Thursday, 21 March 2013

Pysanky Making

Although I would love to get out to the garden and start clearing the way for spring growth, the weather has been pretty horrible recently, so at weekends I have spent some happy times playing around with eggs. Pysanky Eggs are a Ukranian folk tradition. Eggs are decorated using a batik style, with wax and layers of dyes. A finished egg can be kept for many years.

The hardest part is controlling the flow of wax. Traditionally the tool used is a kistka, and these are readily available on the internet. However, what I have to hand is a batik pen, given to me a long time ago. It is similar - a wooden handle with a metal nib and reservoir. Some beeswax pellets are put into the pen, which is held over a candle flame until melted. Then you draw the pen over the egg, in whatever design you like.

 I found this helpful book at a jumble sale just before Christmas. It has lots of helpful tips and wonderful drawings of traditional motifs, as well as descriptions of Ukranian Eater customs. I also found this site very helpful - a great introduction to Pysanky. There are some some good colouring pages too.

It is lovely seeing the pattern and layers of colour build up. The instructions help you to build up to complex geometric patterns but there are also many traditional folkloric motifs which draw from nature, and are more freeflowing.

Finally you melt off all the wax and get the big reveal! This is the exciting part! And addictive too...

A friend recently challenged me about the pagan origins of egg painting, but as I thought about it, not only are these eggs lovely objects in their own right, they are, in the words of Jerome Berryman 'real Easter eggs...the eggs were trying to say with colours and words what had happened that day'. If Christ is in the business of making all things new, then I think that can apply to our art and celebrations as Christians too.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, they're gorgeous! We've been so busy with Pysanky that I haven't written many blog posts lately.: )