We did manage to return from holiday just in time for the Easter Bunny. Actually at midnight, the night before Easter. This did require some emails from Mexico to some secret helpers back home, (Thank you so much Easter Helpers) but it all went off as planned, and thankfully, the Bunny did not forget our house. Easter Sunday Ike and I went to the neighbours to make some Easter Eggs. (Pysanky) I used to be a bit more diligent about making some each year, but since I've had Ike I have not made them each year. There have been unexplained casualties over the years, but I have never bothered to blow the eggs after making them so, some "egg"splosions are bound to happen. Nothing too smelly so far thank goodness.
In my family, my Aunt (Auntie Valley) was the artistic one and one year she took it upon herself to take a class in making Pysanky. I remember my grandmother having the tools (kystka) and bees wax at her farm. I actually do recall gramma making some with me one year when I was little. She did not have the proper dyes for it, and I remember her making dyes from crepe paper soaked in hot water to extract the dye. She made the typical single large star design that everyone starts out with, and I remember thinking how astonishing it was that she could get that silly looking stick to make such nice designs on an egg. Years after that, Auntie Valley took her class and proceeded to inundate the family with the most brilliantly coloured and beautifully crafted Pysanky. I could only guess how many she might have made. Definitely over one hundred. My mother was lucky enough to receive at least twenty which she kept in a cookie jar for many years. Sadly, one year they became a moving tragedy as they could not survive the transition to outdoor temperatures and all exploded into a cloud of dust.
When Auntie Valley died, her family passed down to me her tools and books. Since then I have made these Easter eggs many times and have found that it magically gets easier every time I try. This year, I gave Ike a try. Working with raw eggs requires a lot of patience and attention. Something which is not typically in great supply with my 6 year old. When he finishes his egg, I will add a photo of it.
The process is quite easy, but is time consuming, and those who do this kind of work have many eggs on the go at the same time. First you heat the Kystka with a candle flame and fill it with bees wax. The Kystka is a stick with a tiny metal funnel attatched to it's end, that allows you to scoop, melt, and draw with the bees wax. Then you write with the Kystka on the egg where ever you want the pattern to be white. Then you soak the egg in your first dye colour. Once the shade of colour you want is reached, you remove the egg from the dye and dry it off. Now you write on the egg again with melted wax on the areas you want to keep that colour. Then you dip your egg in the next darker colour, and so on. Once your design is finished, you gently heat the egg near a candle flame and wipe away the melted wax. To finish, you apply a few coats of varnish, let dry, and you're done. It's that easy! This year, I have decided to try blowing the egg for the first time. This is done after the egg has been varnished so it has more strength. I've never had the nerve to do it before, because if you break it, it's a lot of wasted time. For those who make large numbers of these eggs there are electric Kystkas and racks for removing wax on multiple eggs in the oven, but my production has never warranted these tools. Hope you enjoy the photo, and hope everyone had a great Easter Holiday!