Pysanky

I got a call from my mom last week asking if I was going to make any pysanky for Easter this year.  When I told her that I hadn’t planned on it, Mom told me that Baba asked if we could bring some pysanky for her Easter basket.  So this weekend I began making pysanky.

I set up my small tripod and took photos as I worked.  During the process, I pondered how useful a foot trigger for my camera would be.  Then I realized I’d probably never have need for one again.

To write the design on the pysanka, I’m using a tool called a kistka.  A kistka is basically a small metal funnel on the end of a heat-resistant plastic handle.  I use a candle to heat the funnel which holds melted wax.  The wax flows onto the egg through the small point in the funnel.

Pysanky are made using a wax resist dying technique.  Wax is applied to the egg to protect from further applications of dye.  At this stage, the wax I am applying will keep the covered parts of the egg white.

The egg progresses through the dyes from lightest colour (yellow in this case) to darkest (black here).

Now the lines that I am applying in wax will remain yellow in the final design.

After the red dye.  You can see the white and yellow showing through the lines of wax.

Heating the kistka.  You can see my chunk of beeswax in the background.  Such a pleasant smell!  After I’ve applied all the wax, I dye the egg black.  The black (or any dark colour) serves as a background to all the other brilliant colours used in the design.

The wax must then be melted off to reveal the design below.

And the finished pysanka.  This is a star design which is quite popular in many different shapes and sizes in various pysanky designs.  It’s a relatively simple and straightforward to complete, which is why I usually choose this design for the first pysanka of the year (which this one is).

I’ll be making pysanky all week in preparation for Easter at Baba’s this weekend.  I’d better get cracking.

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