A stroll with Keith Mailhotte is more than just a walk. You never know where exactly it's going to end.
Mailhotte is always looking for the perfect spot. Not to stop and take in the sights, but to hide something special. "I like to hide it where it's not obvious. You can't just stumble upon it," he said."
It's a treasure hunt -- more like an Easter egg hunt year round -- with his unique carved eggs. Mailhotte hand carves egg shells, from chickens to emus, in his Morrisville workshop. "I like the thought that they're fragile and it takes skill to do them," Mailhotte said.
Reporter Gina Bullard: What is the skill that it takes to carve an egg?
Keith Mailhotte: Some patience, which I'm surprised I have.
With tools that sound more like they should be in a dentist office, Mailhotte says each egg takes more than an hour.
"The cuts I do don't have any rhyme or reason. I just kind of cut away," he said.
But cutting away isn't as easy as it sounds -- trust me. The eggs are delicate. While you're carving them, and especially after. I found out the hard way.
These intricately carved eggs aren't exactly for sale. Mailhotte tucks them away in secret spots all over the state. He posts photo clues on the Vermont Finders Keepers Facebook page, leading to the eggs. Once found, the keepers contact Mailhotte and can purchase a certificate of authenticity. Prices vary anywhere from $35 to a couple hundred, depending on where the egg is hidden.
Reporter Gina Bullard: What if they don't want to pay?
Keith Mailhotte: Then they don't pay.
Reporter Gina Bullard: You're willing to take the loss?
Keith Mailhotte: I think they're taking the loss. I think this is going be worth quite a bit to someone.
The harder the spot, the higher the value.
"I could hide this egg in Morrisville, but hiding it on top of Camels Hump brings it a whole new value," Mailhotte said.
And although they may be eggs, and Mailhotte is hiding them, he does not want to be confused with the Easter Bunny. "Man, I'd rather be known as the next Fabergé rather than the Easter Bunny," he said.
Unique hand carved eggs being hidden and Made in Vermont.
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