Friday, 10 April 2020

Ukrainian Easter Eggs


Don't you just love Ukrainian Easter eggs (pysanky)? So colourful, so detailed, so exquisite, so full of ancient symbols celebrating Spring, fertility, culture and faith (with deep roots in paganism). And all created using melted beeswax and dyes.

My Rare One creates lovely pysanky and I too (as a major Ukrainian wannabe) have been known to turn out a few in years past. We blow out the raw eggs first, using a little hand pump attached to a long needle. Then it's an exercise in skill and patience to write on the eggs with a stylus of melted beeswax, dye them, apply more beeswax, dye them again, etc. As many layers as it takes!

The gorgeous egg is revealed once the ugly, blackened wax is melted off in a low, warm oven, just like Spring arrives following a long, hard Winter! After all that work, however, the egg can still break at this final stage if you forget to unplug the blow-hole's wax plug before putting it in the oven. (Steam will build up inside the egg and crack it.) It's heart-breaking but still, a valuable life lesson. "Never get too attached to an egg."

This Spring, I was really looking forward to attending the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts' Gigantic Pysanka Exhibition here in Edmonton featuring local, professional pysanky artists, but of course it got cancelled due to the pandemic.


However, the gallery operators made and posted a wonderful video of the exhibit instead! Now, I forewarn you -- the video is 25 minutes long but it does showcase all kinds of traditional and modern pysanky styles using all sizes and types of eggs -- chicken, duck, goose, pheasant, quail and ostrich! It's the next best thing to being at the actual exhibit. But feel free to turn off the soundtrack's churchy Ukrainian choral music if it gets on your nerves, like it did with My Rare One. Cultural loyalty only goes so far, you know.

Enjoy!



48 comments:

Mistress Maddie said...

I wish I had a Ukrainian egg for my Easter collection. I've long enjoyed that art. They are so pretty.I would love to make one sometime. And with my blowing skills...i probably wouldn't even need the pump.

Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Quail eggs for $10? Whoa.
They are all beautiful, though. Really.
And this is quite the tradition. I had no idea they existed!

XOXO

anne marie in philly said...

man, what a labor of love, but a gorgeous work of art! I never knew how complicated this art is. thanks for sharing this!

DEZMOND said...

Slavic people have a very rich folk art, what I love the most about it is that it is usually nature related.

Parnassus said...

Hello Debra (and Rare One), I have no manual or artistic skill, so the creation of these eggs seems nothing less than amazing. What a great thing to have as part of one's identity (ancestral or assumed). Part of the charm is the willingness to invest all that work in something so fragile and transient--I find these significantly more admirable than the Fabergé copies in gold and jewels.

Bathwater said...

That sounds like a lot of work. I would loose my place with the wax.

Rosemary said...

Exquisite designs - just beautiful.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I have never seen these before; what a beautiful art form. So, did you and the Rare one create any this year? It seems painstaking, but what a treasure when they are finished.

Barbara said...

Wow. Just amazing. I'm not sure my fine motor skills are steady enough to try doing one.

R's Rue said...

Beautiful.

Bob Johns said...

wow, they are beautiful. I also enjoyed the music they used as well.

Lady M said...

So beautiful! I would like to see an example of your art please.

Cynthia said...

Dare I say "eggs-cellent." No, I don't. Almost disrespectful to deploy such a lame pun after viewing such meticulous, exquisite beauty.

Dr. Theda said...

had to learn how to make these in high school art class... from making our own dyes to putting wax (in fine lines) to draw the design then wax over each new colored area...

Frank said...

They are all quite gorgeous. Have seen these Easter eggs back in Connecticut with it's diverse ethnic population, many people from Ukraine, Poland, and other Slavic countries. I have to admit that just looking at them gives me anxiety...how anyone could have the patience for such detail and symmetry and perfection. I'll bake an Easter bread, thank you.

Bohemian said...

I Love and have Collected these Eggs for Years, but usually buying the Wooden Ones since I always put them out where the Grandkids could reach and otherwise, well, you know... Now they're all Grown it wouldn't matter, but I'm so clutzy that it's still Wiser than Real Eggs, I'd be mortified to break a piece of Art this Divine! I used to enjoy watching them being Created by those Masterful of doing it. One Season they Sold the Kits and I bought one... 30 Years later the as yet unopened Kit was Sold Off at my Antique Mall since... well, if I never got around to it in 30 Years that was Telling.

