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Monday, April 5, 2010

Pysanky

Pysanky
Easter weekend and my kistka was flying. A kistka is the tool that you use to make pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs). Yes, I know it’s not exactly illustration, but it actually is a form of story telling. Did you know that the work pysanky comes from the latin word pysaty – to write. So these eggs are in fact written eggs. They are eggs with a message. The colors and symbols on the eggs have different meanings to them.
Some basic color meanings are: White – Purity, Yellow – Kindness, Orange – Endurance, Green – Spring, Blue – Truth, Red- Eternity.
Symbols are divided up into animals, plants, geometric patterns and religious symbols. A few of their meanings are: Spider – Patience, Grapes – Fellowship, Horse – Prosperity, Fish net – Bringing men to Christ.
The eggs are made with a wax resist process. The kistka which is a brass funnel on the end of a stick, is heated over a candle flame. When it is hot, you fill it with bees wax. I love the smell of bees wax in the morning. You use the kistka to draw thin lines of bees wax on your egg where ever you want to leave white lines. Then you dip it in a light color of dye. You go from the lightest color to the darkest, adding more wax and then dipping progressively in darker colors. At the end, you melt off the wax, varnish the egg and blow it out.
Be careful, this is an addictive craft. Once you start you will find that you want to try more and more patterns.
The best place to find supplies is http://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/. They have an extensive supply of what you will need and they ship it in a timely fashion with very reasonable prices.
If you have any questions there is a superb website http://www.learnpysanky.com/. It has lots of great information, even places in Utah where you can take classes. You will find me listed as an instructor.
So next Easter try something new. Or better yet, don't wait. I make pysanky all year round.

3 comments:

L.T. Elliot said...

How cool that it means "to write." You've told a story on an egg. And you're right, I bet it would get addicting!

Laurel said...

No lie, I was thinking of you and your Ukranian eggs just the other day. I thought what a great way to make a tradition that lasts. My heritage is Hungarian which is close to the Ukraine and I was even going to write and ask where to get supplies. Thanks! I will ask for a lesson the next time I am in UT. I am also commiting to send you memories this week for your folks. Thanks!

Richard/Kristi said...

I went through Vegreville today and took a picture of that beautiful pysanka. I thought about you.

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