Devin Darden can go through a couple dozen eggs in a day.
But that’s just cleaning them.
Breaking the eggshells and placing the pieces one at a time on a canvas to create a work of art can take weeks.
The 24-year-old McLennan Community College student is slowly building a fan base in Waco. She posts her work to instagram.com/d_e_v_i_n_ hesitantly, despite quick sales.
One egg at a time, Darden cracks the egg, separates the inside from the fragile shell, cleans each piece and lays them out to dry. She then takes each piece with her fingers or tweezers, depending on the size, and places them within a design she’s painting on a canvas. One wrong move sends the pieces she’s collected and cleaned floating off the table and onto the floor, she said with a laugh. She then uses her “best friend,” an adhesive called Mod Podge, to keep the pieces attached before applying paint.
Some of her artwork uses the eggshell pieces to highlight a certain section of the design. In one piece, ballerina shoes are filled with eggshells, while long legs and a dark background remain eggshell-free. Other canvases more dominantly display the eggshells, largely covering the canvas with various paints and designs.
“I don’t do a flat canvas. It’s just boring to me,” Darden said. “Even when I used to just sketch, I had to have a textured paper. I couldn’t have the smooth stuff.”
Darden, who works full time at a James Avery store, said she’s inspired by many things in her life, including where she works.
“I’m kind of surrounded by ideas and beautiful designs,” she said.
Friend and co-worker Elisabeth Hudson said she has one of Darden’s eggshell mixed-media pieces on display in her living room.
Hudson said her nephew works for the Fort Worth Police Department and asked for a painting of the thin blue line, a symbol used to commemorate fallen officers and represent the protection law enforcement provides against criminals.
“She’s done pieces for each of the co-workers,” she said, adding each one was personalized for the individual. “She keeps it pretty private until she’s ready to show. She’s a little shy about it. But she’s so talented.”
Hudson, who has known Darden about two years, said she has enjoyed watching sketches Darden makes around the office turn into pieces of art. She said they all try and save eggshells to donate to the cause.
“I can’t imagine the patience she has,” she said.
Darden said one of the first pieces she sold was to the manager at the beauty service store Sephora in Waco.
Her interest in art really began to develop in the fifth grade. She said her class was asked to draw a picture with each sentence they wrote for an assignment.
“My teacher was like, ‘Do your parents know you can draw like this?’ ” Darden said.
After that, Darden started filling sketchbook after sketchbook with design ideas.
She said she can use eight to 12 eggs for a small painting. After that she tends to quit counting.