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Honor the ancient magic of the pysanka, or Ukrainian Easter egg, by making your own this spring. You will learn the batik-like, wax-resist method by decorating an egg in one of two beginner patterns. (The instructor is happy to guide experienced students through other designs; please contact her a week before the class.) You will learn the meaning of traditional symbols and colors, as well as the basics of structure and decoration that can be used to write an endless variety of pysanky. Make these special Easter eggs as gifts, to bring blessings home, and as talismans of peace, strength, and healing.


Decorating kit: https://www.ukrainiangiftshop.com/Kids-Ukrainian-Egg-Decorating-Kit/productinfo/KITKID3

Or, buy the following from the Ukrainian Museum: 5 dyes (Yellow, Orange, Green, Red Black), two kistky (delrin stylus, medium – blue handle and heavy – red handle),  and one 100% beeswax patty.

Other supplies: White eggs, at least two, as fresh as possible. Paper towels. White vinegar, ½ cup for washing eggs and mixing dyes. 1 quart glass or ceramic bowl for washing eggs. Short candle (between 4”-6”) on foil-covered small dish or saucer (no more than 8” diam). Matches. Clean knitted cloth rags (an old t-shirt is perfect). Newspaper to protect work surface from dyes and wax. Disposable tablecloth or large rags to put on top. Five glass jars, 8 oz or 16 oz, must have mouth diameter between 3” – 4”, cannot be used for food afterwards. Five metal spoons, cannot be used for food afterwards. Pencil, hard lead if possible. Wastebasket for dye-stained paper towels. Supplies for varnishing (optional):  drying rack made out of a thin board or clipboard with tripods of short nails driven through it; Liquitex Gloss varnish; egg emptier: Blas-Fix, if you can get one.


The day before class, let two eggs come to room temperature. Prepare them by placing in bowl with 1 cup room temperature water and 2 Tablespoons white vinegar. Let rest, do not agitate, for 3 minutes. Allow to dry on paper towel. Also one day before class, mix dyes with hot water and 1 teaspoon vinegar according to packet instructions in glass jars. Dyes and eggs must come to room temperature before class.

Set up your work table with newspaper and protective cover (cloth or plastic). Place dyes and metal spoons, on a tray if possible, in the following order: Yellow, Green, Orange, Red, Black. If you have blue dye, place that before the green.

Affix your candle to the middle of the foil-covered plate. Place beeswax on plate. Put kistky and pencils alongside. Place one clean folded rag on table in front of you. Keep other clean rags nearby but away from dyes. Place paper towels near dyes.

If you have two internet-capable devices, please join the meeting on each of them, with only one activated for sound for class participation, and dedicate the silent one to showing a closeup of your workspace so I can coach you in detail.

On her mother’s side, Emily Robbins (she/her) comes from a Ukrainian Orthodox clerical family. Her great grandfather Metropolitan John Theodorovich founded what is now the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (https://uocofusa.org/). She has practiced the art of pysanky, the Ukrainian Easter egg, since age 7. She has taught the craft since 1986 at institutions ranging from Cornell University to the Ukrainian Museum in New York City. Born in Manhattan, she now resides on the Upper West Side and works as an editor.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
12:00 pm