; Tin Can Canoe: Ukrainian Eggs -- Pysanky

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ukrainian Eggs -- Pysanky

This spring I got together with a group of ladies and made my first Pysanka (Pysanky is plural) egg. It was so much easier than you'd think to get started - all that's required is an egg, a candle, some beeswax, dyes, shellac, and a kistka (stylus) tool. You can opt for a pencil to sketch in your design...but you have to mark really lightly (or your markings might show through the dye). I don't know about you - but I'm one of those folks who constantly break lead in a mechanical pencil and on a good ol' fashioned wood pencil I'm resharpening it with every new paragraph. A less wordy version would be: I press too hard and the egg is uncooked...thus I skipped the pencil bit. Besides, I work better without a plan.

What a totally cool craft this is! I enjoyed it so much that I've ordered the basic supplies from All Things Ukrainian and look forward to doing lots of these. I think most folks do them primarily around Easter... but it's too enjoyable to not do year round. It's shamefully easy although definitely involves a learning curve and requires some practice. My hostess (who was Ukrainian) had some beautifully done eggs, some of them Ostrich, that were museum quality and stunning. It's interesting that although the art is two dimensional, it can exhibit some of the very same details and lovely intricacies accomplished with textiles. I think most quilters would go ape using this medium, a lot of the patterns and designs would cross pollinate beautifully.

My egg: Note this is my first attempt and knowing what I know now - I would have dyed my egg a color before I began. I didn't care for the lack of contrast that white gave against all the vibrant colors in the end. Live and learn...

If you're interested here's a terrific online Beginner Class I discovered that is very helpful and a great outline to get you going if you're a newbie.


chelsie said...

What a beautiful egg! I guarantee that unless I had an authentic Ukrainian teacher, I wouldn't be able to make such a creation! I'm very impressed!

Have you ever heard of or seen Stupid Sock Creatures? My friend and her sister have made THE cutest little creatures - I thought of you when I saw them on her blog. The book is called just that, Stupid Sock Creatures and the website is www.stupidcreatures.com - I know there are some on etsy, but I've seen really simple ones with stripes and polka dots that I thought would be fun to make as baby gifts or gifts for young children.

:) Have a great weekend and I'm working on your "tag!" :)

lingovise says said...

Chels - I love that book! It's totally cool and on my list of "projects"....Thanks!