A HISTORY OF THE
EGG ARTISTRY GUILD OF AUSTRALIA INC.

FOUNDED IN 1983

by Lyn Williams

 In March 1983 I participated, along with several other students, in a beginners Egg Artistry class at the home of Jill Cooter at Lockleys. This was only the second such class held in Adelaide (first in September 1982). The teacher, Colleen Edwards was an egg artist from Sydney, and she went on to do an advanced class later that week.

In June of that same year I received a letter from another student from my beginners class, Marita Catt(Gardiner), asking if I was interested in becoming part of a group to purchase supplies and further our knowledge of egg artistry.

On the 2nd July 1983 we had the first meeting of the "Egg Artistry Club" at the home of Marita Catt.

It was decided our aim would be "to grow together to reach a high standard of artistry and eventually to have "eggz"hibitions  (and that's no yolk)"

 The elected officers were:

President:                  Marita Catt.
Secretary                   Judy Nalty.
Treasurer                   Lyn Williams
Advisor/Judge           Joyce Pfitzner
Committee                 Jill Cooter
                                     Faye Lowe
                                     Pat Hill
                                    Sadie Hannaford. 

Meetings were then held monthly and the October newsletter showed a membership of 20 eggers, three of whom are still actively involved with the Guild some 20 years later.

Our name had also changed to become The South Australian Egg Artistry Guild. The major problem at that time in our efforts to progress the craft, was the lack of supplies and eggs. Due to the efforts of a small number of members we gradually overcame that problem and all shared resources as we found them, both locally and overseas. Marita's travelling shop was always eagerly awaited and patronised by we fledgling eggers.

The first official display of decorated eggs was held on 2 days in September at the Seacombe High School Craft Festival.

By May 1984 the Guild had established a system of skill levels to be reached by members who wished to teach the art of Egg Decorating. There were three levels, beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. The first level had an oral exam and the other levels required the egger being assessed to present examples of various techniques. These standards remained in place for many years.

Early 1984 saw us need to find a venue for meetings rather than at memberís homes as our numbers had outgrown lounge rooms! We met at the Porcelain Art Centre, 96 Henley Beach Road, Mile End

Our very first Guild Exhibition was held on the 16th - 18th September 1984 in conjunction with the Porcelain Art Teachers Guild of S.A. at our meeting rooms at Mile End. We had a creditable total of 256 eggs on show, which is a very good effort for a small and new group of eggers.

At this time we decided, that as we had members from 4 Australian states, and were the only active Guild in the country, we should once again change our name to be The Egg Artistry Guild of Australia. We also became an incorporated body in 1986.

In 1986 we also had our first overseas egger become a member. This was Joan Cutts, the founder and President of the Egg Crafters Guild of Great Britain.

On the 14th - 18th April 1986 we participated with three china painting groups in a Jubilee 150 exhibition at Edmund Wright House. A very grand venue for such lovely works of art.

1987 saw the first section for Egg Artistry in the Open Art and Craft competition at The Royal Adelaide Show. We had 4 sections, Diorama, Decoupage, Multi hinged,& Filigree Cutting. Our judge was Joyce Pfitzner an Adelaide egger who had been egging alone for many years. 1st prize winners were Marita Catt, Lyn Williams, Joy Wurst and Eve Marsh.

From 1988 the Guild sponsored a trophy for Champion Egg and the sections increased to 10. Much interest was created in this "new" craft and it was always interesting to stand near the showcase during the show and listen to the comments from the public who had not seen decorated eggs before. The most heard comment was "are they real eggs" or "well what are they made of?"

1991 saw the introduction of a novice category, and 1994 the introduction of junior categories, with 2003 having 14 categories.

1987 saw us move to the National Council of Women meeting rooms at 95 South Terrace with off street parking and no stairs!! In 1992 we were on the move again to 259 Portrush Road and then in early 2003 major roadworks in Portrush Road, which restricted parking and access, prompted a temporary move to our current rooms in Burnside, which has now become a permanent move.

Over the years we have had joint and sole exhibitions at Mile End, South Terrace, Edmund Wright House, Partridge House, Glenelg, Prospect, and Norwood. The Guild has provided displays at events such as Expo, Eggspo, Needlework and Craft Show, Christmas Earth Fair, Easter Craft Fair, Russian Craft Show, Lacemakers Fair and others.

Some have been purely for display and to promote our craft and some have been opportunities for members to sell their work. The Guild has provided Easter displays at both David Jones and John Martins department stores.

Over the years an extensive library of both books and instruction sheets has been developed for the benefit of all members.

Numerous workshops, seminars and demonstrations on different aspects of egg artistry have been conducted by members for members. Some of our members have been fortunate enough to visit egging shows overseas, and bring back and share, new ideas and techniques. We have also had many overseas eggers who have been generous enough to share instruction sheets with us via our magazines.

1992 saw an established egg artist come to conduct our 1st seminar. Lola McNickle from Sydney taught "Felicity" to 7 members.

In 1997 the Guild invited 3 skilled American egg artists, Joan Huff, Sharon Arnett and Gloria Harrison, to visit and conduct egging seminars. These were highly successful and attracted participants from 5 Australian states and New Zealand. Our three egging friends were very generous with their time and expertise and continue to be so.

In 1999 we were privileged to have a repeat visit from our three friends who conducted another three seminars.

October 2001 saw a two day seminar conducted by an egger from Queensland.

Several bus trips have been conducted for members, taking in parts of Victoria and New South Wales and visiting lots of craft and egging related displays and functions.

I hope you have enjoyed this "little" history of our Guild and I believe we have, and can continue, to meet the original aims of the Guild i.e. "to grow together to reach a high standard of artistry and eventually to have "eggz"hibitions"

 

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 Maureen Williams
Diamond Innovations
Last revised: January 05, 2012.
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