Why did you write this book?
A new children's book has been on my mind for some time now. With Pysanky on Paper : An Activity Book for Children going into its fourth printing, I knew that my readers needed
new content. A fan of my teaching aids in the United States phoned me to ask if I had any of the large format pysanky symbols that she saw in many of my videos shot in my studio
available for use. The light bulb went on, we had a chat, and she encouraged me to publish a book of large-format symbols.
What surprised you the most as you researched it?
I was surprised, that despite the many symbols I found on GOOGLE, none were age-appropriate. By that I mean most were complicated or elaborate patterns, or images of pysanky with
multiple motifs. Even when I printed copies for my own research, the resolution was so low that it was unuseable as a learning tool. Other than Pysanky on Paper : An Activity
Book for Children that was published back in 1997, there was nothing that existed that replicated what I had in mind.
What do you think will surprise readers the most?
As seasoned readers thumb through the pages they will ask "where have you been all my life?" while novices to pysanky will be surprised that the symbols are abstract
What's the most valuable lesson or message readers will get from it?
Learning pysanky is easy, fun and affordable. Even starting as a toddler, a child can see the symbols on paper, recognize some familiar motifs, and see some that are unfamiliar,
and even the act of using crayons, the beginnings of pysanky is being impressed. But the book is useful for all ages, and especially as a teaching aid in schools or wherever pysanky
is being taught.
Did writing this book change your life in any way?
Yes, I'd have to say that the book has enhanced my life, as not only is it another genre to add to my list of titles, but it targets my favourite audiencechildren. I'm fascinated
working with children, who aren't as afraid as adults to try something new and different. Given the proper instruction and tools, they too, can create beautiful pysanky. When they're
frustrated by their first squiggly lines of beeswax I say "this will be the most beautiful pysanka you've ever made" and with that encouragement they'll smile
and persevere. Of course it's not until you reach the end of the process of pysanky that the magic really happens. I hope that My First Pysanka: Symbols my Baba taught me
will instill a curiosity to learn more about pysanky.
With so many patterns to choose from, how did you decide which ones to include?
First and foremost I wanted to keep the designs simple and age-appropriate. Reading up on pysanky symbolism categories that came up were "scevomorphic", "phytomorphic",
"zoomorphic" and "cosmomorphic"! I don't even know what some of these mean. Nor did my baba use any of these words when she taught me. So the age-appropriate
categories I included are plant, animal and shapes.
What are you working on now?
This colouring book was a bit of a departure from my usual writing style, but I've got a couple more ideas for eBooks and graphic designs for the internet. Just waiting for the
spark to ignite.
Where can children learn more about pysanky?
Start with one of my workshops in my studio or in the community, or learn from Baba's Beginner's Kits available from this website BabasBeeswax.com.