The IEAG awarded its first "Grand Master" in October 2004 to Pat Harding for achieving a Master Level in all nine Masters Categories.
By husband Quinn Izard
Pat was born and raised in Bastrop, Texas, a small community east of Austin, Texas. She walked to school every day with her four brothers, (two older and two younger). Being raised with four boys she was, and enjoyed being, a tomboy. She played all sports with her brothers and, not to be outdone, she earned her own letter jacket in high school. She earned letters in both volleyball and track. Her father John Weiss was involved in ranching and in his younger days he was involved with rodeos. Pat liked the idea of rodeos as well. She owned her own horse by age four and enjoyed riding from that day forward. As she grew up, she became involved in competition barrel racing and pole-bending. When she could tear Pat away from her outdoor activities, her grandmother was able to interest her in embroidery, crocheting, and quilting.
Pat has three children. John is a senior attending Sam Houston State University, Geneva has an associate degree in therapeutic recreation (working with children with disabilities), and Stephen will be attending Wyoming Technical Institute this year for automotive technology. I am a firefighter of 17 years in Austin. We moved to the country, in 1995, where we purchased a few acres with a one hundred-year-old farmhouse, which we are restoring ourselves.
Pat’s sister-in-law collects eggs, and the first time Pat saw them she knew “that was for her.” She began decorating some chicken eggs she had drilled with my Dewalt drill. I eventually bought her a Dremel tool. A friend told her about egg artist Dorothy McGill of Burton, Texas. Pat called Dorothy as soon as she got home. Dorothy invited Pat to her home, which was filled with hundreds of beautiful eggs, and introduced her to the basics of egging, and to the wonders of high-speed air tools. At which point I purchased a right angle dentist drill.
Dorothy encouraged Pat to attend the Dallas egg show. That was 1998 - Pat attended her first egg show, joined the IEAG, and decided to enter into the masters program. Not knowing how the egg would be judged, she was on pins and needles waiting for the results. By mid November she had passed novice level in Beaded & Jeweled, Pysanky, and Diorama categories. Pat admits that she was anxious about the results of each judging, from the first Novice to the last Master level entry. She feels the masters program is invaluable to her although it might not be for everyone. She maintains that, “If you have problems with constructive criticism, it’s probably not for you. But if you really want to improve your workmanship, and grow as an artist, there’s nothing like it.”
Being unable to travel to the various shows that hold the Masters Judging Program, she did the next best thing. She shipped her eggs around the country. In the years of mailing her eggs, only two eggs, were damaged. It’s all in the packaging.
In June of 2000, Pat became a “Master of Egg Art” by earning her forth master-level certificate. Pat was the featured artist in the International Egg Art Guild, “Who’s Who in Egg Art”, in January 2001. In IEAG, October 2001 issue, the featured Egg “Carousel Carnival” was one of Pat’s creations.
In November 2000, Carol Ganzi welcomed Pat to the Masters Judging Program. On October 29, 2004 Pat was awarded a certificate for completing the training to become a judge for the Master’s Program.
Her love of egging fits perfectly with Pat’s love for the animals that produce her raw materials. Thus, she has her own menagerie including ostriches, swans, tinamous, ducks, geese, chickens, guineas, peafowl, turkeys, doves, pigeons, finches and other species too numerous to mention. She’s even been featured in an international publication several times, which is dedicated to breeding birds, Game Bird and Conservation Gazette. As you may well imagine, all of these feathered friends supply her with more art supplies than anyone could possibly use. Pat deals with this glut of shells by giving many of them to beginning eggers and friends.
In October 2004, Pat earned her last masters certificate to complete all nine categories.
In December 2004, Jim Swift with KXAN Channel 36 News interviewed Pat, for a segment titled “Out On The Porch”. Footage of all of her Masters eggs and many of her other designs were included in the interview. Click here to see her interview!
A repeat winner in The Eggshell Sculptor, Pat has placed in, or won every competition Gary LeMaster has sponsored.
In June of 2000, Pat started competing at the Dallas shows she currently has 12 ribbons, 7 for first place and 5 for second place.