March 21, 2008

How to make an Easter "Beauty"

When I was a kid in the Czech Republic, Easter was huge. It was the next best thing to Christmas. Folk rituals were still strong. Each year, my parents got numerous Easter cards, most of them depicting beautifully decorated eggs: kraslice or "beauties". The eggs are meant to be symbolic of the return of spring and of new life.
I guess mother and I were craving some old-country tradition after we moved to Canada because, when I was 12, she and I established our yearly egg-decorating ritual. We didn't have the proper tools, we didn't even know special tools existed, so it was definitely the actual doing that mattered, not the results which, if memory serves, weren't great. But we gave it our best shot every year until I left for university.

Since then, thanks to the Ukranians who most diligently, and famously, carry on with the craft with their Pysanky and have all kinds of tools to make it easy, my egg-decorating efforts have produced results that have kept me coming back to it almost every Easter for the last 20 years. Here's how I do it:

I take a clean white egg (insides blown out) and, using a kystka, a special stylus-like tool, I draw a design on the egg with melted beeswax.

Once I've got all the areas that will stay white covered, I dip the egg into yellow dye. (Fuzzy photo; lousy camera).

Now I cover all the areas that will stay yellow with beeswax and the egg goes into the second colour, in this case red. (Another fuzzy photo; same lousy camera).

And so it goes, I cover all the areas that will stay red and then dip the egg into the next colour. In this case it was black and that was my final colour, but I could have kept on going and going, adding in a whole rainbow of other colours in between.

The reveal: I warm the wax-covered egg carefully to melt the wax and wipe it clean with a tissue.

And here's final product along with the other two eggs I did today:

1 comment:

Beth said...

These are just soooo gorgeous. I love them! What a perfect way to welcome spring :)