My Handmade Pysanky
Traditional pysanky handmade by me.
Pysanky is a traditional art form in the
Ukraine. Based on finds, archaeologists have discovered that people
in the Ukraine have been making pysanky for over two thousand years.
"Pysanky" comes from a word meaning "to write." Making pysanky is
called "writing pysanky." The word "pysanky" is plural. A single
decorated egg is a pysanka.
Pysanky are made using beeswax and a handheld tool called a kistka. The
kistka is dipped in beeswax and then held over a candle flame to melt
it. The artist uses the kistka to draw freehand designs on the egg with
the beeswax. The first color used is white. Where the artist draws on the
egg with the kistka, it is left white. Then the egg is dipped into a
series of vivid dyes going from lightest to darkest. Each time the egg is
dyed a different color, more
beeswax is added to the design. Once the last color is added, the egg is
completely covered with black wax. The egg is then held over a candle
flame and the melted wax is wiped off to reveal the colorful treasure
underneath! Then the egg is usually, but not always, varnished to give it
a shiny protective coating. The eggs above have not yet been varnished.
Pysanky are decorated and exchanged between
friends and relatives during special times like Easter and Christmas.
Traditionally, pysanky are decorated at Easter or the start of spring.
Pysanky signify fertility and wealth. Each symbol on the eggs represents a
fortune such as luck, love, wealth, or a good harvest. Pysanky are made
especially for a certain person. Like snowflakes, no two pysanky can ever
be alike. Once, pysanky were decorated as magickal talismans. These
decorated eggs were buried in the fields each spring after plowing to
ensure fertility and a good harvest. Today, pysanky are kept in the home
for good luck and to protect against fire and ward off evil spirits.
The symbols on the eggs stand for different things:
Birds - fertility and the fulfillment of wishes, Wheat - a good harvest,
Horses or Deer - wealth and prosperity, Nets or Grids - baskets or Christ,
Crosses - Christ's suffering, Fish - good health, Christ, Suns - the Sun God (or, as
modern Christians draw it - the eye of God), Dots - stars or Mary's tears,
Pine Needles - eternal youth, Band or Design Around the Egg - eternity or
eternal life, Flowers - femininity, Oak leaves or acorns - wisdom and
Click here to see how I started.
Click here to see my pysanky for sale
Want to learn how to make pysanky?
How to Etch Eggs