Monday, April 9, 2012

Pysanky: Ukranian Egg Decorating

This spring we decided to branch out on our Easter tradition of decorating Easter eggs, and learned to create pysanky. I was having trouble finding a place to buy supplies or a person to ask advice of. I then found that there was a Ukranian church about 20 minutes from my home with a church goods store, and it sold pysanky supplies! Not only that, the woman who was working in the shop the day I visited was a former art teacher! She was a great help, and we swapped stories. This art form actually predates Christianity, even though it is now associated with the Easter holiday.

The term pysanky comes from the word pysaty, which means to write. Designs are written with beeswax, dipped in dye, and then the wax is removed to reveal the resist design. Then the process is repeated for each turn with another color of dye. Pysanky also refers specifically to an egg decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs. It is not just a term for any egg decorated using wax resist.

The process takes some time, but the end results are just lovely! I have seen an art teacher or two blogging about creating pysanky with their classes, but I think I would modify the project to a watercolor resist on egg shaped paper, and concentrate on the Ukranian symbols and their meanings. Between lit candles, such specific supplies and containers of dye I'm not sure how successful it would be in the classroom environment. 

But I will say that spending the day with family, sharing stories and each others company, learning a new skill, exploring other cultures, and creating tiny masterpieces together was an experience that I would not trade for anything!

1 comment:

Painting With Brains said...

These are so, so, so beautiful!! Definitely going to try this myself some time this summer.