Thursday, February 26, 2015

How do you DO that? A Pysanky pictorial

Explaining the whole "wax and dye resistance" process regarding pysanky can be a tricky thing. "It's like batik on an egg" can only go so far.

For years now, I've brought a set of eggs to shows and sales to help depict the process -- the blank, white egg, with a few simple lines on it, and even pencil markings to show guidelines (though most of my work is done freehand, except for occasional guidelines to divide the egg into sections). The next eggs are the same pattern, after repeated dye emersion and wax application, until there's an egg that looks all black-- that's the last stage, where the final dye is in place, and the darkened beeswax is still on the egg. The next egg is with the same design, but with the wax removed.  (That process of melting off the wax is what many of us who write pysanky refer to as the magic of the egg, the big reveal to see how it all turns out.)

The thingies in the center of the tray are a couple of the kistky I use. Some folks use electric ones, but I've stuck with a more traditional type of kistka. I use beeswax candles to heat them, and then dip my kistka into a small cake of beeswax. The air is redolent with that wonderful smell. There's something about that, and the gliding of the kistka across an egg shell, that is truly meditative for me.

And that's how I spend many of my days, breathing in the perfume of honey and beeswax, waiting for the eggs to reveal their magic: the art of pysanky.


  1. :) Good idea! Me, I just keep repeating, "It's not paint, it's not paint, it's not paint." :)

  2. Jim Hollock mentioned someone else who uses one of those moving/ photo looped picture frames to show the same egg demonstration, Took up little space, and there were no eggs for people to break !
    I may try it.