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With Easter approaching, I though this would be a good time to show my pysanky. This process is from Ukrainian and was made at Easter. Each of the symbols has a meaning. Unlike normal easter eggs, these are made using a batik like process in which the egg is dipped into successivley darker dye and then the area covered in hot beeswax. The process repeats, the egg is blown, and the wax melted off. These are some of the nicer ones I have made over the last two to three years. Hopefully more photos to come. Happy Easter.
Mods: I'm not sure if this is the best place to put this, so please feel free to move it.
Last edited by Pixie Trick; April 13th, 2009 at 04:39 PM.
I remember catching a program - possibly on the Discovery Channel - on this process. It's mind blowing the time and skill it takes to create such delicate decorations. And on egg shells no less.
They look simply magical, as if something rare and wondrous might hatch out of them at any moment. Thanks for sharing this with us.
... a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up, and was never heard again in that age of this world.
King Unicorn: Thank you for such a touching response. The main ingredient is patience as in all beautiful things.
Here are some more photos. For some of them a mirror was put underneath. Hopefully I will finish one this weekend and will be able to put up a process for those who are interested.
This one has been gently etched using vinegar, and therefore the blue did not hold well. The pink is slightly raised to the touch.
so the tricks are out of the bag, these are wonderful, speechless . now
Insert very insightful quotes here ...
- get back to work!
Here's the pysanky I made over the holidays. I apologize for the fuzzy and rotated pics.
1. Make a design. I generally don't have the patience to figure out where I want each colour, so I think of the patterns and lines and fill the colours in as I go. I have several books at home, and have photocopied some pages from ones at the library as well as printoffs from the internet for some traditional inspiration. The traditional colours are white, yellow, green/blue, orange, red and black. There are many more colour available today however. Each colour has a meaning, and each shape and symbol has a meaning. These used to be given as valentine card equivalents to your sweetheart, charms to be buried in the fields or barn to keep harm away, funerary offerings, and charms to keep harm from small children. Each egg would have symbols to add meaning. Ladders for ascent to heaven, roses for beauty, diamonds for knowledge, bands around the egg for eternity as it had no ending etc.
2. The egg is divided up in pencil, (usually geometrically) and the main parts of the design are penciled in.
3. 4. Hot wax is put everywhere white is wanted.
5. The egg is dipped into yellow dye, and the areas that are to be yellow are covered in wax (dots in the corners of non checkerboard squares).
6. Blue and green are put on using q-tips or paintbrushes because they are not removed well by the following dyes. The areas that are to be blue and green are covered (checkerboard and curlies on either side of the teardrop shapes.).
7. The egg is dipped into orange dye.
8. The areas that are to stay orange are covered in wax. (The flower petals)
9. The egg is dipped into pink and the areas covered. (the teardrop shapes) This step caused some issues. Orange and pink are almost the same strength wise, and much of the orange had to be washed or brushed (toothbrush) off. This made some of the wax loose later on.
10. The egg was dipped into dark green. This is the final colour for this egg. Issues happened with the pink and green and more washing etc. occurred. The outcome was acceptable however, as it basically turned out black. Other possibilities at this point are to bleach it if large areas of white are wanted.
11. The ends of the egg have to be waxed because egg yolk and white acts like vinegar and washes the dyes away.
12. This tool is used to blow the insides of the egg out. The nail on the end is actually hollow like a straw, and the bulb pushes air through it.
13. A hole is put in each end, the bulb in the top one, and the insides are pumped out. I have had may eggs explode, crack and had egg fountain out the top and over the dye at this point.
14. The now hollow egg gets the wax melted off. The egg is held ino the flame, and the wax is wiped off with a cloth or paper towel before it can harden again. If the egg is held over the flame, carbon will deposit over the pattern and is impossible to get rid of.
15. Helf way done!
16. Ta-da! Some of the pattern has been worn off, and I realize now that I used wayyyyyyy too much white as usual, but it's passable. After this you can put a coating of varnish or fixative of your choice to keep further bad things from happening to it.
Thank you for posting your work. As a fellow Ukrainian (I assume you are...correct?), I must say you did an excellent job. I spent many years decorating eggs as part of our tradition, each one telling a different story. I haven't made one in years, but your work has brought back many memories!
My personal favorites were always the ostrich eggs. A person can go batty finishing one of those suckers!
NickTrip: The wax applied with the kiska- the metal headed tools with plastic handles. It is heated up and then you use that to scoop up the beeswax. It melts and gets funelled to the tip and then onto the egg.
Artistic Savant: Haha.. I'm very, very far away from being Ukranian. Let's just say I'm very Canadian in my mixed up genetic makeup. It's funny because since heading off to university I've met two other people who make pysanky- one's Ukranian from two generations back and the other is mostly African American with dashes of Chinese and East Indian genes!
I've wanted to get my hands on a goose of ostrich egg for ages but the closest I've gotten is some blown emu. Those I'd have to etch and I'm not brave enough to try that out yet.