Pysanky:Ukrainian Egg Painting
Pysanky (Ukrainian-style wax resist eggs) are a traditional folk art once practiced by families to celebrate the return of spring. The designs found on the eggs are thousands of years old and can be found in artisanal work throughout Eastern and northeastern Europe. Students will learn about the history of wax-resist eggs, the traditional meanings of the designs, and some of the associated folklore. Students will practice the basic techniques for creating the eggs, how to use the kystka (tiny metal funnel on a stick) to draw the designs in melted wax, the techniques for dyeing the eggs, and how to finish the project. The dye sequence moves from lightest to darkest, and the complete design is not revealed until the wax is removed at the end.
Participants will then use this information to create eggs of their own to take home. While most often identified with Ukraine, resist-dyed eggs are traditional throughout Eastern Europe and into Estonia and northern Russia. The traditional designs we’ll be using will link to patterns used in traditional Northern crafts such as Scandinavian knitting and Viking carvings. We’ll also link in the traditional stories relating the eggs to spring rituals that reach back to pre-Christian times.
Folk art is at the very heart of culture: personal expressions of colors, motifs, seasons, and rituals that have been created and passed on over centuries are core to the identity of a people. Witnessing and learning these traditions is a vital way to express solidarity with cultures under threat.
This course is open to students ages 13-15 accompanied by an adult; ages 16+ on their own.
- All required tools will be provided by the instructor for use during class. Tool kits will be available for purchase at cost for those that wish to continue.