Stephanie Astalos-Jones


Stephanie notes that her great-grandmother was dragged over here from Hungary by her husband, and had no interest in learning English. Her grandfather used to whisper Hungarian phrases for her to say to her grandmother.  The grandparents lived in and around Monroe, Michigan, and Stephanie was born in Michigan, but after much moving around, ended up going to high school in Georgia.  She has remained there, and now lives in rural NE Georgia. 

Stephanie was first introduced to pysanky when she saw the April 1972 issue of National Geographic, with its eight page pictorial “Easter Greetings From the Ukrainians.”  She was totally swept away by their beauty.  Years later,  living in Toccoa, Georgia with her husband and 7 year old son, she found an ad for “Luba's Ukrainian Easter Egg Decorating Kit” from the Ukrainian Gift Shop in MInneapolis, Minnesota.  Stephanie ordered it and began writing pysanky, calling Luba or Elko with questions. She studied the subject,  collecting books, learning not just techniques but also the symbols and their meanings.

That was many years ago.  Her son is now (2011) 23, living in Japan and about to get married.  Over the years Stephanie has been written about in newspapers, and was the subject of a nice article in "Southern Living Magazine" in 2005.  She’s also received a Traditional Folk Art Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts to take on an apprentice.

As to techniques, Stephanie herself says,

“I don't think I do much out of the ordinary.  In the past few years, I've begun etching almost all of my eggs because I love the way that feels in your hand.  It meant leaving polyurethane behind and switching to a spray varnish that would leave the edges nice and sharp (as well as give UV protection).  I also make and sell a lot of jewelry.”

When I asked her if there were anything unique about her eggs, she noted

There ARE two styles of design that I've created on my own.  I love storytelling, so I began creating fairy tale and nursery rhyme eggs, including the "Frog Princess" and  "Hey, Diddle, Diddle" ostrich eggs.  I have done an Arabian folktale and "the owl and the pussycat", too. Also, I created the character "The Happy Skeleton" and he's been a real winner on line, selling all over the country.

The ostrich egg photos were too small to use here, but I have included many of her other pysanky below.  You can see more of her work, here:


Georgia Pysanky

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