Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pysanky - Ukrainian Easter Eggs


One of my friends, Diana conducted this amazing workshop of painting Ukrainian Eggs at the Mystic Arts Center, CT.


Pysanka (plural: pysanky) is a Ukrainian Easter egg decorated using a wax-resist method. The word comes from the Ukranian verb pysaty, "to write", as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax on raw eggs!
Pysanky were traditionally made during the last week of Lent by the women of the household. Traditionally The dyes were prepared from dried plants, roots, bark or berries. The dyes were prepared in secret, using methods handed down from mother to daughter to attain the necessary brilliance, clarity and lasting color. These da

ys however chemical dyes are used. A stylus, known as a “kistka” is used to write with the beeswax. A Kistka is a piece of thin brass wrapped around a needle, forming a hollow cone. This is attached to a small stick with wire.
The process is similar to Batik. Molten wax is applied to the white egg, any bit of shell covered with wax would be sealed, and remain white. Then the egg is dyed yellow, and more wax applied, and then orange, red, and finally black. (The dye sequence is always light to dark). Bits of shell covered with wax remains that color. After the final color, the wax is removed by heating the egg and gently wiping off the melted wax and this is the toughest part of it all.

If interested in learning more about it I found the two links below very useful:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pysanka
http://www.learnpysanky.com/getting_started.html

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