Types of Ukrainian Decorated Eggs

Pysanka Power Podcast

Pysanka Power Podcast by Joan Brander of BabasBeeswax.com
Saving the world one pysanka at a time . . . . ™

Listen to Pysanka Power Podcast on BabasBeeswax.comListen to Episode 6 released April 13, 2019 – Types of Ukrainian Decorated Eggs

Pysanka Power Podcast by Joan Brander of BabasBeeswax.comTranscript of Episode 6

Hi, I'm Joan Brander and you're listening to my Pysanka Power Podcast. I love Ukrainian egg decorating! I've been doing it for several decades since I was a child. I've amassed so much knowledge and experience over those years, I thought that podcasting would be a great way to share my passion with you. I'll be telling you about their history, legends, and symbols. On the practical side, there's tools and techniques used in making them, hints, tips and do it yourself projects to talk about. Did you know that the fate of the world depends on pysanky? There's an ancient Ukrainian legend that says as long as pysanky are being made, evil will not prevail over good in the world". They're one of the greatest traditions of all time. So I hope that my Podcast will inspire you.

Thanks for tuning in. This is Episode 6, another chapter on the History and Legends of Pysanky. I'd like to get this in before Good Friday and give a shout out to Different Types of Ukrainian Decorated Eggs. I touched on this in Episode 3. If you're still sitting on the fence and not sure if writing pysanky is for you, or if the clock is just running out before Easter, here's some other methods you can try: six other types of Ukrainian decorated eggs, ones for eggs that can be eaten, and ones that use different or unusual techniques.

Before I even get started on the contents of this Episode, I gotta confess that there will be many foreign words I will most likely mis-pronounce. I'm not fluent in my inherited Ukrainian language, other than a few words of greeting, and of course I'm okay saying the words pysanka and pysanky. Speaking of that, I thought this would be a good time to tell you the correct way to spell and pronounce these words. Throughout three decades of working in my store and answering questions, I've heard so many versions and seen many mis-spellings. It sometimes makes for very comical communication.I mentioned in Episode 1 that pysanka is the singular for Ukrainian eggs using the wax resist method to write traditional folk designs. The word is spelled P-Y-S-A-N-K-A. The word pysanky is the plural. It's similarly spelled, but with a "Y" at the end instead of an "A". So it's spelled P-Y-S-A-N-K-Y. The accent is on the second syllable. An easy way to remember how to say it is that the first and third syllable rhyme-so that's the "py" and the "ky". Put it all together and you get "pysanky".

Many other eastern European ethnic groups decorate eggs for Easter. The weeks before Good Friday are over-flowing with egg decorating of all kinds! I've seen and heard people refer to painted wooden eggs or eggs decorated using stickers or shrink-wrap sleeves referred to as pysanky. But that's just fake news! As I explained in Episode 2, pysanky are unique to Ukrainians. A trained eye can tell the difference. I'm all about authentic pysanky, so you won't hear me talk about knock offs. I always defend a true pysanka.

But I digress. We're supposed to be talking about types of Ukrainian decorated eggs other than the wax resist pysanky. So here's my list of six other types.First, there's krashanky. These are boiled eggs that are dyed a single colour with edible dyes. Examples of these are vegetables dyes like those you would get from onion skins. These types are blessed and eaten at Easter. Krapanky are considered the simplest version of a pysanka. In Episode 1 when I talked about what the beeswax is used for, we imagined dropping melted wax from a candle onto an egg, then dying them one or two colours. The result was dotted or spotted eggs. These are called krapanky. The beauty is in their simplicity. Then there's eggs that are decorated by scratching designs and patterns on the surface of a dyed egg with a sharp knife or blade. This reveals the white shell below. I'll try to say the word. These are called dryapanky. I've seen some designs that are very detailed. There's a technique that coats an egg entirely with melted beeswax, letting the beeswax harden, and then embedding tiny colourful beads into the wax. I've made some of these using seed beads-those the small round ones, glass beads and bugle beads-those are the oblong beads in geometric patterns. There's such a great texture to them. This would be similar to a technique called wax embossed where hardened beeswax is left on the egg. The way it's done is that after your pysanka is finished, you have areas of colour. You outline areas with beeswax, still using a kistka. It creates a dark outline. Keep in mind that the outline will be dull and bumpy because it's made of beeswax. But that doesn't detract from the beauty of the egg. Lastly, another technique I've done is using leaves and flowers to resist edible dyes. So instead of using beeswax to resist the dyes as is done with pysanky, I used plants to resist edible dyes. These types of eggs can be eaten. Although not "traditional" in the true sense of the word, in recent years new forms of egg decorating have become popular in Ukraine. I've tried some of these just for fun. For example I've decorated eggs by drilling holes and other shapes in the surface of an egg to create cut-out areas.

