Using a 300,000-rpm drill, she carves curves and lines in the egg’s shell, cutting out fine pointed stars and swooping swirls. The drill is a modified dentist’s tool that can be used for carving glass, wood, metal or shells.
The specialized instrument opened a tiny, delicate, intricate world for Rebekah.
“She’s always been an artistic kid,” said her mother Jennifer Brown.
Rebekah, now 18, began carving wood with hand chisels. When Brown and her husband saw the high-speed drill at a show in Atlanta, they saw an opportunity to expand Rebekah’s talents. They took a DVD home to Franklin explaining what the drill could do.
“As she watched that her eyes began to shine,” Brown said.
Simply buying the drill outright was cost prohibitive, so the family did some market research, drafted a business plan, and applied for a bank loan. Rebekah began training and her father built a special workstation to vacuum out the little fragments and dust from carving. She carved her first eggshell the Friday before Easter — almost exactly a year ago.
“When she started doing eggshells she was just fascinated by them,” Brown said.
Her talent quickly grew and she joined a national network of carvers who meet online each Wednesday night to discuss their work. From Utah, Rebekah’s mentor is pushing the young carver to continue with her work.
“He is very encouraging,” Brown said. “He is very pleased with the degree of talent he sees already.”
Rebekah draws patterns largely based on nature, such as butterflies, bees and flowers. An ostrich egg she carved covered with a mass of Dogwood blossoms. Goose eggs are webs of raindrops. Duck eggs with their ribbons for hanging cost $24. The larger eggs, like the goose, emu and ostrich come with a stand a dome to protect them for display and range in cost from $90 to $350.
Rebekah will be demonstrating her process from 10:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3 p.m. March 31 at It’s By Nature gallery in Sylva. The gallery is hosting an exhibit of her work through April 7. For more information about the exhibit, call 828.631.3020. For more information about the artist, visit www.rebekahjoystudio.com.