University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 2/1996
Age-old riddle solved: The Blue Hen came first

     No one was eggsactly sure how 99 blue and gold eggs
mysteriously found their way onto the campus just in time for the
first day of the spring semester.
     The eggs, in three different sizes, all rattled as if
containing... what?... the secret to the universe?
     After some detective work, personnel in the Department of
Art confessed that the eggs had been "laid" by one Carlos Yepes,
a graduate student in sculpture. Here on a Presidential
Fellowship, Yepes is studying with Joe Moss, professor of art.
     Ever since his undergraduate days as a sculpture major at
Florida International University in Miami, Yepes has had trouble
keeping his art within the confines of the sculpture yard.
Sometimes, at night, one of his pieces would mysteriously break
out of the yard and move onto the campus-proof of the artist's
belief that sculpture needs to be out among the people.
     When Yepes moved to Newark, he immediately noticed the lack
of sculpture on the UD campus. Wondering how to correct the
situation, he decided to create public art that people could
actually pick up, look at and perhaps take home with them. The
idea for the eggs was inspired by the large, metal Blue Hen that
now roosts on the Laird Campus.
     It took Yepes three months to make the 99 eggs that he, his
wife and friends eventually placed all around campus. The eggs
are ceramic, made of material poured into a mold. Yepes made one
a day, painting them blue with a gold wash. He cut each one open
and inserted a secret message.
     The largest eggs contain old-fashioned limericks that Yepes
found in books in the Morris Library. The middle-sized ones
contain proverbs, and the smallest eggs contain the key-the
explanation of what the project is all about-getting art out to
the public and making people think.
     "The idea was that the largest eggs contain the least
important information, like in life, where the smallest thing may
carry the most important message," Yepes says.
     While Yepes was interested in seeing public reaction to the
eggs, none of the messages contain his name or phone number. He
wanted to remain anonymous.
     Still, word of some egg discoveries did get back to him. He
noticed the one placed in front of the President's House on Kent
Way was gone the next day, as was one left on the ticket machine
in the parking garage. One placed in a squirrel hole in a tree by
Willard Hall Education Building went undiscovered the longest.
Still another, accidentally knocked out of a space in a building,
ended up in a puddle where it biodegraded.
     Yepes also heard of a group of students sitting around a
table, pondering an egg at a local coffeehouse, and a similar
discussion is said to have occurred in the Morris Library. He was
told that a secretary who collects eggs had run around campus and
claimed three.
     The trail of eggs started at the Blue Hen near the Pencader
Residence Hall Complex, where one egg sculpture of each size was
"laid," and went on to the Perkins Student Center, through the
dorms and back to the other side of campus.
     "I just wanted to make people think," Yepes says.
"Sometimes, I'm aware that people just walk around oblivious to
their surroundings. When I saw the icicles that formed on campus
after the snow, I was wowed. But, lots of people, it seems,
didn't even notice."
     Yepes says he didn't care if ultimately the eggs were broken
open by people looking for the messages.
     "I thought most people would break them, and that's okay if
it made them curious, if it made them look."
     And for the spring semester?
     Yes, Yepes is working on another campus-wide display of
hands-on sculpture. He promises a 1,000-piece display sometime in
the spring. He's not disclosing the subject...but you can be sure a
new project has hatched in his mind.
                                             -Beth Thomas