Milled from an egg

Milled from an egg

An Easter tradition taken to the extreme: Barbara Neuhaus takes everything out of eggs. What remains is highly intricate artwork.


As a prime symbol of fertility, the egg plays an important role in Christian traditions. Easter eggs given as presents remind us of Jesus’ resurrection. The calcium carbonate oval is decorated in many ways to celebrate the day. A woman from Bischofswiesen turns it into an art using a paintbrush and – no joke – a dentist’s drill.


The sound that Barbara Neuhaus makes when creating her pieces will give you goose bumps! Because of the dust, she wears a surgical mask while sitting on her terrace in the ski resort area of Berchtesgaden and busies herself with a commercial dental drill. It removes calcium carbonate in addition to tooth decay. Who knew? The sport and biology teacher mills holes in chicken, goose, duck or even ostrich eggs and creates fragile masterpieces that seem to be made of more air than shell when all is said and done. That is, after 15 to 20 hours of work if nothing breaks in the process. Barbara calmly accepts such a mishap made known by a faint sound which thankfully only befalls two out of ten eggs – so long as it doesn’t happen right before completion.


How did such a filigree egg come about for the teacher whose work has taken German Easter markets by storm? First there is considerable effort from the lungs. Before she can perforate an egg, it must, of course, be blown out. Next, a type of „cartography“ is on the agenda. The Bamberger native uses a pencil to effectively draw a pattern on its surface. Only then does she use the dental drill ever so delicately to mill each and every hole into the egg. Her record? Over a thousand holes! She managed that feat with a double yolk goose egg. Once the dust is removed, the shells are delicately painted for the final touch. Barbara adds animals, flowers and patterns to the remaining space.


The fragile Easter decorations cost between 30 and 180 euros. Softly laid eggs are kept in a box during the year before they see the light of day again at Easter. It was during the same „season“ in the traditions calendar nearly 30 years ago that Barbara hatched her hobby. The now 57-year-old strolled through the Erlanger Easter market, was impressed by the variety of Easter egg works of art and felt inspired to try her hand at a drill despite its fatherly association at the time. Today, no two eggs are alike though each is as neat as a pin.


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