KOCHI: Art and artists tend to stand out for many reasons. For city-based artist Jijin S Kumar, it is his eclectic medium of choice. He creates decorations and designs by punching holes into eggshells with pins. Jijin who started experimenting with the style after seeing a Facebook post has been at it for almost eight years now. The 26-year-old now has over 300 pieces to his credit—made on lizard eggs to bird eggs—and claims to be the only artist from Kerala to have received an international certificate in eggshell art.
A passionate numismatist, Jijin used to exchange coins with like-minded people from around the world. It was through this hobby that he was introduced to Rebecca, a coin collector from the USA. She casually sent him a picture of eggshell artworks, which piqued his interest. “Carving an eggshell can be challenging. You need a lot of patience for it. I broke around 42 eggshells before I succeeded,” says Jijin, who also expresses gratitude to his friends, Dia and Julie Joy for encouraging him to take up this unusual style.
Before experimenting with eggshells, Jijin did complete research on eggs and hens. He first draws the designs on the shell and then carves it. To make it more appealing, he paints the surface with matte and acrylic colours. “Artists use multiple pieces of equipment for carving, but my art pieces are all handmade. I usually use tiny needles,” he says, adding that it takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete one shell, and if he as much as takes a break in between, the shells might break.
Jijin and six of his friends manage a Facebook page named ‘Kaapo’, where they upload their artworks. A former optometrist at Believers Church Medical College Hospital in Tiruvalla, one of his artworks was included in the logo of the International Egg Art Guilt in 2017. He is also one of the members of the Encyclopedia of World Egg Artist’s Association, and his works got featured on the publication in 2016. Jijin’s upcoming exhibition will be held next month in Kozhikode.