The minute we drove up to VIVIAN ALEXANDER, a museum and work shop of Fabrage’ eggs, I knew it was someplace special. Two rescued statues flank the door of the museum, and a rusted punched tin panel topped the doorway. Anyone who reads my blog knows I love rusty stuff and rescued anything.
Alex Caldwell, the Alexander half of Vivian Alexander, showed us into his workshop. Above you see an egg of 99% silver being decorated with whatever he decides to put on it. The silver is a powdered silver called filings. Alex is an engineer/artist. A great deal of planning and work go into transforming a bird egg into a work of art that is strong and useable such as a purse or clutch.
These are the eggs he uses, a reha, emu and goose eggs.
Alex discovered a process of enameling over the silver and you will see how that beautiful silver pattern he calls guiluche shows through the enamel.
Then we entered his showroom of items currently for sale. Their beauty takes your breath away.
Alex makes a series of affordable goose egg ornaments for Christmas and Mardi Gras , and Easter that people like to collect.
Since this is Louisiana, Alex put alligator skin on this purse, a little salute to his home state.
And this one.
There was so much beauty on the table. I picked the one I liked best and… gulp, bought it. It reminded me of Goudi’s work. And, in a fever I bought three other pieces as well.
When I went to pay for it, I learned that this piece was made by Liza Caldwell. And, she hugged it and kissed it and we cried together. “It is my favorite piece. I don’t know if I can part with it. I worked so darned hard on this piece, two years.” It is now my treasure to share. Alex told me, “Don’t let it sit on a shelf. Use it. Set it on the table and people will want to see it.” And, I will.
I took many more pictures and if you want to see an album of my photos, you can click this link:
Now, I’ve saved dessert for last.
Alex showed us into the museum. Here is the most beautiful piece of the collection, bar none. I’m grateful to have a picture of it to enjoy. The lighting, mirrors and bright brass made photography difficult, but he gave us every advantage with great patience and told us some great stories of these pieces as well. Several of the pieces in the museum are Carl Fabrage’ designs. Alex learned from Fabrage’ and has become world-famous as a teacher, lecturer and expert on Fabrage’. I thought like Tiffany, someone was still making Fabrage’. It is Alex.
Alex holds a beautiful piece from the museum collection for us to photograph.
Alex was summoned by Hollywood to make a replica of the most famous Fabrage’ egg which was featured in the movie, Oceans 12. The egg was made for the Russian Czarina’s coronation and is called the Imperial Coronation Egg. It opened to reveal a horse drawn carriage. Forbes owned the largest collection of Fabrage’ eggs and sold off his collection for 120 million dollars. Alex estimates this piece from his collection brought 28 million dollars in 2004. It now belongs to Consuela Vanderbilt, the Duchess of Marlboro. He values his replica at $9000.
This piece is encrusted with real diamonds and rubies.
Notice the rooster popping out of the top of this treasure.
In this watch, the head of the snake marks the hour as the numbers rotate around the circumference of the egg. Amazing pieces and amazing stories of his world renowned talent. An egg returned to him for the museum by a local buyer because it endured a flood during Ike. The Smirnoff egg, commissioned to have a bottle of Smirnoff popping out of it. And much more. When you visit Southern Louisiana, make sure to stop in to see the work of this amazing master craftsman, Alexaner Caldwell of Maurice, Louisiana. You can check his website, which I haven’t done yet.
Life is short. Art is forever.