Apr 13, 2011 Tami Zimmerman Uncategorized
Have you ever wondered how difficult it is to make those beautifully decorative Ukrainian Easter eggs?
Now’s your chance to find out.
The Friends of the DeWitt Community Library is holding its annual tea from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday April 16 and is simultaneously hosting a featured talk about the fine art of Ukrainian Easter eggs, or pysanka. Guest speaker Linda Evans, a retired elementary art teacher from Sherrill, will discuss the custom that’s been preserved and passed down – mother to daughter – through generations. Each region, village and families in Ukraine have their own special method for dyeing eggs as well as their own symbols and meanings.
The Eagle Bulletin caught up with Evans to discuss her love for the ancient art, and how hard the Pysanka-making process actually is …
How long have you been making Ukrainian Easter eggs?
I have been creating eggs for 15 years, after [taking] a class at the Kirkland Art Center in Clinton. I then created an art club project for sixth-graders and then classes for the public which have been held in many venues around Central New York.
What do you like most about creating these decorative eggs?
The best part is seeing the colors and design revealed when the wax is removed from the egg.
In general terms, what is the process? Is it as hard as it looks?
Raw perfect eggs are used in the process. It is a wax and dye method very much like batik using a tool called a kitska, and bees wax. The dyes are analin dyes and the egg cannot be eaten after it is blown out. The process is not hard, just requires a bit of patience. Each color is held by adding more wax designs and the final color will cover all the egg that does not have a wax application. The egg is then held by the side of a candle flame and the wax is melted and wiped off, the egg is cleaned and then covered with a protective coating. The egg is blown out through a small hole in the end.
Do you teach this type of class on a regular basis or only in the spring before Easter?
I only create the eggs in late winter, just before Easter. That is when they were traditionally created in Ukraine. I am Yugoslavian and I thought that was close enough! I had always wanted to learn how to do pysanka, and was hooked after my first class. I have enjoyed instructing many people through the years.
How many eggs have you actually created?
My collection includes about 140 eggs to date!
Evans’ presentation at the DCL will include dozens of decorated Pysanka eggs and the tools, dyes and patterns to create them. Attendees of the talk will not be able to make their own eggs, but will be able to witness the stages of creation. Q&A is encouraged. Two decorated eggs will be raffled off as a door prize sponsored by the DCL Friends.