It’s the time of year for me to once again commandeer the kitchen table and spread out my pysanky decorating materials. It’s a family tradition and all of us in our family enjoy decorating the pysanky.
I started decorating Easter eggs when I was only around two years old. I remember looking forward to when Mom would get out the kistkas, the beeswax and the colourful dyes. We would collect the freshest eggs from the henhouse and then give them a gentle vinegar wash. Even if our lines were crooked and our colours smudged into one another, my brother, sister and I got to add our egg to the family Easter basket.
On Easter Sunday, the pysanky were blessed and exchanged with our extended family and friends. We always gave one as a gift to our priest as well.
The decorating supplies have changed over the years but the technique is still the same. The supplies include raw, clean white eggs; a writing stylus (kistka); beeswax; pint jars containing various colours of dyes; vinegar, candles, drying racks and varnish.
Mom used to make the kistkas out of a branch from a willow tree and the little round metal hook from an old calendar. She would roll the metal to form a funnel and then tie it to a small twig with a piece of fine wire from a grocery store twist tie. Not only can I still remember how those twig kistas felt in my hands, but I can still remember the smell of the wood. Today, kistkas are made of wood or plastic.
For a detailed explanation of the steps involved in decorating your own pysanka, please check out the Pages section called Pysanky at the top of my blog. I have also included a slide show of various pysanky designs.
When you have created your own Pysanka, please consider sharing your photos with me.
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