The local library here hosted a Pysanky workshop this weekend. This is a Ukrainian egg decorating technique that uses dye and wax. They tend to use traditional folk designs that are intricate and colorful.
Our instructor has 39 years of experience with this mind boggling art form because her Ukrainian grandmothers taught her beginning at a young age. Her skills and patience are admirable.
We were first given egg shapes on paper to sketch our designs in pencil. Crayons were used to experiment with the palette and inspiration came from books and an assortment of eggs she had on display. Once we had our ideas together, we chose an egg and were armed with a lit candle, block of wax and a little tool used to draw on the egg with the wax.
Given my obsession with sunflowers last summer, it was logical to do something with a sunflower pattern. Not only is the sunflower the national flower of Ukraine, it’s a captivating example of how imperfections can be beautiful. I strolled through three sunflower fields last summer and my favorite flowers were the ones that were flawed.
Here’s my egg.
It is incredibly flawed and the sunflower imperfect but I’m still quite proud of how it turned out. I love the palette I chose and the design too. The execution leaves a lot to be desired as working with wax on a real egg shell is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.
All the same, I managed to get it done and had fun in the process. It now is in a place of honor on my bookshelf, a pretty reminder that enjoying the creative process can be as rewarding as the outcome. Also a reminder that perfection is overrated and that imperfections can be beautiful.
I suspect and hope that this was not my last attempt. I will count on trying it again someday.
Here’s one more view of her gorgeous eggs.
Here’s something about imperfections from last year. I wrote about sunflower fields here, here and here. I would recommend finding one near you this summer! If you get a chance to try a new kind of art, I recommend you do that too!
Thank you for sharing this long standing Ukrainian tradition with your readers. Unfortunately there seems to be little hope for peace this Easter. Your little egg is a nice reminder though! …
Thank you for reading. I really enjoyed this process and learning some about the traditions of this culture. Do you have a connection to Ukraine?
How very odd! I wrote several hours ago and it seems to have disappeared. Not that anything I write is particularly useful anyway. Мої щирі вибачення(My sincerest apologies). Ukrainian culture, traditions and history are truly worth learning about. This is also useful in understanding something of the current conflict. Так, у мене ще є друзі в Україні(Yes, I still have friends in Ukraine). …
WordPress once lost an entire story that I wrote and scheduled so nothing surprises me anymore.
Do you mind if I ask where you are from? I’m always interested in stories- especially from those who speak different languages than my English. I feel so bad for the people of Ukraine. It’s heartbreaking.
And I thought my version of English was at least passable! I’ve lived many places, but ultimately felt that the Pacific Northwest suited me the best. I love the ocean and mountains. My little house makes it almost perfect. I think of Ukraine and try to imagine where my friends are. One went home to Moldova and two are in Poland. The others are still safe in Kyiv or Lviv. I will continue to worry for them. …
I imagine you worry for them every moment of the day. How terrifying for them all. I cannot imagine being surrounded by war but also can’t fathom packing only what I can carry to flee my home.
Your English is impeccable but you had written some things in another language in your last comment so I was curious. The Pacific Northwest sounds amazing but I have never been. I’m glad to know you are happy there!
It is impossible for me to not think about the fear, anguish and uncertainty that so many face. An entire generation will carry the pain and scars of a needless catastrophy. This is so reminiscent of stories I have been told of The Great War and the suffering and destruction that occured then. The future seems so bleak and unknown. Yes, I wrote you in Ukrainian a bit as it seemed to match the topic. The Pacific Northwest would be worth a visit sometime. A Northern California visit would also be easy to include if you’ve never been. At least for now I can call this home! …
I am glad you have found a peaceful, beautiful place to call home and hope that you remain happy there. Perhaps I will get to see it for myself someday.
The imagery coming out of Ukraine also reminds me of the Great War. It is sickening to think of the destruction and suffering happening now at the hands of a madman. So senseless, it is criminal.