Thursday, March 20, 2008

Next up: Pysanky

This week I broke out the kistky, beeswax and dye packets. DH and DS are ready to try making Ukrainian Easter eggs.

They've been studying a few books I have on the subject for ideas: Decorating Eggs: Exquisite Designs with Wax & Dye, Eggs Beautiful: How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs, and Ukrainian Easter Eggs and How We Make Them. We even took one with us to a homeschool group field trip yesterday -- came in handy as we waited for everyone to arrive. Interesting reading on the themes and meanings behind the traditional designs and lots of line drawings for use in our own eggs.

I first practiced the craft about 20 years ago when a member of my Garden Club hosted a workshop. (And you thought Garden Clubs went out with ladies in hats and gloves...) We used the traditional and brass funneled versions that time and stored the dye in wide-mouth glass jars between sessions. The eggs were store-bought and we didn't blow out the egg. We left them to dry on their own. One of mine "blew up" after several months and I never was able to determine a specific reason. Luck of the draw, I guess.

My kistky came from the Ukrainian Gift Shop in Minneapolis, MN. I have three interchangeable heads (fine, medium and heavy) for my electric kistka and the red-handled kistka is rated "heavy" and the white-handled kistka is "fine." This refers to the size of the wax line each makes, determined by the diameter of the funnel tip. I don't find much difference between the electric and non-electric versions. Both require beeswax. (I use wax with black dye -- shows up better on the egg, I think.) But with the electric kistka, it heats on its own, no need for a candle flame.

Though I usually prefer the traditional tools for a craft, I don't like using a traditional kistky. Those are made by rolling a quarter- or half-circle piece of thin copper into a funnel shape, inserting the funnel thru a hole drilled in the handle and wrapping wire in a figure-8 around the funnel to hold it in place. Now, this is based on only two times of using a traditional kistka (Garden Club and local library workshops) so perhaps with use I'd come around but, for me, I found the funnels leaked along the seams and the wax didn't flow thru as smoothly as with the brass funneled kistka or the electric kistka.

Well, I hope to have photos of the process and end result after we try this as a family craft. Wish us luck!

1 comment:

kerri said...

I have always wanted to try this!