Studio Musings

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Really Bad Egg

No, the Easter Egg hunt hasn't happened quite yet. On Friday I took a mini-workshop on Ukrainian eggs, or Pysanky. The traditional designs are absolutely gorgeous. It's a form of batik where you're using an odd little tool called a kistka to draw on the eggs with melted beeswax.

You start with a white egg, and draw any lines that you might want to remain white, then place the egg in the lightest color dye bath (usually yellow). You then dry the egg back off, draw any lines or shapes you want to stay yellow & place the egg in the next dye bath and so on and so forth until you've drawn all the lines and added all the colors you wanted.

On traditional eggs, the lines are fine and straight and clean. My lines were ragged and very ethnic, like mud cloth ethnic. I made two. When you're done with all the wax and dyeing, your egg looks really ugly - covered in lumpy grey wax. You then use another candle to help melt the wax and rub it off, then finish up with a little mineral spirits.

We worked with real eggs, and the instructor offered to varnish the eggs, and blow them using nifty little gizmo so we wouldn't have to worry about rotten eggs later. Unfortunately, my egg cracked in this process - that's the scuff mark towards the bottom. I don't know how, but she managed to put it back together. So there's my one experience with pysanky! I'm horrid at it, but it was a lot of fun!

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