Monday, April 02, 2007

Pysanky Eggs ...

Thanks to a noodge from the 4real forum, I decided to finally try something that I've been meaning to try for YEARS: pysanky (or Ukrainian) Easter eggs! After reading through all the posts, I decided to give JennGM's suggestions a try and so I ordered A Kid's Decorating Kit (which includes A Kid's Guide to Decorating Ukrainian Easter Eggs), the Easter Egg Coloring Book, and This Was the Day: A Ukrainian Easter Story.

Armed with these resources, I quickly snaggled MaryM into coming over with her kids and "doing" pysanky ... like it's really all that easy! Before viewing the picture-log below, please understand that although I followed ALL the directions I had one egg break (it fell when I was transferring eggs from one dye bath to the "drying rack") and one EXPLODE while I was wiping the melted wax off at the end of the process. So, I don't have eggs to show, but my cohorts do!Drawing with the kistky -- turns out the M's had a thick-line kistky, while we had a medium line (and also, our kistky didn't seem to have the right angle). Regardless, it is meticulous work to draw a nice line of melting beeswax, using a candle to keep the wax liquid.It helps to draw with a pencil first and figure out what color you want things. You'll be doing this egg in multiple dye baths -- lightest to darkest -- and so you want to know before-hand what you want white, yellow, orange, pink or red (those are the dyes we used today).Once the egg has been in all the dye baths desired, than you can dry it and melt the wax off the egg. This is a slow, meditative process that reaps lovely results. Once the egg is cleaned of all wax, you have to drain the egg from the shell -- a rather unattractive (but fascinating) science experiment on air press and shell hardiness. (One egg had developed a hairline fracture at some point in the process which "reared it's ugly head" when we were de-egging! No worries - the egg scar can be hidden (it happened in the back of the egg!).
Here's a close-up of a finished egg.


Here are the four survivors ... pretty good for the first attempt huh?

Don't worry -- I haven't sworn off pysanky after my two calamities -- as a matter of fact we'll do some more later this week so the boys who were off playing Xbox can try their hand at this ancient craft.

9 comments:

Alice said...

Beautiful!

Marie and I attended a Pysanki demonstration this week. It was so interesting.

I love your finished products.

MaryM said...

Thanks again for a great afternoon.

Theresa said...

Those look great! You must have the patience of a saint!LOL!

Mary G said...

Theresa,

I DON'T have the patience of a saint, which is probably why both of my cracked!!!!!

JennGM said...

They are beautiful, which I knew they would be!

Were these store bought eggs? I find the shells weaker. Your eggs might have been already weak in spot and it just took a little nudge. It happens...I'm just sorry it happened to you. It happened on my first egg...if you look closely on my blue one you can see a little crack.

Mary G said...

Jenn -- the one that has a cross and 2007 around the arms of the cross has a crack in the back, so MaryM thinks they'll be able to fix it....

Yep, we used store-bought, and tried to get the smallest we could so that the shells would be a little thicker ... but you're right farm eggs would have been better but my BIL the farmer (who has TONS of free range eggs) lives in NC!

JennGM said...

One more question...I'm curious what kind of dyes and how many colors you used? These are really brilliant colors!

Mary G said...

Jenn,

I got the "kid's" kit from the Ukranian Gift Shop so we used those dyes -- we only opened 4 of the 7: yellow, pink (more a fuschia or purple), orange and red. The kit also included light blue, light green and black ...

They have all kinds of notices that these are non-toxic (if "used as directed") and water soluble, so clean up was easy.

meredith said...

Oh I wish "Violet" and I and the boys could have been there with you Marys!! They turned out beautifully, what a treasure for you all!