British Columbia·OUR VANCOUVER

Easter eggs, the eastern European way

Pysanka is a Ukrainian folk art tradition where eggs are decorated with patterns made from melted wax, and then dyed different colours.

Pysanka is a Ukrainian folk art tradition where eggs are decorated using the wax-resist method

Easter eggs, the Eastern European way

6 years ago
Duration 4:48
Pysanka is a Ukranian folk art tradition where eggs are decorated using a wax-resist method.

The designs on the eggs are colourful and elaborate, and unlike most Easter eggs, the designs aren't painted on — they're 'written' using beeswax and then dyed with colour.

It's a Ukrainian tradition know as pysanka, and it's being kept alive in B.C. by Richmond's Joan Brander.

Through her family business Baba's Beeswax, Brander sells everything from supplies and books about pysanka.

"It's very therapeutic and … it's very rewarding," said Brander, who has also been teaching workshops on the art for 25 years.

"If you're not intimidated and you just go for it, you're guaranteed a nice result."

Pysanky (plural for pysanka) are decorated using a wax-resist method. First, the egg (either empty or still containing the yolk) is dyed a base colour..

Then, a tool made of beeswax is heated over a candle flame and used to "write" a design on the egg (the word pysanka comes from the Ukrainian verb pysaty, which means "to write").

The egg is then dyed another colour, but the pattern underneath the wax will remain yellow. This process can be repeated multiple times to create various patterns of different colours.

In the video above, Brander shows host Gloria Macarenko some of the designs she's created on everything from goose to ostrich eggs, and also demonstrates how one can make pysanky.

Note: photos seen on the monitors behind Gloria Macarenko and Joan Brander are courtesy of So Jeo LeBlond and Luba Petrusha.


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