April 16, 2014

Attending a Pysanky Workshop


After writing my previous post on the Ukrainian art of Pysanky Easter eggs,
(see that post HERE), I knew I'd just love to try my hand at it!
As luck would have it, I heard about a workshop offered by our township's
Parks & Recreation department and signed right up!

Above are samples that Jenn, our instructor, 
brought to show each step of the process.
We were each given a kit, containing instructions, dyes,
a square of beeswax and the stylus tool, called a "kistka."


We were asked to bring our own candle in a holder.
Jenn gave us each an egg, which she had "blown out" ahead of time.
Also due to time limitations, she had pre-measured and marked our eggs
with simple geometric designs to be used as guidelines as we were learning.

Paper plates became collectors of excess wax drippings,
and, with wires fitted through them, stands for the eggs at the final stage.

Although this post is not meant to serve as instructions on how to make Pysanky,
I hope that you'll enjoy seeing the process and maybe be inspired to try it yourself!


The metal funnel end of the kistka is heated in the candle flame.
You can then shave off a bit of the beeswax to fill the funnel.
The melted wax flows through and allows you to sketch the wax onto the egg.


As I began, I noticed that the beeswax turned black from the soot of the candle.
No worries; this will later be removed, 
and in the meantime, is easier to see on the shell. 

I found it wasn't easy to keep a steady hand
and quickly saw wax blobs foil my plan for thin straight lines!


 Keep in mind that Pysanky is a wax-resist technique.
You may be familiar with this as "batik."
Where ever you place wax, the color under that wax is what remains.


On to the first round of dye.
Notice the white plug that is used to fill the blowing hole
to prevent the dye from leaking inside the shell.


Next came green...


 ...and then orange, as I gradually added wax to build the design.


 Hmmm. It's starting to look quite ugly!


And uglier still.
I was hoping for a swan underneath this duckling.


A crafter's heat gun tool was used to melt away the wax
and reveal the beauty underneath.


 Holding my breath as I waited for Jenn to unveil my egg.
I was quite happy with the results!


Next came the final step of spraying a coat of shellac
to give it that high gloss finish that looks fabulous!

And there you have it - my first attempt at Pysanky!


Here are the lovely results from some of the ladies around the table~





What a fantastic experience!
I got to hang out with friends and meet a few new ones.
Each of us had a unique type of creativity.
We cheered each other along and were excited to see one another's final results!

Jenn, thanks for showing us the ropes, for your patience and encouragement!
And thank yous to Lynne, Jean, Debbie, Steph, Darlene & Rachel for the photos!

I realized that in contrast to the exquisite works of art featured in my other post, 
how awfully brave I must be to share my beginner's attempt with my blog friends. ;)
And as if I didn't have total respect for Pysanky artists before, I sure do now!

A shout-out to Northampton Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania,
and its Parks & Recreation department!


  1. great job on your eggs. I love the color combinations you used! :)

    1. Why, thank you, bluerose sanjuan! It was so fun!


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