American Artisans: Beth Ann Magnuson




This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Victorian Lace Egg

Beth Ann Magnuson is the sixth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople across the country who share a love of all things handmade, and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful and useful products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking and eating, and they’re using skills and techniques that might otherwise be lost in our era of throwaway mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you. Each feature will be paired with a giveaway to give you the chance to experience their work for yourselves. I’ll be doing these features every other Sunday for the foreseeable future, so be sure to check back, and enjoy!

Beth Ann Magnuspn Carved Egg

I know you’ll forgive me horning in on your holiday celebrations…but how could I not bring you these awesome eggs today?  Sculptor Beth Ann Magnuson, our latest American Artisan, carves exquisite lace eggs from her home in Bishop Hill, Illinois, where she gathers raw materials from her neighbors’ farms, and creates these masterpieces with a sharp eye, a steady hand, and a high speed drill.  Her design inspiration?  Victorian lace.  You can’t make this stuff up…her work is almost unfathomable.   Large and extra-large goose eggs as well as rhea, guinea, chicken, partridge, peafowl, pheasant, duck, dove and tiny bobwhite quail eggs…let’s explore it all together… (and yes, you will get a chance to win one of these works of art, check the end of the post for details!)

Victorian Carved Eggs

What happens when a high speed power tool meets nature’s most delicate creation?  Magic.  And I’m here to introduce you to the woman who makes it happen.  Beth Ann is the artist and naturalist behind The Nest at Windy Corner, and these mind boggling Victorian Lace Eggs.  I’m beyond proud to have her here today.

carved lace egg

Beth Ann is a Long Island New York native with a degree in Art and a background as a commercial artist.   She says “The rural Long Island with its vegetable stands and duck farms that I knew and loved as a child is long gone, eaten by civilization. So, as an adult, married and raising two children, I sought a setting quite similar to my childhood in which to bring up my brood. I relocated to rural Illinois where I bought a farm, grew specialty crops, and operated a roadside attraction known as Windy Corner Farm. When my children left the nest, my husband and I moved our home and business to the tiny historic community of Bishop Hill, Illinois. The entire village (of 100 people), is a national historic landmark. It is timeless and  true  – the perfect place to bask in serenity.”  It is there, surrounded by nature on her morning walks, that she gathers the inspiration for her work.  “The sights, the smells, and even the mud on my shoes, are as important to my process as the sack of material I drag home from these forays.”

beautifully carved Victorian Lace Egg

Beth Ann sketches her designs right onto clean, blown out eggshells, and then etches them out with the precision of a dentist.  “I am a doodler by nature and have developed a kind of vine and flower pattern that flows from my pencil onto a shell. I organize the design a bit, modifying it as carve it with a high-speed drill. Even at 400,000 rpms, the air-driven drill still chips and fractures the shell as I go. The drawing then becomes merely a suggestion. As I cut, I must finesse any chance chipping into a graceful motif. The end result is reminiscent of handmade lace and so, I have dubbed these works Victorian Lace Eggs.”

American Artisans?Victorian Lace Egg

I asked Ann the question I know is on all of your minds…how is this possible?  Don’t the eggs break?  She says that while she has broken many eggs over the years, as she has mastered the technique, they now seldom break unless there is an unseen flaw in the egg itself.  “Eggs are the perfect package, designed to take pressure from both outside and inside.  This miraculous form allows it to withstand hundreds of piercings by my drill while keeping its strength intact!”

American Artisans hand carved egg

If you still can’t quite believe that all this is possible, watch the video below and you’ll see it happen before your eyes.

Beth Ann will even sell you a hand woven nest to display your special egg!

American Artisans handmade nest

The word awesome is overused these days, but it sure fits these eggs.   Beth Ann has  carved thousands of eggs and shipped them all over the world.  She says “Egg symbolism exists in every culture, and eggs most often represent life, birth, and potential.  That my work is associated with such positive sentiments brings me joy and satisfaction.”

a delicate carved egg basket

You know the drill (pardon the pun) Beth Ann Magnuson is generously giving away one of her intricately carved eggs (from this listing) to one lucky reader!  Your egg will come with a complementary lucite stand, and be beautifully, and safely, packaged.

To enter, please visit The Nest at Windy Corner, HERE, and leave a comment below…

(Giveaway ends Friday April 10th)

*The winner of the giveaway is Linda Schiffer — congratulations Linda!!*

American Artisans Beth Ann Magnuson

*I have not been compensated in any way by the artisans in this series.

83 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Darla Stevens
    April 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    What wonderful gifts they would make..not just an easter tradition but at other holidays and events,
    I would love to have one for me..but want to buy for my sister in Sweden anyway…These kinds of eggs are especially treasured there.Delicately beautiful.

  • Reply
    Diane
    April 8, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I’ve read the post, watched the video, and STILL cannot believe she can do such beautifula and intricate work. Wonderful artist, thanks for introducing us to her.

  • Reply
    Heather B
    April 8, 2015 at 10:52 am

    How gorgeous. She is quite talented. I have never seen anything like this.

