Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for Ukrainian Easter Eggs (Pysanky)

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter! I thought my daughter would be the only one with a sugar crash at the end of the day, but I found myself in her shoes as well. With only one week left of the A-Z Challenge, I start this Monday off with my "U" post and a bit of a chocolate bunny headache.

About 11 years ago, a Polish family taught my family how to make Pysanky, Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Also known as "pisanki" or Polish Easter Eggs, this meticulous and beautiful art form can be fun and addicting. We didn't get to it this year, otherwise I would have written it as my "P" post, saving myself from choosing to highlight Polish or Ukrainian. (Don't hate me; it's both!) Nonetheless, enjoy the pictures.

Pysanky involves many steps and little tools that hold melting beeswax. First, you poke a hole in the bottom of the egg and drain everything out (and make a delicious cheese omelette while you're at it). Next, take your little tool (as seen in picture to the right) and cover any part of the egg that you want to stay white. Then, you dye your egg the next lightest color (yellow, or light green/pink for example). Then add more to your design by covering sections in beeswax. You continue doing this, one step at a time, going darker in your colors, until you have completed your design. The egg will look messy, black, and unattractive. This is normal.

Then, you *carefully* remove all the wax with a hair blowdryer, wiping away the black wax with a soft towel. I highlight carefully because too much heat can cause the egg to crack. You don't want this after all your hard work! As the wax melts away, all the colors and designs come through, revealing a beautiful egg.

I found these pictures from Google images, but the blue egg above is the exact design I tried one year! Mine looks a little different. Doing something so precise takes a lot of patience and a steady hand, something I'm not really known for. My pride and joy of an egg is one colored dark green with "Lord of the Rings" designs all over. I even remember writing Legolas' name. It's a gorgeous egg. If I get a picture of it, I'll be sure to post it for you all to see.


i.ikeda said...

I'd love to see the one you did, so I hope you share it sometime! One of my students gave me one as a gift (he's Polish) and I would love to learn how to do it. The Polish student association had an event teaching people how to do it this year, and my friend is their advisor, but we couldn't make it... All these opportunities missed and now reading your blog I'm kicking myself! I love these, they look wonderful.

LuAnn said...

We should still try and do it, Maggs! After all, Easter season lasts for 50 days, and every Sunday is a little Easter. I'd love to try it again.

Natalie said...

I've been wanting to do this every year. I always forget to start looking for a kit with the materials until it is too late! I know it wouldn't have happened this year anyway... but I am GOING to do it next year. I just have to! :) I haven't made them since we were little but considering my Ukranian AND Polish heritage (my dad's mom's father was from Poland and her mother from the Ukraine) I really should do it to preserve family traditions - and as a tribute to my great-grandparents. :) My siser Regina makes beautiful ones, too... and I remember your Lord of the Rings egg... that was so pretty!!! Next year we should get together and have the husbands watch the babies/toddlers for awhile or something. :) (Ah, if only I lived closer to you....)

Natalie said...

You know what... we should just try to do it some of these times we are visiting your family. It's probably the only way it's going to happen for me... and it would be a fun family memory anyway!

Lisa said...

Great article, beautiful pysanky thanks for showing the artistic talent.