Pysanka practice makes perfect [UPDATED]Published 12:37pm Thursday, February 7, 2013 Updated 12:37pm Thursday, February 7, 2013
But it is hard not to see Lynnae as a gifted artist whose interest never wavered from the beautiful and brilliant Pysanka eggs she first saw on the local TV program, “Party Line” when she was a young woman. Several years later, as a new mother, she stumbled upon Luba’s Pysanky Decorating Kit and took it home to try. “I wasn’t happy with the results and being a new mother, I really didn’t have the time for it,” explains Lynnae. It wasn’t much longer before she picked it up again and seemed to be getting better at it. Since then, it has been a constant hobby. “It’s relaxing and fascinating – almost magical – to melt off the wax and uncover your creation,” she exclaims.
By day, Lynnae encourages creativity working as an aide with elementary school students. The color, magic, and surprise she brings to the classroom transcends from her career to her longtime hobby in which she explores and enjoys each element to the fullest. Especially satisfying is the last moment of the creation – when the dye is melted away revealing the decorated egg. “That never gets old – the suspense and that element of surprise!” exclaimed Lynnae.
Although the designs appear to be painted on the egg, the egg is actually dyed in a blind step by step process of batik where wax is applied in layers with a stylus tool. Lynnae believes that anyone can enjoy pysanka. She sees it as mathematics – simple geometry – like making cutout snowflakes. The process involves drawing some light pencil marks onto a clean dry egg using a geometric pattern and adding to the design by writing in wax between each additional dye. Any portion covered with wax remained that color as layer upon layer of dye is added. When finished, the egg is virtually black and the design not exposed until the wax is melted away.
Her art has become her hobby and she has found joy in sharing that love within her community. According to Lynnae, “Psanky is a progressive skill in that the patterns continue to evolve into more intricate designs, but I truly believe that practice is extremely underrated and it makes all the difference in one’s skill level. I love to share my interest, whether that be through a Community Ed class or with a Girl Scout Troop.
Pysanka is a rich art from the incredibly distant past. Traditionally a women’s’ craft made in the spring, and symbolizing a new beginning, Pysanka were made during Lent after Christianity. Ukrainian Easter eggs use traditional folk motifs and designs and are placed around a home and farm as protection from evil, fire and winds. They were also given as gifts celebrating new life.
There are many intriguing legends surrounding the origins of Pysanka. Lynnae is particularly enamored by a Ukrainian fable. She buys old, chipped cups and saucers at flea markets, puts a decorated egg and this printed story in one and leaves it in cupboards as a hostess gift:
“One year winter came to the Ukraine suddenly and severely. It was so cold that the birds froze in mid-flight and fell to the ground, near death. The peasants, peering from their humble farm huts, saw the birds and ran out to scoop them up with their hands. Shielding them from the cold, the peasants carried them inside and kept them warm and fed throughout the winter. When spring winds arrived, the peasants opened the windows and let the grateful birds fly away. To show their gratitude to the kind Ukrainians, the birds came back and left beautifully decorated eggs in the chipped cups and saucers of the peasants. Every year since, Ukrainian people have striven to create eggs, to give away as gifts of hope and love, as beautiful as those first Pysanky.”