A photo of brown stardust

Brown Stars

It is not easy to find good quality eggs for making pysanky.  Most store-bought eggs have been mechanically cleaned, often leaving marks (bands that resist dyeing) on them from the rollers, or are “organic,” and very pricey (especially for someone who just wants the shells).  The organic eggs available locally all seem to be stamped with logos in indelible purple ink.

As I don’t think my local government would look kindly on my raising chickens in my back yard, I’ve been buying eggs for several years now at an Amish poultry shop, and have gotten very good results with their eggs.  Unfortunately, this year they stopped carrying large eggs, and only have extra-large (white eggs) or jumbo (brown eggs).  Since very large eggs have weaker shells that are more prone to breakage and leaking, I’ve had to special order the large sizes.  Unfortunately, the minimum order is a case of eggs – thirty dozen!

With white eggs this has not been such a difficulty – I discard at least half (giving them to friends, family and a soup kitchen) if they are too bumpy, misshapen or cracked, and use them in classes as well.  Brown eggs, on the other hand, are rarely discarded – they seem to be of much higher shell quality, but there is much less need for them in pysankarstvo. 

I have dealt with this huge bounty of brown eggs by creating my own designs – “doodling” on them.  In 2007 I decided to try my hand at making some eight-pointed star designs.  Below are some of the eggs I made; all but one are red and black.  (Also included on this page is an adaptation of a pair of fairly traditional divided star design.) They turned out quite nice, so I made even more of them in 2008, adding decorative bands to the sides.



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