Sandra WilliamsStory and photos copyright Al Ruscelli
Sandra Williams of Bacliff is an artist whose medium is a bit out of the ordinary. Sandra works with eggs of all typesfrom somewhat common dove, pigeon, guinea, duck, goose and turkey to exotic emu, rhea and ostrichto create her intricate works of art. Her technique ranges from hand painting, decoupage, filigree and beading in producing pieces as diverse as jeweled barrettes, purses, musical/mechanical eggs, and dioramas.
Sandra does most of her work in her shop (Eg-quisite Egg Shells in Kemah), where she is also quite famous for making what has to be the largest assortment of fudge in the area. Additionally, her shop features the work of many other fine artists.
Sandra was inspired to test her talents at egg artistry nearly a decade ago.
I saw some beautifully decorated eggs at the Convention Center in San Antonio about 10 years ago and was intrigued by the workmanship, Sandra says.
She started working with eggs about a year later, first studying for the art in San Antonio while gradually developing her own style and perfecting her technique. In a relatively short time, Sandra has become known both nationally and internationally. She has made and sold literally thousands of her eggs, with customers including governors, kings, actors, and presidents. Her work has taken Sandra all over the United States, with invitations to Japan, Russia, Australia, and England.
Sandras works are diverse in value, style, and complexity.
Some of the eggs are invaluable, Sandra says, and these I wont sell at any price. Other times, I design for special occasions and special people, and these are one-of-a-kind eggs, never to be duplicated. To me these are very special.
There is a fairly high degree of difficulty in working with egg art. It is tedious work, taking great patience, with the mental exercise of designing original pieces perhaps the most taxing portion of each project. Some eggs may take as long as six months to complete. However, the work itself provides many rewards.
Cutting and making it all come together and work like you want it to is the most exciting part. The more I can take away from the egg and still leave the shell intact, the more exciting it is for me, Sandra confides.
Like many artists, Sandra has some difficulty in parting with her art, depending on the particular piece.
Sometimes it takes me months to get to the point that I can part with one, she says. I have to know it is going to an individual who will put the same kind of value on it I do.
Sandra has lived all over the state of Texas, from Ft. Worth to Pecos to Bacliff, with a few years spent in Colorado. She has three children, including sons Chuck and James and daughter Jeri. Her husband and best friend, Stan, whom she married in 1982, plays and integral role in Sandras shop, often helping her to figure out complex design aspects of some of the mechanical eggs. Stans stained glass work is also featured as part of the shops artwork.
Prior to dedicating herself to becoming an artist, Sandra was a hair stylist who owned her own salon for 26 years. In recent years, her art and sense of community have led her in a different direction. She is past president of both the Houston Egg Art Guild and the Texas Egg Art Guild. She currently dedicates a significant amount of time to the church and bible study, as well as projects involving the local shops in Kemah.
On a broader scale, Sandra participates with other egg artist worldwide who do shows at national and international levels. Such shows provide venues for friendly competition that helps to keep all of these artists inspired. In part, these shows have provided Sandra the opportunity to receive recognition from all over the world for her work. Indeed, she was picked as one of only seven artists to participate in the invitational show in 1997.
Sandras egg art is unique in that each egg represents a microcosm of some aspect of real life or fantasy. Each provides a glimpse of a time, place, or setting that Sandra chooses to show the world.
This is quite a challenging task to undertake, especially since all of the elements that make up the final product are done in miniature. It is so difficult to find all of the right pieces and parts that Sandra often must resort to her own skills at dollmaking and mechanical/electrical techniques to bring her designs to completion. Sources for miniature dolls, animals, and props of good quality and detail are growing harder to find, so Sandra must often rely on her own abilities to conceive and create the right pieces. This challenge, however, provides part of the fulfillment for Sandra.
It consumes me, Sandra says. I cant wait to start a new design. I cant begin to tell you the satisfaction I get from creating a beautiful, new design thats never been done before.
In all likelihood, Sandra is just hitting her stride as an egg artist, with hundreds or even thousands more of her beauties yet to be created. To get a glimpse of her art, visitors can travel to 505 Bradford St., Suite C in Kemah, the location of Eg-quisite Egg Shells.