  • Reply
    Tova Hill
    April 8, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Fantastic! As though she conjured them from little fairy clouds to grace our eyes with their delicate beauty.

  • Reply
    denise@magnoliaverandah
    April 6, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    How lovely are these! what patience, what artistic talent.

  • Reply
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    April 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    What outstanding talent and dare I say, patience? I love her work!

  • Reply
    Jamae
    April 6, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    No Way!! I can’t believe she can actually do that! So gorgeous!

  • Reply
    I Wilkerson
    April 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    It’s amazing what lovely things there are on Etsy! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Marilyn
    April 6, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Absolutely stunning. Beautiful craftsmanship and so elegant!

  • Reply
    Nancy White
    April 6, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Absolutely stunning! The pictures on her Etsy website are breathtaking.

  • Reply
    Missy
    April 6, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Her work is truly from her heart! Absolutely breathtaking!

  • Reply
    kim
    April 6, 2015 at 8:03 am

    …intricate beautiful and unique…I love them

  • Reply
    Virginia
    April 6, 2015 at 5:12 am

    Absolutely stunning! What a labor of love!

  • Reply
    Debbie G
    April 6, 2015 at 4:22 am

    There is just something so special about having something so unique. These are lovely.

  • Reply
    Louise Perry
    April 6, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Words fail me. I’ve been doing Ukrainian eggs the past few years, but these are something else again. As has been noted . . . exquisite, gorgeous, beautiful, breathtaking – all true and so much more. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 6, 2015 at 5:38 am

      Next Easter I will have to feature a Ukranian egg artist, Louise, I am in love with them!

  • Reply
    Cher Merriman
    April 5, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    oh, my goodness! I love these eggs! How amazing it would be to own one.

  • Reply
    Clare
    April 5, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Amazing thank you for showing us this.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    April 5, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    The joy of her work is reflected in the beauty of these beautiful, delicate looking eggs. I love the intricacy of the designs she has chosen. They are gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Patty
    April 5, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    So absolutely beautiful. The craftsmanship is amazing.

  • Reply
    Judy Hansler
    April 5, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    So beautiful!

  • Reply
    Christina
    April 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    My mind was boggled as to how these were created, until I watched the video! Beth Ann is an absolute creative genius and each egg is an incredible masterpiece! Thank you for featuring all these amazing American crafters each week, Sue. Great idea!!

  • Reply
    Gina Guthrie
    April 5, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    These are absolutely amazing. I would love to add this to my home decor.

  • Reply
    lorr
    April 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    After the most challenging winter these ethereal eggs truly remind me of spring – demonstrating both the strength and fragility we see in nature – these are inspiring!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      You put it perfectly, Lorr!

  • Reply
    Cindy
    April 5, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Exquisite!

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 5, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    I have never seen anything so beautiful. They are breathtaking. I was checking them out on Etsy and it would be impossible to choose just one.

  • Reply
    Anne Wood
    April 5, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Happy Easter. The eggs are so beautiful !!!

  • Reply
    Joy
    April 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Breathtaking art! It’s Easter-Perfect! Thank you View from an Island!

  • Reply
    Leigh
    April 5, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    I’m an artist myself and have seen a lot of intricate work throughout my life, but Beth Ann’s creations are so beautiful they make you want to cry!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2015 at 6:20 pm

      What a wonderful comment, Leigh :)

  • Reply
    Betty
    April 5, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    These eggs are exquisite! :)

  • Reply
    Paula Michalowski
    April 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I can relate to her missing the farms here on Long Island too. We have some left and new organic farms, but there are mostly houses now and vineyards. I really love Beth Ann’s work.So beautiful, reminded me of cutwork and Pysanky eggs! Happy Easter!

  • Reply
    Patricia
    April 5, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve heard of this art before, but have never seen such detail, such intricacies, such artism!!
    What beautiful heirlooms!
    Thank you,
    Patricia Hynson

  • Reply
    Alison H.
    April 5, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    These are gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 5, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Absolutely beautiful, Sue! Happy Easter :)

  • Reply
    Deb Harmon
    April 5, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    These eggs are so delicate and lovely! It is so nice of you to share these talented artists with us! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Jody Warnke
    April 5, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous !!

  • Reply
    Susan
    April 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    These are just lovely. You certainly are sharing gems with us. Thank you for doing the heavy lifting!

  • Reply
    Lucy
    April 5, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    These eggs are just stunning. Beth is an exceptionally talented artisan!

  • Reply
    Bobbie
    April 5, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for spotlighting this amazing Artist!

  • Reply
    Claudia
    April 5, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    It is always fascinating to learn of the holiday celebrations of other cultures. This reminds me of pysanky eggs.

  • Reply
    Katheryn
    April 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Wow, I’ve never seen anything like them! Just extraordinary how she takes an egg, a marvel of nature in itself, and transforms them into breathtaking gems of delicate art. Thank you so much for exposing us, your readers, to these incredible artisans.

  • Reply
    georgeann
    April 5, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Oh my they are the prettiest things I’ve ever seen.

