The Kid Should See This

The Pysanky-Making Experience

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Pysanky eggs are decorated with a wax-resistance technique to create layers of line, color, and symbolism. According to this guide from the University of Kansas, early designs celebrated nature, the beginning of spring, and the makers’ hopes for prosperity and protection.

Egg artist and owner of Ukrainian Egg Supplies, Emily Pruiksma, demonstrates the experience of pysanky making by sketching, applying wax, and dyeing an original geometric design on a hollow egg.

white egg
The process unfolds gently, allowing viewers to fully observe the intricate craftsmanship behind this Ukrainian tradition. Each stroke of the kistka, a pen tool with a funnel that precisely distributes the molten beeswax, and each layer of color connects the tradition’s roots in art, nature, geometry, culture, and renewal.

As a last step, the beeswax is melted off, revealing the protected colors and the final design. From Time Magazine:

“The name for these Easter eggsβ€”pysanka in the singular and pysanky as pluralβ€”is derived from the Ukrainian verb pysaty, which means ‘to write,’ or писати in Ukrainian. So in this case, the word refers to the writing on the eggs…”

wax resist to preserve the yellow

“Nobody knows when exactly this tradition started, and a number of different origin stories persist, some dating back to before their association with the Easter holiday. One of these stories says that the ritual is meant to represent the return of sunshine after a long winter, and eggs are used because the yellow yolk is thought to resemble the sun, according to Sofika Zielyk, a New York City-based ethnographer and pysanka artist.”

dying the egg red
Find more beautiful pysanky designs in this Ukrainian Gift Shop gallery.

Previously on TKSST: The Egg Painter: Painting traditional Pysanky Easter eggs.

Bonus: How to make naturally dyed Easter eggs.

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