Easter is coming to Ukraine and it's time to make the decorated eggs called "pysanky"
One of the first things that probably come to mind when you ask Ukrainians about their Easter traditions is pysanky – famous eggs created by the written-wax batik method and utilizing traditional folk motifs and designs mostly associated with the symbolical resurrection of Christ from the dead.
Zoya Stachuk is a pysanky master. She traveled around Europe and even in Japan where she taught how to paint on eggs following the Ukrainian tradition. She started to make pysanky 28 years ago.
“At that time it was the 90s, when Ukraine became independent. Pysanky were banned in Soviet times, because they were considered to be religious symbols. Therefore, we studied this art from the ancient books of the 19th century, where the ornaments and patterns of pysanky were preserved. Scientists created albums, they collected pysanky from people, and then they were cataloged. Thanks to this, about 4,000 different traditional pysanky variants have been saved,” Stachuk said.
One attendee to Stachuk’s class, Marina, was making pysanky for the first time. A graphic designer by trade, Marina is used to drawing motifs with her graphic tablets but not traditional ones and not with eggs.
After having traced guidelines in pencil to section off her blank egg into a grid pattern, she meticulously covered the pencil lines with beeswax, using an instrument called a “Kistka.”
“It is the first one with wax and after we will paint with some color. The hardest for me is to make stripes with wax because it is not possible to make these lines straight,” she said.
Then, Marina colored her egg with dyes, after covering the lines which should be preserved from the dye with beeswax. The dyeing process is pretty long since you use different colors and you have to let your egg dry between each dyeing.
More and more young Ukrainians are coming to Zoya’s workshops. According to Maryna, making pysanky is also a way to get closer to her Ukrainian heritage.
“It’s our nature and we need to know our language and our traditions. I think it’s really important to know from where we are,” Maryna said.