Time flies when he’s having fun (pun intended).
That’s because he’s carving something that’s light as a feather.
It’s egg-zactly what he wants to do.
With a blithe soul and a delicate touch, Jerry Bontrager takes fragile duck, emu, goose, and other eggs, and carves into each of them a beautiful design, creating a very special work of art.
“I guess carving for me is kind of like fishing for other people,” the Middlebury resident muses. “Time flies. I really am into the creative part of things. And it feels very rewarding when it turns out and I end up with a nice-looking egg.”
Jerry, who has been carving eggs for 15 years, first noticed this unique art when he saw some eggs carved by a lady from Illinois, and the concept intrigued him.
“I’m mostly self-taught,” he shares. “I have taken some lessons on how to do scrimshaw, which is carving fine designs into bone and other hard natural materials, but I’ve learned how to carve the eggs by trial and error.”
It took him awhile to find the ideal tool, but Jerry eventually settled on a small dentist’s drill to create these delicate pieces of art with custom designs. Patterns vary in shape and size, from monograms or logos, to intricate lace or colored layers in emu eggs.
As far as he knows, Jerry is the only egg carver in the area; a Chicago artist is the closest in proximity to him. Nevertheless, he is pleasantly surprised at the number of egg collectors who visit his studio in Shipshewana, at the Courtyard of Arts.
“Most collectors come from cities like Detroit or Chicago, but I’ve met people from all over the country and all over the world, for that matter. A few collectors come back year after year to add to their collection.
“I love to talk to people about how I carve eggs, and I love to show people how I do it. Chances are if you stop by the studio, I’ll be in the middle of carving something. If you know you’re coming, give me a call and I’ll be sure to have a project going so you can see how it’s done.”
Jerry really is…An Artist of Egg-straordinary Proportions.
“I have so many fond memories and experiences from living here, I honestly can’t imagine living anywhere else,” he concludes.
You can learn more about Jerry Bontrager by visiting his website at www.JerrysEggs.com.
To see a video where Jerry talks about some of his carvings, click here.
To read a blog about several Courtyard of Arts shops, click here.
To read a blog about an antiques and Amish Furniture store located on the Courtyard of Arts, click here.
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