Chicken eggs, pigeon eggs, turkey eggs, ostrich eggs: these are turned into small works of art in Ines Höfs’ workshop in Schwerin. The 64-year-old artist uses a brush and pen to ink landscapes, portraits and small scenes onto the fragile bowls. Sometimes they are also short poems.

Her eggs are in demand; there are collectors in southern Germany, for example, and yet she only produces around 50 a year, as she says. She sits on an egg for at least 15 hours. Before Easter is high season. “I start in February and finish in April, that’s enough.”

Ines Höfs is a trained commercial artist. She came up with egg art because she enjoyed it, as she says. “My work colleagues thought it was great, wanted some and that’s how it started in the 1980s.”

The colors come from the ink box and at the end boat varnish provides shine and protection. In principle it is possible to hang the eggs outside, but Höfs would not recommend it. Birds could try to peck at them and wind could tear them down, says the artist.

She always did egg painting as a hobby. “It wouldn’t be nice as a job, I don’t want to be under pressure.” Höfs’ small works of art are not cheap. According to her, a painted goose egg costs 30 to 40 euros, which also depends on the motif. A swan egg costs more. “They’re expensive to buy.”