Teaching Pysankarstvo:

Wax Removal


There was a time when I was using organic solvents to remove beeswax; but it turned out that Carbosol was dangerous to the environment, and it was banned.  Since other solvents don’t work nearly as well, I’ve returned to one of the traditional ways of removing wax–with a candle–for both my own work, and for classes.

The Slavko Nowytsky movie shows how to remove wax with a candle; I point this out while showing the movie.  I point out the importance of

  1. opening the wax plug on emptied eggs (otherwise the egg might explode when heated)

  2. point out what paper to use to clean the egg; it is usually the paper towel at their work station, but sometimes we have dedicated stacks of other paper towel for this purpose (cheap, thin ones)

  3. fire safety (tie back hair, remove excess paper products from the tables)

  4. tell them that an emptied egg can get QUITE HOT, so to be careful not to overheat it and drop it

  5. remind them to heat the egg NEXT TO the flame, not above it, to avoid scorching and soot deposition

Additionally, once students get to the point of needing to remove the wax I will demonstrate the technique at each table once a finished pysanka becomes available.  I reiterate the points above, remove some of the wax, and then allow the student to finish de-waxing it.

  Dyeing        Finishing

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