Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pysanky and Kistkas: Ukrainian Easter Eggs with Children

Today I learn two new words:  Pysanky (the ancient art of writing on eggs with wax) and Kistka (the stylus one uses that allows melted wax to drip through a hole to write on the egg).  My most crafty neighbor invites my children over to make Ukrainian Easter Eggs.

The kistka looks like this: 

You fill the little hole with wax, melt the wax over a candle flame, and finally let the melted wax flow through the tip to make designs on your eggs.  Before we arrived, my neighbor and her daughter poked tiny holes on the ends of eggs and blew gently to empty the egg.  They set out bowls of intense dyes, candles to hold our kistkas over, and drying racks.

You make designs on your egg, dip it in the lightest color, and then make more designs with wax.  You progressively add darker colors until you have a fun design.  Real Ukrainian Easter Eggs look like this:

Pysanky Wikimedia Commons, Luba Petrusha

With little children, you can let them experiment with different designs to learn the fine art of it.  Although we cannot replicate the Ukrainian folk designs, we do have fun trying it.

We thread yarn through the eggs, and the children decorate the Weeping Cherry with them.

I don't care that the blossoms have fallen.  Each season bring its own delights to this little tree.  Today, it's Easter Eggs!

How do you decorate Easter Eggs?  Any fun tips?

1 comment:

Judy Gordon Morrow said...

What fun! Your post reminded me of the book I enjoyed reading to students when I worked in elementary school libraries: Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco. I hope your local library has a copy; that author has penned many wonderful books. (I had to fight tears when I read Pink and Say to the upper grades.) 
May you and yours have a blessed Easter!