  • Reply
    Emma
    April 5, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    What an amazing and breath taking display of artistic talent. I live in the UK so I don’t suppose that the competition applies to me, but what an incredible thing to own one of these unique and glorious eggs, a real treasure and what a conversation piece. If I won I’d place it in the centre of my replica Faberge egg collection it could certainly stand up to if not above the others. Thank you for sharing x

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      If and when an international reader wins one of these giveaways I will make up the difference in shipping costs to the artist, so no worries Emma, and thanks for reading from ‘across the pond’!

  • Reply
    JD Georgia
    April 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I don’t know what I expected, but actually seeing these blew me away. Would love to have one for me desk!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      I felt the same way JD, wouldn’t one be inspirational sitting there on a desk!

  • Reply
    Vickie
    April 5, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    So delicate! And, gorgeous!
    I am not sure how she does this without breaking them..maybe seal first.no matter exquisite and lots of patience.
    Perfect for Easter (today)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      It’s kind of hard to believe she doesn’t break more…the video is fun to watch!

  • Reply
    Madeline Pendergrass
    April 5, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Her patience and talent turn eggshells into beautiful works of art! Love…

  • Reply
    Julia Hesketh
    April 5, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Beautiful, stunning and symbolic master crafting. Just gorgeous designs using humble ‘canvases’. Fabulous.

  • Reply
    Virginia L Lawson
    April 5, 2015 at 11:08 am

    GORGEOUS MASTER ARTISTRY!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    victoria mcauliffe
    April 5, 2015 at 11:07 am

    These are just beautiful went to the website must have some of these all of your give aways are fabulous so enjoy keeping up on your blog. Thank you….Victoria

  • Reply
    marilynr
    April 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! What a talented artist!

  • Reply
    Donna
    April 5, 2015 at 10:39 am

    One of the joys of life is being surrounded by beautiful design. Beth Ann’s eggs are exquisite as is her craftsmanship.

  • Reply
    France
    April 5, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Happy Easter! Sending blessings!

  • Reply
    LynneMarie
    April 5, 2015 at 10:22 am

    These are really pretty and like Beth Ann, I’m a Long Islander so it would be really nice to win this.

  • Reply
    Linda
    April 5, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Enchanting!!!!!

  • Reply
    Susan D
    April 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

    So pretty! I also love her marbled eggs and the nests. So creative!

  • Reply
    DAWN RENEE'
    April 5, 2015 at 10:13 am

    These are simply stunning.

  • Reply
    Jan R
    April 5, 2015 at 10:13 am

    AMAZING…

  • Reply
    Ann
    April 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

    These are insanely beautiful. As a prospective dentistry student, it also looks like a great way to hone your fine motor skills!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    April 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Totally unbelievable and truly a unique art style. I’ve never seen anything like this. So beautiful!

  • Reply
    judith
    April 5, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Brilliant and beautiful!
    I love the story of how she came to this point as well. Off to her page.
    Happy Easter, Sue!

  • Reply
    Virginia
    April 5, 2015 at 9:16 am

    What beautiful eggs! How nice of you to share your talent with us on Easter!
    Love to win one!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Ann Filiatreault
    April 5, 2015 at 9:13 am

    You work is amazing.

  • Reply
    Tina
    April 5, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Wow these are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing…and Happy Easter????????????????

  • Reply
    Ann
    April 5, 2015 at 9:10 am

    What an amazing talent. I was mesmerized by your work.

  • Reply
    Terry Covington
    April 5, 2015 at 9:07 am

    I was reminded of so many things while reading this and looking at these exquisite eggs, in particular various preserved eggs I have seen in museums. It is, indeed, a miraculous form, and one which obviously fascinates. These are unbelievably delicate and beautiful. Just looking at the pictures is a real pleasure.

  • Reply
    Sami
    April 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Wow! Just Wow!

  • Reply
    Shelley Farrell
    April 5, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Happy Easter!!! Absolutely stunning work!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  • Reply
    Mary Younkin
    April 5, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I can’t even imagine the patience required to create such gorgeous eggs. That video is great! I’d love to display one of those eggs in my office!!

  • Reply
    Charlotte Engstad
    April 5, 2015 at 8:18 am

    This is absolutely amazing! I didn’t think this was actuallly possible, thanks for sharing and happy Easter!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    April 5, 2015 at 5:40 am

    What a perfect, and perfectly wonderful, Easter giveaway! These are gorgeous and this artist is truly blessed with an “awesome” gift. Thanks for another wonderful feature and Happy Easter!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2015 at 5:57 am

      Happy Easter Tricia!

  • Reply
    Monique
    April 5, 2015 at 5:30 am

    What talent.
    Happy Easter..!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 5, 2015 at 5:57 am

      Monique these have your name all over them :)

  • Reply
    Jackie
    April 5, 2015 at 5:18 am

    Stunning!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    April 5, 2015 at 5:16 am

    Absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply
    Beth
    April 5, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply
    L
    April 5, 2015 at 4:38 am

    fabulous !!!

  • Reply
    Li
    April 5, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Oh, my gosh, her work is exquisite. I popped over to her Etsy page and will definitely start a collection if these eggs!