Teaching Pysankarstvo:

Pattern Sheets



For much of my pysanka writing career, pattern sheets were a mainstay for me.  Some of the first classes I took, back in the sixties, were held at St. Mary’s church, and put on by the Ukrainian Graduates. Martha Wichorek was the guiding force behind the organization’s “Pysanka Project,” and created pattern sheets (and a short booklet about pysankarstvo). I don’t recall much about the classes, but I do remember using the pattern sheets they provided, and still have some of them. You can download some of these vintage pattern sheets yourself (here). And you can have a look at their booklet here.

Through the years, I devoured each Ukrainian Gift Shop book as it came out, and tried out the patterns provided in it.  To a beginner, or even a more advanced student, such patterns are useful because they break down a pysanka design into a step-by-step, color-by-color process. In the later books, Natalie Perchyshyn expanded the concept of a pattern sheet, and, by showing how to make pencil division, and what parts of the pattern to sketch in beforehand, as well as discussing dyeing techniques, actually turned these patterns into short lessons in pysankarstvo. I learned a lot about the process of pysankarstvo from these books, as well as my own trial and error and, later, conversations with live and internet pysanka friends.


Pattern sheets are useful in classes, especially those for beginners.  Some students are quite happy, having watched a slide show or movie, to create their own designs.  They are usually the minority.

The rest want some guidance and some help.  That is where design sheets come in handy. They

When I began teaching pysanka classes, I developed my own pattern sheets.  There are two sets.  The first, earlier set, contain six diasporan designs, taken from several sources (including UGS pysanky), but broken down and drawn out by me. The fist sheet has three pysanka [patterns (very simple ones).  The other three sheets have one pattern each.  Shown here are pysanky made by my students using the pattern sheets:


You can find these pattern sheets in the Downloads section, or download them here:

The second set were all traditional designs, at least one from each region shown in Odarka Onyshchuk’s book «Символіка Української Писанки».  I originally created these pattern sheets for HUHTC summer camp in Ukraine in 1999; I later translated them into English, and posted them on my site. There are 19 of them altogether, and you can download them here.  I’ve uploaded the Ukrainian versions of these pattern sheets as well.  Several are included in each of the student booklets I’ve created.

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