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The 'B' List. A look at the beautiful things in life. This blog is devoted to that list. Join me on the journey, why don't you?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter - Let's decorate some eggs!

If you celebrate Easter, I hope you had a good one this year (and for those who don't, hopefully you got to take some time off and just relax over the long weekend!)

In this Easter Monday post, I want to share with you something that I've been doing since I was a child, decorating Easter eggs. My background is Hungarian, and decorating eggs with dyes and wax is an Eastern European tradition - though it is the Ukrainians that are most famous for their eggs. So, most of the eggs I've made throughout the years use Ukrainian tools, dyes, designs and patterns.

Ukrainians call the dyed and designed eggs 'pysanky' and if you would like to know more about the process, visit the Ukrainian Gift Shop's webpage here. I was lucky enough to go to this store when I visited Minneapolis and it is really neat to see all of the products on display.

In order to create pysanky, you need several different colours of egg dye (about 4 or 5 for a nice colourful effect), beeswax, a kistka and an egg. Oh, and several hours!


Kistka (all images from Ukrainian Gift Shop)

This is a tool to put the wax on the egg. You simply put a bit of beeswax in the funnel at the end and hold it over a candle flame for a few seconds so the wax can melt. Then, using the tip, you draw lines, circles, patterns and designs on the egg.

Electric Kistka
The electric kistka takes this art form into the 21st century by having a constant source of heat, so you no longer have to heat up the wax over a flame. Just put a bit of wax into the funnel and draw! (This comes with different tips so you have different line thickness).

Next steps
The colouring process works in reverse so when you have covered over areas that you want to be white, you dip in into the lightest colour (usually yellow). Then you cover with wax over all of the areas you want to be yellow and dip it into the next colour (usually orange). And so on and so forth until the egg is finished. To take all of the wax off at the end you can hold it to a candle flame or put it in the oven (about 250 F) until the egg is glistening and the wax slides off. Rub in a bit of butter for a shiny effect.

And here's my egg I made Easter Sunday...

Front view
Side view
Back view
Other side view
This took approximately 3 hours from start to finish. A few years back I caved and bought the electric kistka - it is fantastic to work with and much easier to make all of the tiny lines. There are also less errors when using it (less chance of slipping up and blobbing the wax). It was a lot of fun to make and quite relaxing as well - I just might have to keep this Easter tradition up throughout the year!

6 comments:

  1. You can come to my house and make a whole bunch of those! It looks so nice.

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    1. Thanks! Although they do take time to make, it is quite fun!

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  2. wow that is SO impressive. where do you store them once they're done? I assume you wouldn't just throw such an effort away!!

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    Replies
    1. They actually store very well in empty egg cartons - packed away in a larger box with some paper towel. I haven't broken one yet! (Fingers crossed).

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  3. Oh, so beautiful! This looks like a lot of fun to do and is a great tradition to carry on!

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    Replies
    1. It is one of the things I love about Easter - and something I hope to do with my future child as well.

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