Pysanky - hints


My father puts a lot more time into his pysanky than we do; he is retired, and makes them all year 'round. And he has been taking lessons from a sweet 90-year-old Ukrainian lady (Hi Zoria!). So he knows what he's talking about. Here is what he told us, that made a huge difference in our eggs:
  1. Lightly sketch the outline in pencil before starting with wax. The pencil marks will be soaked up by the wax, or covered by the darker dyes. (I'm not yet sure about pencil marks in areas that are to be bleached white - those would never be touched by the wax, and not end up covered by some dark color...) Never erase the pencil marks; the eraser will leave some residue on the egg that won't wash off, and will hinder the wax and dyes later. Rubber bands can be used as guides when drawing most "straight" lines.

  2. Measure everything carefully. Mark with a pencil your best guess as to the north and south poles of the egg, and measure the distance between those in several directions. If those measurements are not equal, one of your poles isn't located quite right; adjust it, and try again. Once those are right, measure and mark the outline of your pattern. Extra care here pays off big in the end.

  3. THIS IS NOT A RACE! Take your time. Get as close as you can to perfection. You will be happier having one terrific pysanky than ten rush-jobs. If you don't believe it, try it once each way, and think about how you feel about each.


For more good advice, see Ann Morash's maxi-splendiferous How to make Ukrainian Easter Eggs page.
Bill Yakowenko,       yakowenk@cs.unc.edu,       24-Mar-97