Read about the eggs in a San Francisco Chronicle article


About the Work

Inside the space provided by real eggshells, I create dioramas, using a variety of materials and methods. Painting media include oils, acrylic, watercolor, and ink.  The miniature sculptural figures are mostly made using clays and resins, and these are subsequently altered in some way, with painting or embellishment, for example, to create the appropriate form and texture.  Papers and fabrics are used, as well as wood and metal.  I also include natural and found materials, and in my hunt for something with just the right texture, shape, or color, I will find use for such things as dryer lint or spice seeds. My garden is also a very rich resource, where I can gather dried up bits of twig and brush and transform them in some way.  The eggshells are strengthened using a variety of techniques, depending on design, and all scenes are enclosed behind custom-cut glass.


About the Artist

J. Brooke Patterson is an artist currently working in Oakland, CA.  In 1993, she earned her BA degree in Art from UC Berkeley, where she focused on drawing and printmaking.  For some years she had made these dioramas for friends and family, simply using chicken eggs.  In 1996, she began selling them through an Open Studios event in Berkeley, CA, where they quickly sold out.  In 2000, it became a full-time artistic pursuit, and she now exhibits in many shows and stores throughout the country.



Artist’s Statement

As a container of life, the egg inspires one to imagine the many things that can dwell inside.  It can frame and focus a passing observation, or a deep contemplation, and its intimate nature can draw people inwards. Inside this space is where I create little worlds that can enchant, delight, and amuse people.  While the themes are often narrative, I also embrace an appreciation for the decorative.  The shell itself is often a subject of my work and a point of departure.  I will explore its color and texture, and the juxtaposition between its strength and fragility.  I make a conscious effort to consider, choose, and combine different artistic methods.  It is in using the humblest of materials that I find the greatest reward.

J. Brooke Patterson