Olga Lang shows a bowl of pysanka eggs at the Lodge at Broadmead where she gave a demonstration on creating the traditional Ukrainian art form.

The art of creating Ukrainian Easter eggs

The detailed designs and vibrant colours on a pysanka egg are enough to turn heads

The detailed designs and vibrant colours on a pysanka egg are enough to turn heads, as they’re more than just an Easter decoration – they’re a genuine art form.

Olga Lang, the Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island’s pysanka expert, says the process for the pysanka maker should be a spiritual activity, too.

“It is an exercise on how to cope with recognizing that bad thoughts come into your mind, and staying in a prolonged state of grace,” she says of being able to put your heart and mind into the art.

“Hopefully that state of grace will carry on throughout the year. You have that control over your thoughts; bad thoughts, you recognize them, but they don’t have to change your emotional state.”

pysanka eggs date back to at least 988 AD when Ukraine adopted Christianity and pysanka became entrenched in the religious symbolism of Easter.

Making the decorative eggs is a repetitive process of melting wax onto the surface to preserve the colour underneath and then dyeing the egg.

“It’s a long process, but they’re meant to be given away when they’re done. It’s altruistic, to write loving messages to each other in the form of symbols, colours and lines. I think that’s why the activity perpetuated for thousands of years,” Lang says.

“This is something that’s really a wonderful gift from our ancestors – to give ourselves the freedom of time to actually sit for several hours and create things.”

The Ukrainian Canadian Cultural Society (3277 Douglas St.) hosts an Easter Traditions open house on Sunday (March 24) from noon to 4 p.m.

Participate in a pysanka making class, enjoy Ukrainian food, watch demonstrations on traditional Ukrainian crafts, and visit the gift shop to buy all the supplies you need to do pysanka at home.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

A step-by-step guide to pysanka eggs

 

1. Clean the surface of your egg using vinegar. A dirt and oil-free surface helps retain the dye.

 

2. Heat the copper end of the kistka (stylus) above a candle and scoop a little bit of beeswax into the top of the metal funnel. Reheat the tip of the kistka and, using paper towel, wipe away any excess wax that melted onto the wires holding the funnel to the handle.

 

3. Let the melted wax come out of the fine end of the kistka and draw on the egg’s surface. Use the wax to “seal” the colour in on the egg. Any white spot you cover in wax will remain white on the finished product.

 

4. When you’ve finished your white designs, carefully place the egg in the yellow dye bath. Let it soak and absorb the colour for a few minutes.

 

5. Repeat Step 3. Any melted wax that hardens on the now yellow surface will seal in the yellow and that colour will remain in those spots on the finished product.

 

6. Soak the egg in the red dye-bath, then use the wax to seal in your red designs. Then repeat this step using the black dye. (Since it’s your last colour, you don’t need to seal in your black spots with wax.) Once you’ve gotten the hang of three colours, consider adding orange, green and blue.

 

7. Remove the wax by carefully holding your egg above the candle flame. Wipe the wax away using paper towel. “Keep the clean end downward to avoid getting smoke on the exposed egg. Likewise, when wiping wax away, push the stroke away from the clean part of the egg,” Lang advises.

 

8. Apply a coat of varnish to your egg to seal in your colours and make them more vibrant. “Pysanka is meant to last 70 years or more,” Lang says.

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read