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With a Dental Drill, Turning Eggshells Into Art

Artist Tina Kannapel cuts and shapes eggshells with a dental drill and a steady hand.

TINA KANNAPEL: "Eggs are a continuous arch. And because an eggshell is a continuous arch, it has a lot of natural strength. You will see eggshells where I've taken out so much that it looks like lace. And the whole, the whole trick to that is having regular connections between the different pieces of the lace, so the eggshell stays intact." Tina Kannapel carves, sculpts and sells about 1,600 eggshells a year.

TINA KANNAPEL: "The ostrich eggshell is very hard -- it's like china." She begins with designs printed on paper ...

TINA KANNAPEL: "And this is my file, for designs ." ... and then connects them to the eggshell. Tina Kannapel has more than 300 designs. Her three cats watch as she works.

TINA KANNAPEL: "They'll walk all around the carved eggshells and they don't bother them at all -- in fact, he's loving them. Say 'I love eggshells.' Whoops!" After the carving is done, the eggshell is cleaned, first with warm water and then bleach.

TINA KANNAPEL: "What the bleach does is it eats all of the organic material in the eggshell and when it's completely sterilized, there won't be any bubbles come up." One of her eggshells can sell for up to $400. "This is an emu eggshell, it has three layers. The outside is such a dark green it looks black. The layer underneath that is teal or blue, and the layer underneath that is a paper thin white and I carve between the three layers." I'm Shirley Griffith.