Leanna said...

The artistry is amazing. So precise. Breathtaking. The exquisite lines and use of color can only be held up against a jeweled Faberge egg and become as prized.

bobbie said...

Gorgeous!! TFS ~

The Happy Whisk said...

Hey Debra! I love the Ukraine eggs. We grew up with them from my mom's mom. Very pretty. They sat at the end of the hall as a showcase. So cool.

Jill said...

So beautiful! I appreciate all the time they put into these! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

blessings,
Jill

Moving with Mitchell said...

I love these eggs and wish I had the skill and patience to create them. I learned to blow out the innards of an egg when i was in high school. I became really good at it, but I can't for the life of me remember what I did with them after that!

HBF said...

WOW! Thanks for the introduction!

Mike said...

Love the colors and intricate designs.

Joanne Noragon said...

It's like magic! I was acquainted with a couple of pysanka artists. in the day. I don't remember seeing white on white, ever.

Guillaume said...

Cool eggs.

Tundra Bunny said...

As good as the video is, these eggs must be breathtakingly beautiful in person and well worth the price of admission! The large white-on-white designs are particularly exquisite -- they look like fine porcelain...

Happy Easter, Deb!

peppylady (Dora) said...

I admire the eggs such detail work. One my friends hubby use to do detail work on eggs at Easter.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

One of our people's coolest traditions. It's such a fine art form. Like glass and just as delicate. I love them.

Infidel753 said...

Magnificent, intricate work on these. Some of them remind me a little of the embroidery on traditional Ukrainian dresses.

Sooo-this-is-me said...

These are beautiful. When we were kids, we used to copy the idea by using fine tip markers and colouring the eggs in a similar style.

Willym said...

Beautiful. I remember the first one I bought from a Ukrainian deli in Toronto - it beat the hell out of the vegetable dye ones we always made at home. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to share this on my blog and once you've said it's okay FaceBook. I think we need a bit of beauty and tradition right now.

This N That said...

They are gorgeous..I always wondered how they were done..Now I know..When I was watching the video, I had the sudden urge to smack those eggs..I guess I've been cooped up too long...Thanks.. Have a Happy Easter..stay safe...

Ur-spo said...

They are marvelous
It is ages since I dyed eggs. It used to be a big holiday treat for me. I miss it.

LL Cool Joe said...

Wow they are beautiful, and I can only imagine the hours of work that go into creating them.

Polly said...

Beautiful works of art. I enjoyed the video, I like choral music.

Miss Val's Creations said...

This is such an amazing art! It must take a lot of patience to create these beauties. The video is great although I am sure it would be more gratifying to see the exhibit in person.

Adam said...

So beautiful you could Crimea.

Martha said...

Ukrainian Easter eggs are absolutely stunning!

The Captain said...

I love these. I'd rather have one of these than a chocolate egg!

Linus Bern said...

Reminds me of growing up in Edmonton and making eggs with my Ukrainian neighbours.

DVArtist said...

These are just so beautiful.

Eric said...

When I had to empty eggs for decorating, I used a high speed Dremel Moto-Tool to drill the holes. The high speed of the drill minimized the possibility of cracking the eggs, and there were no eggshell chips in the egg innards to hinder making an omlette or soufflé.

e said...

I'm going to send the video to my sister-in-law. She has made these beauties before and gifted some to various family members. I usually get mine out with the X-mas stuff since I don't decorate for Easter. These are incredible!

pam nash said...

Those eggs are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Fundy Blue said...

I'll have to come back to finish the video later, Debra. The eggs are exquisite. I can't imagine doing something like this! I remember blowing eggs out with my mouth when I was a kid, which required two holes. Then we dyed them and added some painted designs. My mother was a saint!

Magic Love Crow said...

Deb, mom and I thank you for this! Very special! Big Hugs!

Insomniac's Attic said...

I love them! I have a few that were done by my aunt, and a bunch of beaded ones that I picked up in Romania and the Czech Republic. Also a few crystal ones. Eggs are really my thing, for whatever reason. Thanks for the video share! 🖤

Insomniac's Attic said...

P.S. I actually love the music. 🖤