Ukrainian Easter Egg Painting

On Tuesday, the 14th of March, we had a special evening painting Easter eggs in the traditional Lemkiv style.  This was my first-time painting Easter eggs with wax and dye, as it was for most others. The idea was first suggested by Olga, our Ukrainian student who is studying with us thanks to Studios’ Ukraine Artist Support Fund.

Ulyana, the artist from Buchach, the Wild West of Ukraine, showed us her collection of beautiful Easter eggs she had painted before, and introduced the history and the symbolism of the patterns and characters Ukrainians have used to paint the eggs. 

She then showed us the method step-by-step. Firstly, we divided the egg into 8 parts with pencil. Then, we drew a symmetrical design on the egg from one side to the other. 

We used a special drawing ‘pen’ named PYSACHOK to grab the melting wax and draw lines and dots on the eggs. Keeping my hand steady enough to draw even and straight lines was definitely a challenge!

The wax is used to create the design before dyeing – it protects the shells natural colour. After the first layer of dyeing, we then painted over the egg with more wax designs before dipping it into the next colour. 

Ulyana suggested dyeing from light colours to dark, as the colours added later will be merged with the bottom colours.  It was really fun and unpredictable to see how the colours came out, especially as the longer you left the egg in the dye, the stronger the colour.  I’m not sure I like the blue and purple combination I used after I saw other people’s choices – particularly  Nneka’s ‘dreamy wonderland’ one

The last, and most thrilling part, was blowing out the eggs…by mouth… I, of course, asked Ulyana to help me out in case the egg cracked.

Look at what we produced! 

Olga recently sent us a beautiful article on Easter eggs… one was recently discovered to be 500 years old. How incredible!

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