I'd love to show you examples rather than tell you about them. If you ever drop by my store, you're invited to look at my personal collection. If that's not possible, I do have some video clips and photos on my website BabasBeeswax.com. So I've covered the three topics I wanted to share with you. Maybe one of the six different types of decorated eggs will arouse your curiosity. I hope you learned something new and easy you can do in time for Easter. Check out my website BabasBeeswax.com to learn of upcoming events in your area. Whether you're taking in an egg decorating class in your local church or community centre, or enjoying an egg hunt with the kids, I hope you have a joyful and blessed Easter.

So in practicing my Ukrainian language, may I give you my ancestral Easter Greeting: Xrystos Voskres!

I'm going to move on now to the segment I call "Books 'n' Bits". In each episode of this Podcast I've been commenting on sources of information relating to the pysanka topics covered, such as this one on Other Types of Ukrainian Decorated Eggs. You can learn about these resources in this commentary or on your own on my website BabasBeeswax.com. I wrote a pysanka bibliography which was published by Baba's Beeswax in 2007. It lists hundreds of resources for all types of Ukrainian egg decorating. The name of the book always brings a smile to my face and to others who understand the double meaning of the word "written" in the sub-title. The title of the book is About the Pysanka, with the sub-title It Is Written. The first play on words is the fact that the book is a bibliography and many books are written about pysanky. The second play on words is the phrase I have repeated in every episode of Pysanka Power Podcast this far-that pysanky are written. Do you get the double meaning?

The book is available from my store, Baba's Beeswax, Amazon.com and Ukrainian book stores. And for those who like to read books online, it's also available as an eBook.Just go to BabasBeeswax.com to see the details there. Right beside the listing of the book on the Baba's Beeswax online store is an icon which links you directly to a book preview on my YouTube channel. There's several Playlists on the YouTube Channel, each covering different topics, from How To's and DIY's to Fun Stuff and a peak into the workings of Baba's Beeswax. I hope you watch some of them. But the particular Playlist I'd like to point you to is the Book Previews. You can watch a brief video clip that flips through the pages of About the Pysanka-It Is Written. You can see inside the book: its format, colourful cover and pages, and contents of featured resource books. I'm so proud that I was invited to the First Pysanka Symposium in Washington, DC to launch this book and to receive a mark of distinction from the Library of Congress. It was such a thrill for me! There's a video clip and photo montage of this in the Events Playlist.

I hope you've enjoyed these pre-Easter Episodes and that they've inspired you to do something more creative with your egg decorating activities. I'm taking a break from recording until after Easter. In these first six Episodes of my Podcast I've just touched the surface of pysanky. Please check back. There's so much more to talk about when I return.

Before I go, allow me to tell you about Baba's Beeswax and how you can get in touch with me. We're located in Richmond, British Columbia. Our studio comes alive with workshops and demonstrations. We write books, pamphlets, teaching aids, and videos. We have a library for all the publications we produce and collect. Not only that, we have a gallery of all the pysanky we've made and collected. For shopping on the internet you can visit our online store at BabasBeeswax.com. We've had it since 1997. We're doing our best to keep up with technology, so we're connecting with you on YouTube, Facebook and other platforms. Now, we're podcasting and we're very excited to be doing that. You, too, can follow the buzz… by giving us your comments or a thumbs up.

We're here to help you choose kits and supplies like the beeswax, kistka and dyes you'll need. You can get everything you need all year round, not only at Easter. In case you missed anything, you can listen to my Podcast again. We've put the audio file on our website BabasBeeswax.com. Or you might like reading along, so we've put the Transcript there too.

That's it for me, Joan Brander of Baba's Beeswax. Thanks for listening-and have a great day!

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