My pysanka writing season in 2011 was quite short, due to my travels in India during the month of March. Rather than a leisurely two plus months to work on my eggs this year, I had only a few weeks.  I got a good bit done for such a short period of time.  Bad weather outside meant more incentive to write, and less to go outdoors and work on the yard, though. 

Most of the designs I selected this year were traditional ones, taken mostly from Elyjiw’s book.  Two factors guided me in selecting designs: 1) proximity and 2) dark red.  As in previous years, while I am working on one pysanka from any given page of a book, I find myself attracted to other pysanky on the same page.  So it was again this year.

The other factor was the rediscovery of my dark red dye (UGS).  I’ve had a jar of it sitting around for years, but rarely used it.  Few designs called for it and, on the few occasions I’d experimented with it, I had apparently been unimpressed with the results.  This year I finally realized that it was a deep brownish red, sort of a mahogany tone, and that it made a wonderful final color for many pysanky.  I also realized that many of the traditional pysanky I had assumed were brown were actually dark red.  And so I made a bunch, as you can see in the group photo above and the examples below.

On a dye-related not, I added some of Brownie’s dyes into my armamentarium this year.  A friend had given me some samples, and I mixed up the yellow, only to discover that it was quite orange in tone.  I used it on several of the eggs below.  Brownie made and sold dyes many years ago, and my friend acquired a large part of his inventory after Brownie’s death.

I did try to copy a pysanka from the Iryna Vakh book, the blue sunflower egg below, but had nothing but problems.  It was an odd color scheme (orange, then yellow), and I had problems with some of the fine wax lines and dots lifting off. I finished them, but with not very good results. I ended up adapting the design, with several modifications, to goose eggs, and those came out superb.  I suspect it was the very cold April weather, which resulted in a very cold basement for me this year.

Another technical difficulty I experienced this year was tiny bubbles which would form over the netting of some of the more intricate pysanky and not allow the dye to penetrate.  With the help of friends on my Yahoo group, we figured out that this was due to surface tension of the water (dye) and found that a quick dip in rubbing alcohol prior to dyeing got rid of the problem.  It’s great to have knowledgeable friends in the pysanka world.

As usual, I made special pysanky for my nieces and nephews (14 of them this year).  For the boys, I made a simple UGS design (from a loose pattern sheet that was enclosed in one of their kits) of a blue flower on a black background.  For the girls I made a traditional Sokal floral design, with red and orange flowers along with oak leaves and acorns. 

I try to make new designs every year, but there were two repeats this year.  The first was the goose egg in the center; it is a copy of one I made for my mother last year.  This one was a hostess gift for my cousin Val and Aunt Dusia, who hosted our Petrusha Easter get-together. This goose egg pysanka is made using bands from two different traditional pysanky, Hutsul ones, from Vira Manko’s book (Plate 13, Numbers 9 and 10).

The second is op art looking star-rosette; I had written this traditional pysanka in 2009, but ended up giving every single one away.  I wanted at least one for my collection, and I made a few others, since it wasn’t that much more work after all.

  2010 Collection        2012 Collection
  2010 Collection        2012 Collection

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