Grímsey is a gem on the Arctic Circle, just 40 km off the north coast of Iceland. The island stands alone far out on the horizon, a blue cliff, surrounded by birds and the wide Arctic Ocean. The birdlife in Grimsey is unique with numerous different species and unusually dense populations. The birds life is flourishing due to several reasons; rich fishing grounds are close by, no rats or mice are on the island and hunting of the birds and collection of their eggs has been reduced to a minimum since earlier times.
These eggs are from common murres, it is a genus of seabirds in the auk family known as guillemots/murre. Murre birds breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs, laying single elongated conical eggs directly on cliff ledges of Grímsey.The eggs vary in color and pattern to help the parents recognize them, each egg’s pattern being unique. Colors include white, green, blue or brown with spots or speckles in black or lilac. Common Murre eggs are large (around 11% of female weight), and are pointed at one end. There are a few theories to explain their pear-shaped. If disturbed, they roll in a circle rather than fall off the ledge. The shape allows efficient heat transfer during incubation. The guillemot eggshells have hierarchical cone nano-structures that enable them to survive precarious habitats, on exposed cliffs with no nest.
In Grímsey it is a tradition to go egg collecting, in the spring. In former times the cliffs along the coastline where important to the inhabitants as they were a major source of food supply. The cliffs on the east side of the island are highest ranging from 60 to 100 meters. Collecting eggs from the cliffs was a very dangerous task in those days, but an important source of food. When collecting eggs, the collector that hang in a strong rope, would be lowered, maybe 60 to 70 m down from the edge of the cliff. The rope was guarded by six or seven strong men on the top. The danger was mainly that a piece of rock could break off the cliff and fall on the collector or that the rope would brake. To day collecting of eggs is done by means of old methods but with assistance of e.g. a tractor. This is both an attraction on special occasions as well as means of food supply for the locals – though not in the same dimension as it used to be.
I’d love to keep this tradition. So I want to introduce you Grimsey design, the egg are not just to eat, it is also to be admired! When people and nature combine and create an art that is so different and unique.