Pysanky in Vellore, Part 2

March 11, 2006

From my India Diary:

Today, Saturday, I taught my second pysanka class in Vellore this year. I almost missed the session––for some reason I had convinced myself that it was at 5 PM, and I just happened to be at LCECU working on my Ultrasound presentation when I discovered my mistake.

Sashi had gotten us the requisite supplies––lots of eggs (because there are so many broken and cracked ones in each ten), more candles, and several rolls of toilet paper. Paper towels are expensive and uncommon here in India, so we use the TP to pat the eggs dry after dyeing them, and to wipe of the wax when cleaning them. Considering the texture of Indian TP, this is probably the best use for it.

I had a smaller group this time, all women (including a few junior women). Today we had invited any interested CMC staff, and Sara had invited a woman and her daughters that she knew from the community.

I had begun making a couple of pysanky just before they arrived, so I was able to show them eggs in various stages of preparation. They watched as I wrote on the eggs, as I dyed them,and then as I melted off the wax.

And then they got to work.

This group was a bit more tentative than the last, but equally enthusiastic. They were more adventurous with the colors, insisting on using all of them. And they really enjoyed the process, most making two pysanky, and one particularly enterprising young girl making four.

(My friend Jiji at work on her first pysanka)

Unfortunately, because we had several younger participants, we had several broken eggs. I was able to empty one of them largely intact,

but the others lost big sections.

(I emptied the eggs because, once cracked, they will leak. And leaking eggs, smell, well, absolutely hideously horrible.)

This group is really interested in getting equipment made, finding supplies (dyes and beeswax), both to make the pysanky themselves, and to teach the skill to others. I hope their enthusiasm lasts.

Below are their surviving pysanky.


India 2006

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