Pysanky Expert Joan Brander
artist author instructor lecturer
Saving the world one pysanka at a time . . . .
proudly presented by Baba's Beeswax Discover the Magic of Pysanky
Traditional Easter pysanky
Joan "Ivanka" Brander
Hanging Christmas ornaments
|On this page:
- About Joan Brander
her passion, vision, mission, accomplishments, charities, in the spotlight, and more
- Examples of Work Joan's talent shines through in this visual feast
- Social Media Profile
- How to Contact Joan Brander
- Links that take you to a new page on this website
About Joan Brander
Pysanka expert Joan Brander (who sometimes goes by her Ukrainian name Ivanka) is a Canadian artist, author, instructor and lecturer. She has been immersed in the cultural activity of
using beeswax and dyes to make batik-style decorated eggs known as pysanky (pronounced PIH-sahn-kih)
her entire life, having learned the tradition as a child from her grandmother whom she called "Baba". She was born and raised in Saskatchewan and now lives in Vancouver.
Her enrichment programs are multi-generational and suitable for Easter, Christmas or any time of year. They include virtual and hands-on interactive workshops, demonstrations, displays
and lectures for people from all walks of life and age groups.
Her many published works include a children's activity book, newsletter, bibliography, birthday party planner, instructional guide and countless articles and teaching aids. In 2008
one of her books garnered a place in the bibliography class of the Library of Congress headingsa precedent-setting development. In 2014 she was selected as a finalist for the Arts
Education Award from the City of Richmond.
Joan keeps herself busy advancing her goals and ensuring a thriving future for pysanky. Her reputation continues to grow and she is highly sought after by program coordinators to share
more than 60 years of knowledge.
Many traditions have been lost over the years, but Joan is doing her part to make sure that the unique art of pysanky egg decorating endures.
Preserving one of the great traditions of all time!
Joan affectionately recalls the time when, as a little girl, she was introduced to the art of Pysanka by her grandmother whom she called "Baba".
"I will always remember Baba as being plump and jolly. Her belly jiggled when she laughed. Her garden of beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables was lovingly
tended to and fun to play in. I remember jumping on her bed of feather quilts with my cousins when we visited her. And I remember with fondness the big wood stove where she baked bread,
the scent of melting beeswax, the kitchen table where we worked."
|Ivanka Chyrski in 1962
||Baba in 1962
Joan's first eggs were created without the special dyes and tools she uses today. Back then she made her dyes by soaking sheets of colored crepe paper in boiling water. She made her
kistka from metal recycled from a wall calendar. Her first lines of beeswax looked like noodles. She persevered. In her teens she began giving away her Pysanky as "gifts from the
heart" to friends people who touched her life, a practice she continues to this day. According to Joan "nothing is more rewarding or pleasurable than to create a lasting gift
for a friend."
Even with Easter several months away, Joan has everything ready for her annual ritual. It starts right after Christmas. Before her is a lighted candle, a block of beeswax and a kistka.
Jars of brilliant dyes stand at one side. In a bowl rest pagan symbols of the life forcefreshly laid eggs, white and smooth. In the same way that the people who originated the
pysanka believed in its power, Joan writes symbols on the curved surface of the egg. Her basic design emerges and she bathes the egg in a succession of dyes in the technique akin to
batik. Finally she wipes off all the beeswax--and behold! A breathtaking delight.
Passionate about pysanky
Joan began demonstrating and lecturing in the community where educators and program directors took notice of her teaching skills and friendly manner. It wasn't long before they asked
her to conduct workshops for them.
Over time Joan amassed a huge collection of her unique works of art and a one of-a-kind library of books. She developed an interest in writing and sharing her knowledge about pysanky.
In the busy weeks prior to Easter, thousands of children and adults, families and seniors, will try their hand at pysanky under the skilled direction of Joan as she shares her knowledge
and expertise. It means a lot to her when people exclaim how fun and easy she makes it for them.
Her Vision | Her Trademark Saving the World . . . . one pysanka at a time . . . .
The increasing demand for Joan's knowedge and for affordable and accessible supplies motivated her to do more with her egg decorating hobby. As her early years were spent in her parents'
hardware store, starting her own pysanka enterprise was a logical next step. In 1991 she started a business, giving it the whimsical name "Baba's Beeswax". She didn' look far
to find the ideal name: Baba because she was her inspiration and teacherBeeswax because of its significance to the technique.
An ancient legend says that as long as pysanky are being made, evil shall not prevail over good in the world.
Joan is committed to saving the world . . . . one pysanka at a time by:
- creating greater public awareness of the fascinating art of decorated eggs known as "pysanky" in Ukrainian folk-art
- writing books and resources for teachers, community leaders, and anyone interested in pysanky
Joan is proud to be at the forefront of preserving one of the great traditions of all time. She loves sharing pysanky from workshops and displays to demonstrations and lectures. She enjoys
writing books, publishing articles, and connecting through social media. If you think that egg decorating is just for Easter, think again!
