Home‎ > ‎News‎ > ‎Feature stories‎ > ‎

February 2012 - Nick Poleschuk, Jr. – Artist Extraordinaire

by Donna Zibley

Consider a mustard seed, a big grain of sand - all only about 1mm in length.  That’s awfully tiny, isn’t it?  And, you can’t really do much with anything that small, right?  For most of us the answer is a resounding no.  For Nick Poleschuk, it’s the thickness of a black Emu egg and a magnificent canvas for Nick to perform his artistic carving magic.

Nick is a carver, but not the typical knife or gouge using carver.  He uses a very top-of-the-line, high speed (300,000 RPM) engraver as his primary tool.  And it’s not usually wood that he uses as his canvas – its delicate egg shells.  Yes, he uses chicken, rhea, parakeet , goose, ostrich, and emu eggs that he gets from all over America.  Some of the eggs really have only one layer, but others – such as the emu eggs – have multiple layers.  Best yet, the layers are different colors.  That allows Nick to use his engraver to carve low-relief scenes into them, carving off a layer here and there to artistically expose the various colors.  The Ostrich egg, at nearly 3/16” thick, is the most fun for Nick to carve because its greater depth allows him to carve more challenging and visually pleasing designs.

Nick has been carving eggs for nearly 16 years.  His engraver is an oil lubricated unit that uses a variety of dental burrs.  The part that he holds in his hand is somewhat the size of a large pen.  Creating extremely fine dust, Nick fabricated a dust collection cabinet with a high efficiency furnace filter and uses a “Swiffer” cloth as a pre-filter.  For safety, Nick prefers 3M #8233 N100 Dust Mask (now available thru our club), an Optivisor magnifier, and “Peltor” brand (29 decibels/ear muff style) hearing protection.  Nick uses a small compressor that he has hooked up to a wireless switch (this allows his compressor to be located in another room so that it is quieter in the room Nick is working in) and a pair of special lights that allow him to clearly see details and control shadows when he carves.  Other valuable tools are the dental burrs, riffler files and scalpels.  Nick carves both freehand as well as with patterns that he often designs on the computer.  He uses a Mylar film (Chartpak Drafting & Design Applique Film) that is sticky on one side, prints the design on it, and sticks it on the egg

Keys to this type of artistic, precision carving are to work slow and steady so that the eggs don’t break and the higher the speed the better the cutting and less grabbing.  Another key is to make sure you find any cracks in eggs prior to carving.  To do so, he soaks the eggs in water for 20 minutes.  After that, any cracks will show up as darker lines.  Due to the incredible concentration needed to work his magic, Nick can only work about an hour at a time.  An emu egg that he displayed for us took up to 40 hours for just the cutting time (not including prep-work).

Eggshell carving is one of the oldest crafts known to mankind.  How cool, to have a passion for such an ancient craft but have the most advanced technology with which to do that craft.  Rochester’s Nick Poleschuk is an artist like none of us have ever seen before.  His tools are high-tech, his medium is strikingly delicate, and his work is nothing short of magically stunning.  In addition to carving eggs, Nick also carves some wooden pendants and Christmas ornaments.  As are the eggs, these items are delicate and gorgeous.

You can read the full article about Nick and see a video of Nick’s fabulous art which shows him  actually carving at his workstation on our website.   You can also see Nick’s gallery of work at his website www.PoleschukStudios.com  Both places provide an even better glimpse into the incredible artistic world of Nick Poleschuk than you can imagine.   You will be amazed and so proud to know that a guy of this incredible talent is among us!