Tabir Pysanky



In 2009 I taught pysankarstvo at the UCARE/Priyateli Ditey summer camp in Kolochava, Zakarpattya.  The kids were quite enthusiastic, as were the student volunteers and adult staff.  We made lots and lots of pysanky, all on brown eggs, as those are the only sort that chickens lay in that region of the Carpathian mountains. (Photos here.)

Since we were concentrating on learning basic techniques, I decided to make only tricolor pysanky: eggshell beige, red and black.  I brought my own dyes, paper towels and wax from home (we had been unable to make pysanky in 2008 because I could not find beeswax in the summertime in Kolochava or Lviv), and we used Ukrainian made pysachky and candles.  I’d had handouts printed out in Lviv, and brought copies of Vira Manko’s books for everyone to use as resource materials.

SOme of my students copied designs out of the books, but most created their own designs using ancient traditional motifs (berehynia, sun, water and sky motifs) that we’d discussed in class.  They all came out gorgeous (although, unfortunately, some did break).  (Note, the svarha, or swastika, is an ancient solar symbol.  It represents the movement of the sun through the sky.)

The gorgeous red color on these eggs comes from mixing together one packet each of UGS scarlet and red dye.  This produces a deep, rich red that is neither too orange nor too dark.

Brown Egg Pysanky

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