YES. I absolutely love looking at a completed egg or any completed craft when I finally put the finishing touches on it. Sometimes I get a little sad knowing it’s going to be sold or given away. Most of the time I content myself with taking several pictures of the item telling myself I will recreate it. Sometimes I do, but sometimes, the really special ones remain a one of a kind work of art.
21. What does your personal style (living space clothing ect…) Reflect anything you make?
Heh, well anyone will tell you I’m different. By the pictures I included… I Ithink that’s pretty apparent, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I have anything from cartoon shirt (drawers full if you must know) to tons of hats, and even crazy high heels. I don’t have a set style. I even own fake glasses for the days I want to look studious. If anything, my lack of a style, and embrace of several looks shows that I love change. I love trying new things and new experiences. The fact I do so many different crafts also shows this. No one can pin me down into something specific, and I think that’s the best way to be. You have the ability to try new things without question and you also don’t corner yourself into inevitable boredom!
22. Do you use your own products for things?
Normally yes. I buy eggs at the store, pump them out myself (I eat a lot of scrambled eggs) and dye the eggs at home. Sometimes I will purchase the different type of eggs like goose and duck. However, the entire process is mainly done in my apartment. I love knowing that from beginning to end I have a hand and control over the art.
I love them!!! Custom orders are amazing because people then get involved in the process. From just picking a color and design to even making a design and me working with the person to make the perfect egg they want, the final product is shared. It’s good to know that the custom order will be that much more treasured because they also had a part in its creation. I welcome them anytime them come along!
24. Do you have any sales coming up?
Currently I reduced all my prices for the Easter and Spring Season. I am always adding more eggs to etsy. In addition I am a part of the Lithuanian Day Festival in Frackville, PA. That normally occurs mid-August. Any other sales or festivals I will be at I will post on my own, not entirely mastered or completed, blog (http://lithuanianeggart.blogspot.com/)
25. What are your favorite shops on Etsy?
Wow… that’s a tough one… but here it goes: (not in any particular order)