Author / Creator
Books, eBooks and Teaching Aids
- Episode 1 The Essentials of Pysanky Ukrainian Easter Eggs
- Episode 2 The Ancient Origins of Pysanky and Stories Told About Them
- Episode 3 All About Pysanky Dyes
- Episode 4 Traditional Pysanky Symbols Geometric Patterns
- Episode 5 The Technique of Using Pencil Guidelines for Pysanky
- Episode 6 Types of Ukrainian Decorated Eggs
Pysanky-Related Designs and Slogans that are Inspirational, Whimsical and Cute on apparel, gifts and novelty items
- Presenter, 2008 Pysanka Symposium, Washington, DC 2008
- Visual Artist, Art Starts in Schools, Vancouver
- Hidden Passions - British Columbia Institute of Technology (2013, 2018)
- Richmond Museum
- Moncton Museum - Eggfest '97 (July 28 to August 10, 1997)
- Richmond Art Centre 2013
- Richmond Art Gallery 1980
- Richmond Art Gallery/Richmond School Board "Arts for Life" 2001
- Shadbolt Centre Seasonal Celebration 2010
- Surrey Museum "Ukrainian Spirit" 2013
- Surrey Musuem "Making a New Home: 125 Years of Ukrainians in Canada" 2016
- 1995 to 2001 EGGS-aminer, a newsletter dedicated to the art of Pysanky
Awards and Mark of Distinction
- Arts Education Award, Richmond Finalist 2014
- First of-a-kind place in Library of Congress headings in bibliography classification for About the PysankaIt Is Written!
- British Columbia Ukrainian Arts Council, Vancouver
- British Columbia Ukrainian Cultural Festival, Langley
- Ukrainian Centennial Days, Plaza of Nations, Vancouver 1991 and 2000
- Canada Day at Canada Place, Vancouver 1992
- Ukrainian Showcase, Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver 1992
- Ukrainian Canadian Congress, BC Branch 2011
- 120th Anniversary of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada Celebration 2011
- Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond
Charities she Supports
In the Spotlight
- CBC Vancouver: our Vancouver, Easter eggs, the eastern European way, March 27, 2016
- Shaw TV Vancouver: go! March 23, 2016
- Delta Cable Communications: "Plugged IN! Pysanka with Joan Brander", Delta 2008
- Voice of America, March 19, 2008
- CityTV, Breakfast TV, Vancouver, March 22, 2005
- CTV, Vancouver, March 26, 2005
- Vancouver Cable 10 Echoes of Ukraine Easter Program: "Pysanka Workshop", Produced by Julia Stashuk, Vancouver, 1999
- BCTV, Vancouver, April 4, 1998
- Vancouver Cable 10 Echoes of Ukraine Easter Program: "Pysanka Workshop", Produced by Julia Stashuk, Vancouver, 1997
- Vancouver Cable 10 Echoes of Ukraine Easter Program: "Pysanka Workshop", Produced by Julia Stashuk, Vancouver, 1994
- Delta Cable 10 Community Events Program: "Bubblebash", Delta 1993
- CBC The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn April 18, 2019
- CBC BC Today with Michelle Eliot April 18, 2019
- Nash Holos Interview, August 26, 2018
- Nash Holos Interview, Vancouver, April 27, 2008
- CBC, North by Northwest, Vancouver, March 19, 2004
- See also Pysanka Power Podcast below which debuted on Nash Holos Radio
- The Globe and Mail : "Fire and Colour" April 11, 2020
- Richmond Review July 2, 2014
- Richmond Review August 21, 2013 [link to The Richmond Review website
and advance to page 6, or .pdf version]
- The Richmond News - March 14, 2012 [link to The Richmond News website and advance
to page A17, or .pdf version]
- Diverse, Canadian Multicultural Awareness Magazine focusing on Art + Culture + Heritage, Volume 3, Issue 1
- The Ukrainian Weekly, April 27, 2008
- Burnaby New Westminster NewsLeader, March 20, 2008
- Burnaby New Westminster NewsLeader, April 7, 2007
- Vancouver Shinpo, March 29, 2007
- Vancouver Sun, March, 5, 2007
- Burnaby New Westminster NewsLeader, April 15, 2006
- Peninsula Lifestyles, April 8, 2004
- Richmond Review, April 8, 2004
- Delta Optimist, March 27, 2004
- Richmond News, April 12, 2003
- Florida Today, April 4, 2003
- Richmond News, April 15, 2001
- Delta Optimist, March 20, 1999
- Richmond News, March 16, 1997
- Richmond Review, April 3, 1996
- Ming Pao, March 16, 1996
- Richmond News, April 19, 1995
- Richmond Review, April 19, 1995
- Vancouver Sun, April 2, 1994
- Richmond News, March 30, 1994
- Digital Media
Newsletters and Magazines
- Nasha Doroha, Spring 2014
- Diverse, Canadian Multicultural Awareness Magazine focusing on Art + Culture + Heritage, Volume 3, Issue 1, Summer 2011
- Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond, Volume 20, Number 3, Spring 2009
- Solovei, Volume 4, Number 2, Spring 2008
- Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond, Volume 10, Number 10, Spring 2008
