A housewarming gift for Anastasis Academy

To celebrate my friend Kelly Tenkely fulfilling her vision of opening a school based around her deep thinking about how 21st century education should be, I made a small housewarming gift for her colleagues and students at Anastasis. The carving on the emu egg reads:

“To the community of Anastasis Academy, may you craft our shared future with your own two hands, and fill it with imagination and love.”


Emu eggs are very interesting things. They have a dark blue surface which is speckled with darker dots, which are raised impressions on the surface. Using a simple hand electric engraver (a cheap $20 model usually used for engraving serial numbers on electronic equipment etc), I sketched out a design in pencil and engraved over the graphite markings. I discovered that emu eggs are a lot harder than the hens eggs that I’ve engraved a few times before and that it’s quite difficult to make out the pencil markings on such a dark surface. As well, the speckled dots often flake off in a bigger chunk … it was an enjoyable learning experience which took around 5 hours (and burnt out one engraver. Fortunately, this particular model has a 3 year replacement warranty). This emu egg is around 13cms (five inches) and purchased online (already blown empty) from an emu farm in Tasmania.

Sadly, the photos don’t capture the lovely sense of words carved on a three dimensional ovoid, as the words curve around the surface. I love the feeling of cradling a delicate object that has free form words curving around the body in a circular motion.

This egg is on display at a group art exhibition for the next week before it flies to the Anastasis Academy in Denver, Colorado USA on September 12. If you’re around Kew, in Melbourne, Australia – you’re most welcome to pop in and have a look at this piece as well as a couple of other carved hens eggs and a paper cut by myself, in addition to other lovely works by artists in the St Hil’s church community.

  • Tony Novak3000

    What a lovely, thoughtful, and inspiring gift! You are extremely talented!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you. I would encourage anyone to try it with even supermarket eggs. It’s a lot of fun. ­čśÇ

  • Ktenkely

    Ian, we look forward to this incredible gift with anticipation!  The staff all knows it is coming but we thought we would keep it as a special surprise for students and let them open it during our devotions one morning.  Thank you friend!

  • Kirsten Albrecht

    Hi Ian, I am wondering whether you still engrave emu eggs. I would love to discuss having some eggs engraved.
    Kind regards,
    Kirsten Albrecht.

    • ianchia

      Hi Kirsten, please email to discuss what you have in mind? It’s my name at gmail.com. Looking forward to hearing from you. Best, Ian