Egg-shoeing in focus for Easter as Hungarian craftsman keeps tradition alive

MARKAZ, Hungary, March 31 (Reuters) - Standing next to his workbench, Gyula Laszlo drills a pattern of tiny holes into a hollowed-out hen’s egg, inserting a network of metal threads that he then uses tweezers to mount a miniature horseshoe on.

The craft he specialises in - and in which he generally does brisk business around Easter - is called egg-shoeing, a Hungarian tradition that dates back to the 19th century, and several horseshoes can decorate a single egg.

Once considered the ultimate test of skill for a blacksmith, it is now kept alive by Laszlo and a handful of other artisans.

“I always say that I got infected by this and not by drugs. ...I cannot be cured,” Laszlo told Reuters.

He decorates several hundred eggs per year, selling some but putting the best on display in the hill village north of Budapest where he lives.

Egg-shoeing methods have diversified over the decades, with both pins and metal threads used to attach the decorations, and Laszlo has developed his own techniques over more than 20 years.

“I have seen old photos of how blacksmiths did this,” he said.

“...They put the shoe only on one side. I thought the bare end of the thread did not look nice, so I decided to put shoes on both sides.”

He says anyone with time on their hands can learn the skill: “All you need is perseverance, and perhaps a little dexterity.” (Reporting by Krisztina Fenyo; editing by John Stonestreet)