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Pysanky (Ukrainian Easter Eggs)

Hello! I make pysanky, which are also known as Ukrainian Easter eggs. I make them through a wax-resist method (more on that in a moment). First, I empty an egg by creating a hole in the top and bottom and blowing the contents out into a bowl, which I can then scramble and cook. Then, I rinse out the inside of the empty eggshell with water and let it dry. Once the eggshell is prepped, it’s time for the art!
I use a special tool called a kitska that holds beeswax. I hold this over a candle flame which heats the wax so that I can write on the eggshell with melted wax. The parts that I cover with wax will remain white when I dip the pysanka in dye (wax-resist). If I am doing multiple colors, I will dip the pysanka into the lightest color dye, typically yellow. Then, I repeat the process by putting wax on the areas that I want to remain yellow, dip it into the next color, and so on until I reach the darkest color. The colors will be preserved under the wax. At the end, I melt off all the beeswax, revealing the beautiful designs and colors underneath!
If you would like to see more designs and works in progress, check out my Instagram!

Sunflower pysanka - photo 1

Sunflower pysanka - photo 2

This turned out beautifully! The final result was unexpected, but I’m happier with this than what I had pictured in my head initially. The yellow color came from dye I made with onion skins, and the purple color came from painting black food coloring onto the eggshell. My goal was to cover a brown spot that I had accidentally burned onto the shell when I was trying to melt off a stray wax line at the beginning of the design. I had to get clever and figure out how to cover it up, so I disguised it into the center of a flower. From there, my goal was to have sunflowers with brown/black centers and the rest of the pysanka would be black, but the brown food coloring didn't want to color, and the black food coloring turned purple on the eggshell instead. It’s funny how accidents and mistakes can turn a design into something more beautiful than you could have imagined!

Onion skin dye pysanka - photo 1

I was experimenting with more natural dyes. If I didn’t know any better, I might think this was tea! It turns out that boiling onion skins makes a fantastic yellow dye!

Hydrangea pysanka - photo 1

Hydrangea pysanka - photo 2

This was my first attempt at natural dye - I used hibiscus flower and water. It looks pink-purple, but it turned more blue on the eggshell. Isn’t that neat? I am so excited with how this turned out! The design is hydrangea flowers.

Waves pysanka - photo 1

Waves pysanka - photo 2

The sides consist of a wave design, and the front and back are an abstract 8-pointed flower. I like the alternating pattern of lines within the pieces of the flower. This reddish-brown color also helps with the contrast, especially for the waves. They really pop! Whether the waves are white or brown depends on how you look at the pysanka.

Lines pysanka - photo 1

I experimented with multiple colors on this pysanka. This also gave me the opportunity to practice making straight lines, which is honestly quite difficult on a curved surface.

Triangles pysanka - photo 1

I love how the colors came out! I dipped the pysanka in purple food coloring dye at the end, and I guess it wasn’t strong enough to overcome the yellow dye I had previously dipped it in, so it turned olive green instead. Some spots on the eggshell look more blue and some look more red, so it didn’t dye quite evenly (maybe there was something wrong with my blue and red food coloring, so it didn’t mix right). Still pretty! The contrast is very nice.

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