George’s Royal carv­ing col­lec­tion

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By NATALIE HOLMES

Age: Favourite song?

(Holds up four fin­gers)

Ice. It’s Elsa’s song. And Anna is the wa­ter one.

Favourite colour? Favourite game?

puz­zles.

Who is your best friend? What makes you laugh? What makes you sad? What are you afraid of?

Michael

Happy. Talk. Michael’s cry­ing Seth’s go­ing in the toi­let! There’s three taps! There’s a lot of taps! And Seth needs to wash his hands.

If you could change your name, what would it be? Mad­di­son What are you re­ally good at? Play. To see our

pic­tures.

Do you have any jokes to tell me?

head)... Christ­mas.

What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch?

Sand­wiches with but­ter, cheese, let­tuce and the broc­coli.

What is your favourite fruit?

my din­ner. I like wa­ter­melon.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to grow up like this many (holds up seven fin­gers), this many (holds up eight fin­gers) and this many (holds up nine fin­gers).

This many (holds up five

How old is grown up?

fin­gers)

Red

I play some uni­corns. They play (Shakes Car­rots. No, they’re FROM a wall unit in Un­cle George Mason’s lounge room, a myr­iad of faces sur­vey their sur­round­ings. There are beau­ti­ful faces, cheeky faces, in­ter­est­ing faces and ones with lines like a road map.

The por­traits form part of Un­cle George’s col­lec­tion of emu eggs, painstak­ingly carved over many years of pa­tience and prac­tice.

“I’ve been carv­ing for 20 years,” he ex­plained with a gen­tle smile.

Grow­ing up in Goodooga as one of 13 kids, Un­cle George said they lived on rab­bit and goat meat. When he left school at the age of 14, he started work­ing in the shear­ing sheds.

“I used to roustabout and started learn­ing to shear at 16,” he told Dubbo

His ca­reer was also the be­gin­ning of Un­cle George’s artis­tic en­deav­ours.

“I’ve al­ways liked art. The Abo­rig­i­nals work­ing in the sheds used to carve eggs at night. That was how I learned and I just started carv­ing too.”

The el­ders used sharp knives to do the carv­ing but Un­cle George has a shear­ing cut­ter (which forms part of the comb) and a spe­cial en­graver for the finer de­tails.

“A knife can be awk­ward, I find that a cut­ter is eas­ier to ma­noeu­vre,” he said. The process in­volves etch­ing into the many lay­ers of the eggs, from dark to pale green then white. Un­for­tu­nately, due to the drought, this year’s eggs have been small and frag­ile. Carv­ing also re­quires con­cen­tra­tion and a steady hand. “And pa­tience, lots of pa­tience,” Un­cle George laughs.

Over the years, he has carved many por­traits, in­clud­ing his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, and emu eggs for the wed­dings or birthdays of friends, as well as re­mem­ber­ing a loved one af­ter their death. A por­trait egg can take a few days to com­plete, and once he starts, it can con­sume him.

“He started with im­ages of birds and flow­ers and moved on to peo­ple from there,” daugh­ter Narelle says. A spe­cial theme which brings to­gether many of Un­cle George’s egg por­traits are im­ages of the Royal fam­ily – in­clud­ing Duchess Kate and Prince William, Princess Diana, Prince George, Princess Char­lotte and Duchess Meghan. He is look­ing for­ward to the up­com­ing Royal visit.

“I liked Princess Diana, my wife Betty did too. She was the peo­ple’s princess. I

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