Glenn Dennis, a project manager with the Department of Regional NSW, carves emu eggs in his spare time to celebrate and share his Aboriginal culture.
One of Glenn's stunning carved emu eggs featuring native animals.
Ask any tradesperson, and they’ll likely tell you carving requires a steady hand, concentration, and patience.
When it comes to carving a brittle emu egg, these skills are even more important.
Glenn Dennis, a proud Ngemba man from north-west New South Wales, does just that.
For up to five hours, he delicately manoeuvres a knife around the curved dark green surface of an emu eggshell - all in a quest to create stunning pieces of art that pay tribute to his Aboriginal heritage.
“I’ve always had art in my background, in my veins,” Glenn said.
“My family – they’re painters, musicians, carvers.”
“Firstly, I draw onto the shell the design I want to create, then I use a Stanley knife to take off the outer shell. It is quite brittle, but it’s a lot more robust than you’d think it is.”
“The shell is about three millimetres thick and has varying shades of green to white, which is the last layer. I use a tool to take out a lot of material, and towards the end I use a carving knife to bring out the detail.”
Glenn works for the Department of Regional NSW Public Works agency as a project manager. In that role he uses his background as a carpenter to help deliver upgrades and refurbishments to state government buildings – from construction to completion.
Originally from Brewarrina, Glenn now lives in Dubbo with his young family.
Glenn’s connection to his Country is strong, and something he expresses through his carvings.
“A few of my family members out at Walgett carve emu eggs. A few years ago, I saw one of the eggs that one of my family members had done, and I was amazed and thought ‘I’ll have a crack at that’. It evolved from there,” he said.
“I’ve recently started making traditional clap sticks and boomerangs. Like anything, it’s a learning curve. Each time I do one, I find something different and overcome challenges. It’s just fantastic to share.”
From carvings of possums, turtles, and snakes, to an image of the bridge in Brewarrina, Glenn’s aim is to celebrate and share awareness of Aboriginal culture.
“I’ve got two young boys, aged seven and three, and I just want to show them where their father comes from and a bit of our culture,” he said.
“I love talking about my homeland. It’s good to always reminisce on where I’ve grown up and being raised Aboriginal.”
“I hope my boys take away a sense of pride, and that they may be inspired to do something they love.”
“It’s something I’m hoping we can share as they get older, and we can grow from it.”
For more exciting stories from across regional NSW, subscribe to the Department of Regional NSW newsletter.