Do you like to decorate Easter eggs? I do. My family always decorated eggs and hung them on a branch to make an egg tree. When I was a children’s librarian in New Jersey I started decorating pysanky, Ukrainian Easter eggs. A colleague of mine who was Ukrainian told me where to purchase tools in New York City and showed me how to make a star rosette design. I was hooked! Every night I stayed up late creating egg after egg. The next year I shared my new hobby with children at the library, and I’ve been teaching ever since.
The eggs are called pysanky from the Ukrainian pysaty “to write”. The artist essentially writes her design on the eggshell with melted beeswax, building the design by alternately drawing with wax and dipping the egg into color after color. The final step is to melt the wax off the egg, revealing the jewel-like patterns.
You, too, can learn this fabulous craft. I am teaching three workshops at the library in March. Registration begins on February 16. These programs are open to adults, teens and kids in grades 3-5 with an adult. The library supplies everything but the eggs. We ask everyone who registers to bring at least 3 raw, unblemished eggs at room temperature. If you sign up, wear old clothes! Remember that we are working with raw eggs and permanent dyes. You can call the library or stop in to register. For the workshop in Bolingbrook you can also use your Fountaindale library card to sign up online.
There are many websites that feature Ukrainian eggs. Here are a few of my favorites:
www.ukrainiangiftshop.com – Instructions and supplies. My favorite source for materials.
www.learnpysanky.com – Excellent ideas and directions from Ann Morash, a wonderful artist
www.infoukes.com/culture/eggs/links – Links to a variety of sites
www.pysankyshowcase.com – Instructions, photos of many eggs by Patty Wiszuk-de Angelo
www.allthingsukrainian.com – Store with photos of many eggs. An inspiration!
The library has books and DVDs about Ukrainian eggs that you can check out.
745.594 UKR Ukrainian Easter Eggs and How We Make Them
745.5944 BUT Great Book of Egg Decorating
745.5944 POL Decorating Eggs: Exquisite Designs with Wax and Dye
J 745.5944 PER A Kid’s Guide to Decorating Ukrainian Easter Eggs
DVD 745.594 PYS Pysanka: The Ukrainian Easter Egg
DVD 745.5944 HOW How to Decorate Beautiful Ukrainian Easter Eggs
There are wonderful stories that feature the eggs, too.
E KRO Easter Eggs for Anya
J 398.209477 KIM The Birds’ Gift
E POL Rechenka’s Eggs
E POL Chicken Sunday
The book that inspired my family is
The Egg Tree (E MIL) by Katherine Milhous.