Chemical Dyes


This section explores the chemical (industrially produced) dyes used in the making of pysanky.   It is a work in progress, as I am always learning more about these chemical compounds.

Aniline dyes were created in the 1800s, and revolutionized the textile industry. (You can read about the history and chemistry of these dyes here.) They took longer to filter down to the pysanka community.  I’m not sure when pysankarky began to use these dyes, but they first became commercially available through Surma, a Ukrainian shop in New York city, in the early 1950s.  It is likely, though, that individual pysankary were using fabric dyes long before this.

North American pysanka makers were quite creative; besides using the traditional botanical dyes from their homeland, they began to experiment with other types of dyes.  Some soaked crepe paper to extract its dye.  Others diluted various inks, including India ink, to use as dyes.  Some used Rit fabric dyes (which are a mix of acid and other types of dyes) with varying success, I assume, as that is not a techniques being used today.

Modern acid (aniline) dyes have revolutionized pysankarstvo, allowing a huge spectrum of colors not available to the pysankarka in earlier times, and decreasing the time spent on preparing and using the dyes. The availability of these dyes has had other effects as well, including a movement away from traditional patterns and color combinations among many artists, and a loss of colorfastness of the pysanka.

The organization of this section is thus:

                Crepe Paper Dyes

                Aniline (Acid) Dyes


                        History and Chemistry

                        Commercially Available Pysanka Dyes

                                Surma Dyes

                                UGS Dyes

                                EggCessories Dyes

                                Pysanky Showcase Dyes

                                Wax Art Supply Dyes

                                Ukrainian Pysanka Dyes

                        Fabric (Acid) Dyes

                                Jacquard Acid Dyes

                                Dharma Acid Dyes

                                Cushing Dyes

                                Ukrainian Wool Dyes

Back to Main Dyes page

Back to Main Supplies page

Back to Main Pysankarstvo page

Back to MAIN Pysanka home page.

Back to Pysanka Index.

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