An Egg in the Face or a Face on an Egg?
Growing up in the sixties, my favorite TV show was The Avengers, with Patrick McNee. I remember one episode in particular, that is indelibly etched in my memory. Its dark graphic plot involved a surreal museum that kept a registry of clown faces, hand-painted on chicken eggs.
I always wondered if this place really existed or if it was just created by the Avenger writers?
The answer, thanks to Google, is, yes it really does exist. The tradition began around 1946 at what was then the International Circus Clowns Club. A member named Stan Bult started recording clown images on eggs carefully blowing out the insides so the eggs would not explode. The eggs were not just a record of the clown’s facial makeup, but an actual portraiture in miniature. Examples of these detailed works of art are posted below.
The collection of clown eggs traveled around the world. But sadly after Mr. Bult’s death most of the eggs were destroyed in an accident at one such traveling exhibit, around 1965.
Today many of the original designs have been reproduced on glass eggs and can be seen at the Clowns International website, www.clowns-international.co.uk.
I decided to use some of these wonderful mini portraits to create my own Clown Eggs. I will be posting them next week and I hope that my readers will fine inspiration from these tiny works of art!
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Here are my quick amd easy to make clown eggs!
- Hard boil or blow out the inside of the egg
- With a Sharpie fine point marker, draw on the clown face (keep it simple)
- Color in areas you want to remain white with a clear or white crayon. If this doesn’t work for you just go over the area with white acrylic paint when the egg is dry.
- Dye the egg in Easter egg coloring dye – first in yellow than in pink,to make skin tone
- When dry, use tacky glue to add a nose. I just a styrofoam berry from an old holiday decoration and cut off a slice from the back to flatten it, but there are many options. Buttons, pompoms, seed pods all work great!
- The hair can be made from yarn, feathers, or moss, anything that’s colorful.
- You can make a little hat for your clown or cheat as I did just buy one at the craft store. They are pretty easy to find.
- The final touch is to glue on seed beads for eyes. This really makes them come to life with out a lot of fancy painting.
The ancient art of Japanese lantern making has been simplified in this kid-friendly version. However, just as Japanese lanterns were inspired by the artistry of their makers, these lanterns are also a one-of-a-kind work of art, created from a child’s painting.
First, use watercolor or acrylic paint to create flowers or any design you would like, on a 12×18 piece of construction paper. Allow the painted construction paper to dry completely.
Fold the paper in half, length-way. With a ruler, measure one inch from the top of the open end of the paper and draw a line across. Under the line make vertical lines one half inch apart. (see diagram)
Cut on the lines up to the one inch line (starting from the folder side). Then open the paper and staple it into a cylinder shape.
That’s the basic design but you can add extras details to make your lantern even better. I’ve added a piece of tissue paper to the inside with a few drops of glue on the top and bottom. I’ve also added a strip of black construction paper at the top and bottom of the lantern and attached a satin ribbon for hanging. Use your imagination. You can hang small bells or a tassel from your lantern, or add decorative flowers.
Never use candles inside the lantern. But you can use battery operated votives to light up your lantern at night.
Read about Kiyoshi and his lanterns in “The Paper Dragonfly”
In ancient times, Japanese farmers believed the dragonfly was the spirit of the rice plant. Dragonflies were a welcome sign of a good rice harvest. The dragonfly became one of the emblems of the Emperor and was praised in many Japanese poems and songs. Akitsu-shimu — an old name for Japan, means Dragonfly Island.
- clothes pin
- heavyweight plastic
- bumpy pipe cleaner
- tacky glue
- silk flower
Take apart the silk flower. The green leaves or plastic base can be cut and used to make the top of the fairy’s dress. One medium-sized flower, usually has enough petals to make two fairy dress skirts. Glue two petals onto the front of the clothes pin and two on the back to make the skirt. Add moss or raffia or yarn to make the hair. Use fine tip markers to make the eyes and mouth. Let it dry while you are working on the wings.
Fold a plastic bag in half and cut out a wing shape. Make sure to leave the two wings attached in the middle. Cut the bumpy pipe cleaner in half and twist it around the center of wings. Add a bead of glue around the edges of the wings and dip in glitter. When dry glue the wings to the back of the clothes pin and bend the pipe cleaner forward to make the arms.
- card-board box with lid
- scissors or pinking shears
- felt or construction paper
- twigs, dries flowers, pods, Spanish moss, pinecones, bark
- exacto knife (optional) have an adult help you to cut out windows and doors
Start with a small recycled card-board box. If your box doesn’t have a lid, find another flat box that’s a little larger than your box to use as an over-hanging roof. Glue Spanish moss or bark to the lid. Add a small stump or an empty toilet paper roll to make a chimney. While the roof is drying decorate the lower box with felt or construction paper. Parents can help by cutting out windows and doors with an exacto knife. Use your imagination! You can add paper window boxes and shutters, button door knobs, pinecone cornices, and bark steps. And since we all know fairies love flowers, be sure to add them to your house. Last step, glue on the roof and leave a little welcoming note inside for your favorite fairy!
Read about Fairies! “A Book of Fairies” by Patricia Saxton