John Warnock, artist

Gilberts artist carves eggshells
By Tara Garcia Mathewson

John Warnock

John Warnock traded his tool and die business for art, realizing that carving eggshells used the same skills he employed as a machinist. Photo by Steve Berczynski.

John Warnock traded steel for eggshells after his tool and die business took a sharp drop in 2000. He traces his first business’s decline to the election of George W. Bush and the ensuing export of much of his work.

“When George Bush took the oath of office and they opened up China, it was like popping a balloon,” Warnock said. “It was that fast.”

Warnock has been self-employed since about 1990 and continues to accept tool and die work when he gets it but lately has shifted to a new craft. He started carving eggshells in 2005 and more recently picked it up again last December.

He uses a high-speed grinder to carve the shells and often works them into lace designs. He also makes pictures in relief by shaving off thin layers of the shells. On emu eggs this allows him to showcase up to five colors in different layers of a single shell. This particular craft came naturally to the 60-year-old Gilberts man. Though the shell is much more delicate than steel, the tools needed are old hat.

“A grinder is like an extension of my hand,” Warnock said.

Read the full story here.

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