- Solovei, Volume 1, Number 2, Spring 2005
- EGGS-aminer, published by Bluenose Press, Richmond, Volume 7, No. 2, July 2001
- International Egg Art Guild, No. 78, April 1998
- Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Richmond, Spring 1994
- Contact, published by Ukrainian Canadian Congress, British Columbia Provincial Council, Vancouver
- 2008 Pysanka Symposium (Washington, DC) March 8, 2008
- Teachers, Schools, Artist in Residence
- B.C. Art Teachers' Association (1996 to 2004)
- School Districts of British Columbia
- Festivals, Multi-Cultural, and Community Events
- Arts Alive, Langley 2011
- BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival 1998 to 2004
- Chateau Whistler Resort 2014 to 2018
- Culture Days 2014, 2015
- Dragon Boat Festival, Vancouver 1996
- Eurofest, Swangard Stadium, Vancouver
- Fusion Festival, Surrey 2011 to 2012
- International Tall Ships Festival, Richmond (Steveston) 2002
- Kaleidoscope: A World in Our City, Richmond 2004
- London Farm, Steveston - 1992, 1996, 1997 (Family Farm Fair) and 2011
- Mountain Secondary School, Langley 1997 (Multicultural Night)
- Multicultural Celebration '98, Richmond - 1998
- Multifest, Richmond - 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997
- Palmer School (Community Interaction Days), Richmond 1996
- Panorama Heights Elementary School, Coquitlam 1995
- Plaza of Nations (Ukrainian Days), Vancouver 1991
- Pysanka Festival, Vegreville, Alberta 1998, 1999, 2004
- Richmond Doors Open 2014
- Richmond Nature Park, Richmond 1991
- Richmond World Festival 2017, 2018
- Rotary Club, Vancouver 1993
- Steveston Landing, Steveston - 1994, 1995, 1996
- Steveston Salmon Festival on Canada Day - 2012 to 2016
- Svitanok Performing Arts Society of BC 2002
- Ukrainian Community Society, Richmond 1995 to 1999, 2004 to 2018
- Vancouver European Festival 2007 to 2015
- Vancouver Multicultural Society of BC, Cultureshare 1997
- Vancouver Museum, Vancouver 1994, 1998
- Vegreville Pysanka Festival, Vegreville 2004
- Writers' on the Street, Vancouver 1998
- Yevshan Spring Festival, Abbotsford 1998
- Pysanka Power Podcast
- Courtyard Gardens, Richmond - 2006, 2011
- Fraserview Manor, Richmond - 1994
- Icelandic Care Centre, Vancouver - 1998
- Inglewood Care Centre, West Vancouver - 2000
- Kinsmen Senior Recreation Centre, Tsawwassen - 1997
- Laurel Place, Surrey - 2009
- Lions Manor, Richmond - 1996 to 2014
- Pacifica Resort, Surrey - 2009
- St. Michael's Senior Centre, Vancouver - 2000, 2001
- Corporate Events
- Fraserview, Richmond
- Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church, Toronto 2009
- M.O.P.S., Richmond 1995
- Reah Fellowship, South Langley MB Church, Langley 1994
- St. Joseph the Worker Church, Richmond 1995
- Foam Lake Composite High School, Saskatchewan
- Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology, Toronto
- University of British Columbia
- British Columbia Institute of Technology
Examples of Work
Social Media Profile
Behind the social media scenes, Joan embraces our cute and whimsical mascot character "Panya Pysanka" for regular posts on anything pysanky-related. To share herknowledge,
she draws on not only her heritage, but also over 30 years teaching pysanky to all ages and levels of experience since 1991.
||What are you interested in?
||This is a bi-weekly series of tips and troubleshooting for eggs, beeswax, kistka, dyes, candles, pencil guidelines, removing beeswax, emptying your eggs, varnishing
your pysanky, using a drying board, displaying your pysanky and more . . . .
||Take a Look. Read a Book!
||Discover the magic of pysanky, one book at a time. We show you book previews of pysanky books to add to your collection
||Who couldn't use a little pysanka humour to start off the weekend?
||A Pysanka Poem Worth Sharing
||Discover the magic of pysanky one poem at a time in our monthly sharing of these words arranged purposefully with meaning, sound, and rhythm
||Ask Us Anything About Pysanky
||Your questions and answers on tools, technique, tradition and more . . . .
||We heart our customers!
||Let's Chat About Pysanky
||Free ZOOM meetings that are educational in tone and informal in nature
Contact Joan Brander
Address | 3591 Springfield Drive, Richmond, BC V7E 1Z3
Phone | 604-275-8169
Fax | 604-275-6847
Email | [email protected]
Links that take you to a new page on this website
What are pysanky and how are they made?
Learn pysanky with Joan Brander (online teaching/learning, hands-on interactive workshops, demonstrations, displays, lectures)
About Baba's Beeswax
www.babasbeeswax.com (landing page)