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How to Have Fun with a Little Pysanky

Pysanky Just Sounds Fun

Pysanky panky! (piss sank key) Right? When I signed up to win a class to learn pysanky at the Woodlake High School Foundation Dinner, I had no idea what pysanky were or if I wanted to win one. Woodlake Foundation dinners need dictionaries!

Alice came up behind me and said, “I’m taking this class. Take it with me.”

Looking at the rest of the guest list, I agreed that pysanky sounded like a class I must take! Denise called it “piss ants” because she could not remember how to say it. We signed up in November. Our class was in late January.

“What are we doing?” I asked Sally.

“We’re each bringing a dish.”

“Seriously, Sally! What are we doing?”

“You should make cookies.”

“I’m going to bring that quiche thingy Janet made for Kiwanis. That was so awesome.”

“Perfect.”

Attention Hobby Bloggers, Pro Bloggers, and Photographers

Before you read the rest of the story, please understand that the business of Always Write is to support hobby bloggers, writers, and photographers. Bloggers blog for many reasons. Some want to build their business. However, most bloggers are hobby bloggers. Some monetize their blogs to make their hobby pay. Ride along with me as I learn.

Teachers, like I am, know that the best way to teach and support is to model what we teach. As a hobby blogger, I blog to promote local events. That is a great way for hobby bloggers to create content, build their audience, and establish local credibility. 

In this post, I highlighted a local event using two photo challenges that fit the content.

Back to Pysanky Before Wine

As often happens with friends my conversation with Sally skittered to other topics. When I got in the car to ride to Pysanky class, I still had no idea what we were going to do. I should have guessed it would be artsy because it was in Three Rivers. But my friend and Pysanky teacher, Helen Bauer, would never do that to me, would she?

Pysanky

Model Pysanky

It turned out she would and did. When she brought out elaborately colored eggs, my heart sank. She was not serious was she? I could not even draw a straight line with a ruler when my hands were sort of steady. And design? I got on an A in arts and crafts for enthusiasm. Who gets an A for enthusiasm?

pysanky

Beautiful boxes

“Pysanky means ‘to write’ in Ukrainian,” Helen told us.

Write? My ears perked up. I love to write!

Helen had made us all boxes to fit our eggs so they would not break in transit. The boxes were as beautiful as the eggs. She also made us name tags and printed up a handout about the history and symbolism of pysanky and how to repeat the procedure. What a great teacher! I adore Helen anyway, but this took her over the top. No wonder she likes living in artsy Three Rivers.

“The Ukrainians wrote symbols on their eggs, often spiritual ones to bring the family health and good luck.”

I picked two pysanky I particularly liked.

pysanky

Sarah’s Pysanky

“My daughter did those when she was 10. She gets bored before she finishes.”

My heart sank. Ten-year-old children could do this better than I could. Helen continued. “This is the least expensive craft you will ever do. All you need is a candle, wax, dyes, a stylus, and of course the pysanky or blown egg.

pysanky

Stylus – a tool for the trade

We Laughed So Much As We Learned Pysanky!

Fortunately, Helen had blown the eggs before we got there, or I might still be sitting at her table with broken and dripping egg shells all over the table and dripping onto the floor. It takes three years for the fluid to evaporate if you do not blow out the egg. I did not know that eggs brought good luck. The Ukrainian farmers believed that the more Easter eggs, the less evil on the earth.  We probably should have made these in early November.

pysanky

I’ll never be able to do this.

Not Everyone Had Fun at First

Shivon studied the samples like she might try something similar. Linda looked as depressed and lost as I felt as she held on to her coffee cup for dear life. Denise was already waxing away, and Sally started with an egg that already had WHS etched in wax. Finally, even Linda jumped in while I sat in stunned silence.

pysanky

I got up and went to the kitchen to look at the food. I had brought nuts and candy, but you could not touch peanuts and eggs at the same time. The nuts leave oil on the eggs and ruin the design. Everyone else was almost ready to take their first dip into the dye. I ate nuts and washed my hands.

pysanky

Denise had dyed “piss ants” before and led the pack.

There Were Other Things to Do Besides Pysanky

Wine drinking did not leave fingerprints. Good excuse to drink wine. I took a sip of wine to calm my shaking fingers. First, Helen told us to put a rubber band on the egg to help you wax a straight line. I knew mine would break, but it did not.

pysanky

It looks tedious, but Helen made it fun.

Helen showed us how to trace a line in wax around the rubber band on both sides. When I started writing, my wax stylus dried up after about.0000025 cm of writing. I got frustrated until Helen showed me I could dig into the wax with the big end of the stylus like a shovel. It went better for me after that. Once I drew around the rubber band on both sides, I placed the rubber band horizontally across the empty pysanky. I waxed some more. Done! I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally!

pysanlyEverywhere we put the wax on the egg maintain the area under it white. Now I would wax to keep the design yellow. Waxing still frustrated me. My lines often wobbled. The wax wouldn’t go very far. By this time the wine must have soaked into my unlunched pores, and I had fun.

pysanky

Dying is done.

Pysanky Making Improved with Time

As we watched the wax get deeper, and the dye colors on our eggs get darker, and our conversations flowed. Most of my friends ended dying in black. That seemed appropriate!

pysanky

Sally finished two eggs in the time I finished one.

I chose red then dark blue with no waxing between applying the colors. The last step we did was to burn off all the wax. Burn and wipe. Burn and wipe. I liked this action. Easy peasy! Sally got bored. She was happy to leave the wax on her egg. I helped burn and wipe one of Sally’s pysanky. Before we packed up our pysankies, Helen sprayed them with Varathane to waterproof the design.

pysanky

Burnout!

Pysanky Revealed

pysanky

Linda LaFleur’s pysanky

pysanky

Shivon Lavely’s pysanky

pysanky

Denise Akin’s pysanky

pysanky

Sally Pace’s pysanky

pysanky

Marsha Ingrao’s pysanky

When the wax came off, the results stunned me. In spite of my squiggly lines, my pysanky looked beautiful. I loved the purple.

My face glowed with pride and happiness. So did everyone else’s face. Alice couldn’t come, and she missed a great day of fun and learning.

pysanky

You still have time to dye pysankies before Easter. Please share if you love to dye Easter eggs. 

While you are at it, please visit Narami and Cee for more fun fotos. Tell them you know me in the comment section.

Tuesdays of Texture  Cee’s Fun Fotos Looking Down on Things

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18 replies »

  1. i haven’t stopped laughing, my friend…you captured all the important points about PYSANKY EGGS (PISS ANT eggS….thank you Denise Akin)….starting with fear, emulating a ten year old’s efforts, to drinking wine til you don’t care…….i think we’ll have to PRINT and put your adventures down next to the sign up sheet along w/ a bottle of wine that will be shared AT the party…..any wine donations???

    Like

  2. Well then we’d make quite a pair, lol. 🙂 Sure, FB me, what do you want to know? Lol, I could probably write another book on those. 🙂

    Like

    • It was a little intimidating at first when I saw how intricate most of the examples were. Nonetheless, I was so pleased with my little egg, since I am not an artist. I’m ready to do it again and try other artistic efforts. 🙂

      Like

    • To be fair, Helen had already prepared the eggs so they were ready to dye. She had several samples to inspire us as well. But it did take a while, and while we didn’t come close to mastery, we all had a great time and felt pleased with our accomplishments.

      Like

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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