How do you like the eggs to be served —fried or scrambled? If you ask Farha Sayeed, you will be shell-shocked by her answer. She would rather go for the eggshell than its contents!
Wife of Ausaf Sayeed, the Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Farha has taken egg art to dizzying heights. What started as a hobby has become a passion; the delicate egg shell that cracks with little pressure gets a new lease of life in her hands.
Belonging to the illustrious family of Nawab Tipu Muhammed Khan Bahadur, she had a creative streak right from her childhood. She started learning glass painting, silk painting, pencil sketching, aluminum foil work and flower arrangement even as she pursued her studies in Rosary Convent High School and Vanita Maha Vidyalaya in Nampally.
Where did she learn egg art?
It was in Qatar that she happened to see an Indian family practising it. “I have customised this otherwise Western art by incorporating Indian and Islamic elements in it,” says the versatile artist. Her repertoire includes an amazing range of decorated eggs of Ostrich, Emu, Goose, Duck, Turkey, Guinea, Hen and Rhea birds.
Farha is a picture of concentration while working. She uses power crafted tool for carving, engraving and smoothing the eggshell. The sophisticated instrument has different bits of needles to carry out intricate cuts with bare minimum vibrations. Once the art piece is ready, Farha embellishes it with pearls, Swarovski crystals, beads, brocade, velvet, satin, golden lace and rhinestone chains. Lo and behold! Whether it is a Cinderalla’s carriage, or an ornate tea set, the humble egg shell is now transformed into a piece of collectible art.
Of course, it is an expensive hobby. The eggshells and the stands they are mounted on are imported from different countries. Farha makes sure that only unfertilised eggs of domestic farm grown birds are procured for artistry. The key to success is patience. Cutting, carving, decoupage, trolling, etching, dyeing and bead work calls for persistence and staying calm; she has loads of it. Except Ostrich, the eggshells of other birds are very delicate. Farha strengthens them by applying gesso, a white paint mixer. “It takes six to eight weeks to decorate an egg,” she says.
Farha is also wise enough not to put all her eggs in one basket. She is now keen to hold an exhibition in Hyderabad, her place of birth. She also plans to open an academy to impart training in egg sculpture....